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What's in a name? For some in Flint Township, it's confusion with its larger neighbor

What's in a name? For some in Flint Township, confusion with a neighboring city.
Steve Carmody
Michigan Radio
What's in a name? For some in Flint Township, confusion with a neighboring city.

Flint Township residents have until the Fourth of July to answer a survey on changing the name of their community.

The survey gives several potential new names to choose from:

  • Bishop, after the banker and General Motors board member who donated farmland for the area's airport
  • Garland, for a previous temporary name of the township
  • Grandview, for a former ballot measure
  • Oak Hills, for the township's many oak trees
  • Westhaven, for a name proposed for a city that would have been formed out of the township in the 1950s
  • Westwood Valley, "following the concept of Genesee Valley."

The survey results are not binding and is intended to give township trustees an idea of the preferences of Flint Township residents and business owners.
It’s the fourth time since the 1950s that community leaders have contemplated a name change.

Jerry Preston leads the committee set up to study the change. He says people confusing Flint Township with the city of Flint during the city’s water crisis prompted latest push to change the township’s name. But he insisted there are other reasons.

“It’s not just the water that causes a need for the differentiation,” said Preston, “And I think it will add a lot to the esprit de corps of the residents of Flint Township ... having a new name.”

Flint Township trustees are expected to pick a new name to place on the November ballot. However, Preston said after the vote, the trustees will have the final say.

"It literally lays in the hands of the trustees, because even if the people voted for a name, the trustees could say ‘Nope, we’re not changing it,'" he said with a laugh.

But if they do change the name, township residents better like it. They won’t be allowed to change it again for 25 years.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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