Discuss Detroit Archives - Beginning January 2007 Living in Detroit, Commuting to Flint Previous Next
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Scotto
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Username: Scotto

Post Number: 1
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 11:11 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I need some advice, if you don't mind. Here's the poop:

I currently have a place in South Dakota but commute to Flint (by air-every other weekend) where I live during the week. I've got my place in the boondocks (SD), but since I have to do this for the foreseeable future, I'm thinking of buying a "project" house in Detroit, so that during the week I can take advantage of what the city has to offer, and make some coin fixing up the property.

What areas of Detroit are:

1) Relatively safe
2) An "easy" exit to Flint/I-75
3) Has some fixer-upper properties at $50K or less
4) It's too bad for access to Metro airport

Hamtramck seems interesting for its Polish ethnicity, but maybe it's not as Polish and safe as it once was.

Any help would be appreciated. If anybody thinks this would be a bad idea, I'd like to hear that, too.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 885
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 11:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

No, offense, but if you want a fixer-upper you can get those in Flint and not contribute to congestion and degradation of air quality by living near where you work.

I know I'd tire of a daily commute of that length. Winter commutes would be more than two hours between metros - that is just way too much of your life to spend in the car, even if you like driving this is not fun driving. Whats wrong with being by Bishop Airport for your trips back to SD?
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Swingline
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Username: Swingline

Post Number: 687
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 11:20 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Welcome to the forum, Scotto.

It's great that you want to undertake a Detroit fixer-upper. There's plenty of potential neighborhoods. But will you have the time given that a Detroit/Flint commute will put you behind the wheel for 2 hours per day? Hamtramck still has lots of bargains. If you want something in a historic district and close to the expressway, Woodbridge and Arden Park fit the bill. Good luck.
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Barnesfoto
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Username: Barnesfoto

Post Number: 2980
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 11:29 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I did that commute twice a week for one year...
If you need time alone, it will give you that.
When you have to drive back to Detroit in a blizzard, and it takes you three + hours, you will begin thinking about either a home in Flint or another job.
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Andylinn
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Username: Andylinn

Post Number: 307
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 1:06 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

if you're looking for safe/interesting, i'd say that anything 1-3 miles west of I-75, new center to downtown is fairly safe and on the rise... and anything in SW would be interesting as well (also I 75 access)
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 1326
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 1:13 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Yes, the section of I-75 just north of M-59 up to Flint in known for having bad weather that causes lots of weather related accidents. If I were you I would look at areas of Flint to live.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 361
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 1:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I know Dayton St. in Flint town where the family is from probably has homes below fifty grand...
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Bob
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Username: Bob

Post Number: 1327
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 1:14 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Although Flint's Mass Transit Authority (MTA) runs a commuter bus form Great Lakes Crossing in Auburn Hills. I do not know all the details on it, but that may be an option.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 891
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 1:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Bob

Looks like they even have some routes that go as far south as Oakland Mall!

http://www.mtaflint.org/region al_map.html

I learned something today.. yippie!! Will I ever use this bus though? I doubt it!
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 194
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 5:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Scotto, welcome to the forum.

I live just a few miles east of Flint and commuted to Warren (Schoenherr and Groesbeck) for the past 2 years. I am actually somewhat thankful I lost that job, because frankly that commute sucked. Depending on what time and day you are on the roads, it can take anywhere from 1-2 hours in GOOD weather. There have been times (blizzards) when it took me as many as 3. As Bob said, from m-59 to Flint is pretty bad for accidents, and a large portion of it is pretty much out in the boonies - it's a nice drive until something goes wrong. Road construction doesn't help any either. Don't forget the cost of gas, and the additional miles you will put on your car. It adds up quick.

I would have to agree with Detroitplanner, get something up here. Flint has plenty of sub-$50,000 homes all over the city, and plenty could use some fixing up. Some areas are safer than others, however i'm not really the person to ask. While I haven't looked, I'm sure Burton has a number too. If you still feel like going to Detroit for an evening, you can still make that trip, but at least you're not making that drive daily. But either way, it's good to hear that you are interested in investing in the area, and if it works better for your own situation, even better.

on a side note, shortly before i got that job in warren, i almost moved out to south dakota, where i would have had to come back to see my kids. Your story read like mine in reverse.
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Tiorted
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Username: Tiorted

Post Number: 48
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 5:10 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

"fixer-upper properties at $50K or less" "project house in Detroit" I'm sure you can find a few thousand of these

"Relatively safe"? that may be a problem
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Gumby
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Username: Gumby

Post Number: 1519
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 6:01 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Welcome Scotto. I too suggest buying a fixer-upper up here in Flint. If you need any info on neighborhoods in Flint you can feel free to ask me anytime, i know quite a bit about the city and its neighborhoods. The Genesee County Land Bank has many houses that fit your description and maintain a database online some including pictures and a map, it is a little difficult to navigate at first but once you get the hang of it... www.thelandbank.org

In a few months (When I save up some money) I will be making the move to Downtown Flint and doing essentially the same thing. There are several homes really close to downtown that are in need of help and downtown Flint and most of the surrounding areas are really safe (Carriage Town is a little sketchy still). Now that I have GOOD job (State of Michigan - DHS) in downtown Flint, I figure it is time to do something to help out the city I love (Detroit is a close second).

Either one you chose though it is rather comendable on your part and I wish you well in the process.
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Bearinabox
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Username: Bearinabox

Post Number: 106
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 6:27 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Swingline, is anything in Arden Park anywhere near 50k? Those seem like awfully nice houses to be selling for that kind of money.
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Granmontrules
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Username: Granmontrules

Post Number: 9
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 6:47 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I have a friend who lives in Green Acres - southwest corner of 8 Mile and Woodward- GA is a very nice area and I think a great value for what you get. Now the houses there would be around (one in need of love and repair) 130k so that might be more than you want to pay. He said his commute to Flint is 40 minutes with no traffic.
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Mikeg
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Username: Mikeg

Post Number: 519
Registered: 12-2005
Posted on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 - 7:45 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The friend who lives in Green Acres would have to average 88 miles per hour to travel the 59 miles to downtown Flint in 40 minutes, so I would discount this and any other advice they may offer.

I commuted for four years between Sterling Hts. and the south side of Flint and I know every mile marker along the way. Listen to the others, don't do it!
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Lowell
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Username: Lowell

Post Number: 3628
Registered: 10-2003
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 12:53 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Scotto, welcome to the forum. You must rack up a few frequent flyer miles!

You may be interested to read the Reviving Downtown Flint thread now archived in the Hall of Fame. Kudos to Gumby and others for driving that thread.
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Scotto
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Username: Scotto

Post Number: 2
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 8:56 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Thanks to all who posted. Yes, I am sensitive to the environmental issues, but I drive a Prius, and would contribute much less to the bad air then, say, those folks out there with the "My Privates are Bigger than Yours" vehicles (e.g., Hummer, Escalade, Excursion, etc., etc.) who drive 5-10 miles back and forth to work.

What does concern me is the commute time. I used to commute from Front Royal, VA to DC every day, and if it rained, it was 2.5 hours - when it snowed, I stayed home. I do have the luxury of working at home 1 day/week, so the commute might be only 4 days, and on bad weather I might be able to work from home also (don't know about that one yet).

As far as staying in Flint and fixing something up, I think it would be a lost cause. From what I've seen so far, Flint is a culinary, cultural, and entertainment wasteland, and I don't see any signs of recovery any time soon. Fixing something here would probably not be profitable, and would be like trying to make a "silk purse from a sow's ear". At least Detroit has restaurants and casinos, and an active opera house and symphony. Not that Flint isn't trying, but there's little motivation it seems, and the areas with fixer-upper housing would also require bars for the windows and doors, and a handy 9MM. I could be misinformed since I've only been here six months, but it sure seems so.
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Detroitplanner
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Username: Detroitplanner

Post Number: 900
Registered: 04-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 9:06 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Hey I know someone who did the Front Royal to DC commute. The big difference here is homes are available that are more affordable closer to your workplace. You can also look at Flint as being an hour closer to the recreation paradise of Northern Michigan. You would be on the road on the weekend trips long before the Detroiter's start to congest up I-75.

Flint is by no means a total wasteland. The GM legacy has left them several good museums and a couple of good universities. What would make you think that a fixer-upper in Detroit would be any better? Detroit (and the rest of Michigan) is now experiencing what Flint did 20 years ago.

I think you need a change in venue and stop talking with the naysayers in your office/workplace that may see anything but a house in Flushing or Grand Blanc as being a dump.

BTW, a Prius will do nothing to enhance your rep in Flint. You should have bought an Escape if you wanted a Hybrid. Those folks are hard core union.

(Message edited by detroitplanner on January 31, 2007)
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Scotto
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Username: Scotto

Post Number: 3
Registered: 01-2007
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 9:16 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

> BTW, a Prius will do nothing to enhance your rep in Flint. You should have bought an Escape if you wanted a Hybrid.
> Those folks are hard core union.

I've never been much on either unions or "appearances". I was in the Local 58 of the American Federation of Musicians in Ft. Wayne for awhile, but only because it was "join or don't play".

Mileage on the Escape isn't that great. I'm waiting for the new and improved GM electric car (but not holding my breath).
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Scottr
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Username: Scottr

Post Number: 206
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 11:17 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Honestly, a prius driving 60 miles at 50mpg is worse than an SUV driving 10 at 15mpg. You negate any benefit you have by living that far away. On top of that, you have the drive time.

Flint is far from a cultural wasteland. We too have a symphony, and as for restaurants, you simply need to look around - they are there, and more have been opening up. They tend to be overshadowed by the chain restaurants on Miller Road (for some reason, virtually ALL the chain restaurants are there), but there is some great local fare to be had as well. While we don't have casinos or an opera, they are only an hour away. Our cultural center is one of the best in the nation for a city our size, with the FIA, Longway planetarium and Sloan Museum. Are they of the caliber of those in Detroit? No, but they are still pretty damn good, and once again, those places are only an hour away. If you're willing to make that drive for a daily commute, why not for an occasional out-of-town trip?

Not all of Flint needs bars and a 9mm as protection. I will agree with what Detroitplanner says - it sounds just like what my dad, a Flint native, but a Grand Blanc resident of 30 years, would say. Hell, he's even been saying how his part of GB will be a ghetto in 10 years. (he proves his point by pointing at 2 black families that have moved in). Almost anyone in any of the suburbs will tell you similarly, but it's just not true. It has it's bad parts, yes. but it has its good parts too.

scottr, proud to not be like his father
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Mackcreative
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Username: Mackcreative

Post Number: 16
Registered: 08-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 11:37 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd suggest either Corktown or Woodbridge, I'm partial though, both are close to the freeways and downtown. I'm not sure you could readily find a quality fixer-upper for $50,000 though. Best bet might be to move into a rental in the neighborhood and meet as many neighbors as possible and get the word out that you're looking for a place. At least in Woodbridge, a lot of real estate transfers without entering the market, people are a little skeptical of prospectors looking for a quick buck or potential slum lords. Another option is to find properties you like, look up the tax records (city charges $5 for each now) and contact the owners directly with an unsolicited offer.
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Neilr
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Username: Neilr

Post Number: 435
Registered: 06-2005
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 11:44 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Scotto, personally, I can't image commuting to and from Flint; but if you want to manage it, you might consider a highrise coop apartment in 1300 in Lafayette Park or a row house just to the east in Elmwood Park.

The advantage for you would be that you'd be living within easy walking distance of Eastern Market, downtown, the new Riverwalk, and the other type attractions you're seeking. You certainly can find homes in your price range.

Both 1300 and Elmwood Park THs are about 40 years old and so "fixer-upper" would typically mean painting, new carpet, new/updating the kitchen and baths. Since these are coops, the association has maintained the exterior, heating/cooling systems, plumbing, windows, and more.

Safety is not much of a problem.

1300 is about two blocks from the Lafayette entrance ramp to the Chrysler (I75). Elmwood Park, about a half mile from the same ramp.

Coop living may not be for everyone; but you may want to at least consider it.
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Swiburn
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Username: Swiburn

Post Number: 34
Registered: 07-2006
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 12:44 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I, too, cannot imagine doing that drive, having lived in Flint for many years, though my spouse worked at U.of Michigan. The trucks and the winter driving are awful.
I suggest the Pierce Park neighborhood of Flint, very quiet, and the Mott Comm. College is handy for library work on weekends.
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Missnmich
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Username: Missnmich

Post Number: 555
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Wednesday, January 31, 2007 - 4:32 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Have you considered splitting the difference and looking in Pontiac?
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Gumby
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Username: Gumby

Post Number: 1520
Registered: 11-2003
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 12:51 am: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

quote:

As far as staying in Flint and fixing something up, I think it would be a lost cause. From what I've seen so far, Flint is a culinary, cultural, and entertainment wasteland



No need for this kind of name calling. Like Scottr said your impression of Flint is far from fact.

Have you even checked out the consantly expanding Flint Cultural Center?

Have you checked out some of our beautiful neighborhoods?

Seen some of the great parks (Kearsley Park)?

Plenty of entertainment up here as well, Machine Shop, Whiting Auditorium, Bower Theater, Buckham Alley Theater, Greater Flint Arts Council, Red Ink Studios, FIA, Flint Symphony Orchestra, Several Movie theaters, two of the very few remaining Drive-in theaters in the state, during the summer months free "Tunes at Noon" concerts downtown, the "Crim" roadrace, etc.

It is far from a wasteland with no hope of renewal.

First Street Lofts, Rowe Incorporated, Genesee County Land Bank, Community Foundation, Brown Sugar Cafe, The Mad Hatter, Legal Services of Eastern Michigan, and a few others I can't think of at this moment all have made significant investments into Downtown.

The renewal is not just located downtown anymore either. The Metawanee Hills neighborhood is seeing its first new homes in decades with its infill housing being built as we speak. Carriage Town will be seeing some growth soon as well with the closing of the Berridge Hotel as a hotel of ill repute and its pending conversion to condos. Also the Stone Street redevelopment. Hurley Hospital has offered incentives to employees who move into the surrounding neighborhoods.

I would be glad to help change your mind about Flint sometime. Just let me know.
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Kenp
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Username: Kenp

Post Number: 188
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 2:20 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Flint is not a cultural wasteland at all, far from it. Over the years there has been a lot of GM money that has been invested in culture here, the Mott foundation and so on has given us a lot to be proud of.
Food is not an issue here either.
The problem now is that everyone who took the Gm / Delphi buyout is leaving.
This is causing big problems in FLint. With the economy and plant closings and layoffs, foreclousers are at a all time high. The end result is there is a glut of homes for sales here and nobody buying. A fixer upper here is not a good idea, you can buy a brand new home dirt cheap anywhere in the county. Nice homes that are 2/3 years old are sitting vacant for over a year now.
Somebody suggested buying a home for $50,000 on dayton st. Try $5,000. And if you attempt to fix it up, guess what, the first thing that will happen is when you leave, all you supplies and tools will be stolen. Then the house will be vandalized as improvements take place. If you do succeed, you will never sell it.
As far as the drive, I just did it, about 60 minutes from downtown Detroit to Flint. Its not a bad drive until there is a wreck, then its hell.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 376
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 7:54 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

True. In all seriousness, Dayton st. is prob. the last place you would want to buy a home and fix it up; sorry for any confusion. In a lot of ways, I think that Flint has actually had a tougher time of it than has Detroit. Sure Detroit gets all of the coverage and what not because it is a larger city, but the streets of Flint are where even a liquor store can go out of business. Pray for Flint! And in the lyrics of the Dayton Family's Flint Town:

Michael Jackson said it don't matter black or white but it should
Cause Flint Michigan's a long way from Hollywood
I tried to go to college but I saw myself stuck in Flint
Beside them college folks don't want no po male black resident
Flint Michigan's a prison and we all are locked up
The only good jobs are the jobs that could be rocked up
Refused to work for Burger King and still be livin po
How can you work for Burger King an live in a condo
My city's being fuck by your system, that's evident
Puts bullets in a brother at a club back to ignorent
Special shouts to big boomer, personal autograph
And shouts to all those niggas I forgot down on Dayton Ave
There's one more thing you should know before I go with the sound
Who the fuck is yall to tell ????? (brent) not to leave this town
(chorus)
Where the fuck are you from ffffff Flint town
Where the fuck are they from ffffff Flint town
Where the fuck are you from ffffff Flint town
Where the fuck are they from ffffff Flint town
Where the fuck are you from ffffff Flint town
Where the fuck are they from ffffff Flint town
Where the fuck are you from ffffff Flint town
Where the fuck are they from ffffff Flint town
Flint is dominated
But never immatated
The others perpatrated
But still we regulated
The Dayton Family is a nation
To build a new creation
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Focusonthed
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Username: Focusonthed

Post Number: 806
Registered: 02-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 8:22 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Okay, you guys, stop suggesting stuff in Downtown Detroit.

That's a ridiculous commute, no one in their right mind would enjoy driving from Lafayette Park to Flint and back every day.

Besides, remember the criteria: $50k fixer-upper.

I second the notion to look in Flint. How about Pontiac?
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Kenp
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Username: Kenp

Post Number: 189
Registered: 03-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 8:48 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Charlottepaul,
Right on.
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 19
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 11:51 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think his original post implies that the Flint gig is not forever and then he want's a keeper or at least a good investment out of it. So I think it sort of makes some sense.
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 20
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Thursday, February 01, 2007 - 11:57 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

The whole thing seems kind of wierd. But, If do Detroit began to really be great, one might see a lot of people who want to live in town and commute out to jobs. For the few who can afford it, that's a big trend in the San Fransisco/ Silicon Valley area.
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Charlottepaul
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Username: Charlottepaul

Post Number: 377
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Friday, February 02, 2007 - 5:56 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I think that is now the trend in Detroit as the city has a better return on real estate investment on average than does any of the surrounding communities
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Nyburgher
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Username: Nyburgher

Post Number: 21
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, February 03, 2007 - 11:59 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

That would be awesome. Hopefully you guys don't mind my ignorance about the area. I have never been to Detroit, but for a variety of reasons, I am very interested in it.

I think that reverse commuting is a growing trend. I knew a few people in San Francisco that did that and a lot who would have if they could have afforded to live in town.
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Lombaowski
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Username: Lombaowski

Post Number: 29
Registered: 11-2004
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 6:39 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

I'd look in the Ballenger park area in Flint. Lots of well maintained homes and the neighborhoods are not all that bad. I used to commute from Detroit to Flint and it sucked and I'd never do it again if I had the chance. If you are fine living in the city and want something reasonable there are several options in Flint.
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Yvette248
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Username: Yvette248

Post Number: 440
Registered: 10-2006
Posted on Saturday, February 17, 2007 - 7:02 pm: Edit PostDelete PostMove Post (Moderator/Admin Only)

Scotto, I would do Pontiac. Its halfway between Flint and Detroit, which makes it easier to commute to work - and also to Detroit/Royal Oak etc. for interesting night life. Pontiac is a mixture of middle class and struggling neighborhoods - AND Pontiac is Pistons basketball and concerts heaven. Sounds perfect for what you are looking for.

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