FULTON —The city of Fulton will kick off this year’s Block Blitz on Monday and will continue throughout the week. 

The first week of Block Blitz begins with Ward One on Monday, Wards Two and Three on Tuesday, Ward Four on Wednesday, Ward Five on Thursday and finishes with Ward Six on Friday. 

Fulton Mayor Deana Michaels will be walking the wards on foot, joined by city councilors and city personnel including the chief of police or deputy chief, the fire department, code enforcement, Community Development Agency and at times, the Department of Public Works. Michaels started the Block Blitz initiative her first year in office. 

 “My first year in office I wanted to get out into the community and get our different departments walking the neighborhoods, myself included, the common councilors, and show our commitment to getting in the neighborhoods and addressing any concerns, celebrating any successes, really just being present in the neighborhoods,” Michaels said.

Block Blitz is an outreach program designed to identify problem areas within the city and address any issues, focusing on codes and safety. Michaels and other participants of Block Blitz go into neighborhoods and speak with residents and business owners, coming up with solutions for problems and identifying potential opportunities to improve the area. 

“There’s typically a large group of us that walk through and identify the most problematic areas, areas of biggest opportunity or most concern, and we walk the streets and we also drive around through the area and meet up in different locations and then we get out,” Michaels said. “There’s boots on the ground, we’re walking the neighborhoods and we are involving ourselves in a hands-on approach.”

Michaels and other city officials decided to expand the program following the results of the first Block Blitz. After doing one round, they saw the potential the program had to make an impact on city neighborhoods and decided to hold the events more often. 

 “From year one, what came of that was proposed legislation, new policies and procedures, helping out landlords and property owners and so on to address issues that they were having, whether it was squatters to blight areas, to garbage to code violations and so on,” Michaels said. 

When possible, the city addresses problems found during Block Blitz immediately. When there are issues that cannot be solved right away, obstacles are identified and a plan is made, sometimes by involving community partners like Fulton Block Builders and Community Development Agency. 

“What it’s expanded into is an outreach program that helps us get feet on the ground, the boots on the ground mentality, and we’re actually in the neighborhoods physically, not just managing from behind a desk,” Michaels said. “We’re out there, we’re looking at the problems firsthand, we’re looking at the opportunities firsthand, we’re coming up with solutions, we’re coming up with hurdles that are in our way to deal with the problem.”

Not only are issues addressed, but opportunities to enhance an area are considered, such as adding community gardens, repairing or rebuilding houses and finding potential buyers for city-owned vacant land. 

“We’re taking it to that next step and saying we’re going to address the issues, we’re going to address the problems, we’re going to talk about safety and talk about code enforcement, but we’re also going to talk about how do we beautify and support cleaner, safer, better neighborhoods,” Michaels said.

Block Blitz will occur for three weeks this year. The first week is May 16-20, the second week is July 25-29 and the third week is Oct. 3-7. All six wards will be visited during these weeks, and the walks will take place 9 a.m. to noon, or 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., with a later shift if necessary. 

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