Community Cleans Out Old Party Store

The building that sat at 2221 E. Kalamazoo St. was originally a butcher shop. Lately, it's been a party store. Saturday, it was more like a demolition zone.

Volunteers from the east side community spent the day tearing down drywall and taking out trash at the building the county has foreclosed upon.

"We try to use the bad things that happen through tax foreclosure to also engage the community," said Ingham County Treasurer Eric Schertzing. "The neighborhood that's impacted by it because they've bore the burden of the blighted property before it was foreclosed."

Volunteers said they gave their time because they thought it was important to help turn an eyesore into something positive for the neighborhood.

"I felt that if we could turn it into something that was useful and that had neighborhood support, then we would be turning something that was a deficit into an asset," said Laura Delind, a volunteer.

As for what the building will become, residents are looking for community input. Walls outside the building have been painted with special chalk paint, which allows passersby to fill in the blank on a phrase that reads: "I wish this was a _____".

Volunteers say they've already recorded hundreds of responses.

"A lot of it is emerging," said Delind. "We don't know the answer as to what it will be. We don't have that answer. It's not our answer to have. It'll come out of a conversation with the neighbors."

Eric Schertzing says he hopes to have someone occupying the building in the next year.

Said Schertzing: "What I'd really love to have come forward is somebody in the community with an idea that we can help nurture so that somebody gets a job out of this."


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