Massive Community Cleanup In North End

DETROIT—A massive cleanup effort in the city’s North End neighborhood is kicked off today.

Now through Friday, Aug. 2, more than 5,000 volunteers are cleaning up litter, renovating more than 24 homes, boarding up at least 150 abandoned homes, cutting grass, pulling weeds and tackling other forms of blight throughout the 48 blocks that comprise the North End neighborhood.

“Volunteers will be picking up trash, whether it’s paper litter or old tires and car batteries, and pulling vines, and trimming trees -- or chopping them down if that’s required,” says Mark Besh, public relations director for Life Remodeled.

Home renovations include “… everything from roof repairs to fixing porches and sheds that are falling down, to interior renovations, like kitchens or bathrooms that need repair,” he says. Cleanup is expected to use require at least 70 dumpsters and 3,500 sheets of plywood.

The effort is being directed by Life Remodeled, a Westland-based revitalization ministry, ARISE Detroit!, and the Central Detroit Christian non-profit group, and many other area organizations.

“After all of the renovations and other improvements are completed, the neighborhood looks much better, and the people feel more invested, and feel that the neighborhood has a much better chance of being successful -- and that it will continue to improve. And that maybe a developer will then want to come in and develop a new project there. That’s all very uplifting, psychologically and emotionally,” Besh says.

The North End clean-up project will be followed Saturday, Aug. 3, by ARISE Detroit!’s seventh annual Neighborhoods Day, when more than 2,000 volunteers will participate in at least 150 community projects and events.

“It’s a day that showcases the work of block clubs, small businesses, churches and community groups, and it shows that if people get together and contribute their time and effort, it really can make a difference for their city,” says Luther Keith, executive director of ARISE Detroit! “It gets people excited to see so many others, just like themselves, who have hope, and are working for change.”

In addition to all of the blight-removal projects, says Keith, Neighborhoods Day will include health fairs, art fairs, a gospel concert, parades, garden-planting, teens filling out scholarship applications, a techno concert at Belle Isle, and the Hometown Baseball Championship tournament in which 900 Detroit kids will participate.

To cap off the festivities, on Sunday, Aug. 4, Life Remodeled, which has conducted similar cleanup projects in the region, will present one Detroit family with a newly built home, on W. Philadelphia St.

Volunteers will include employees of Quicken Loans, General Motors, Ford Motor Co., Detroit Medical Center, DTE Energy and several other Detroit-area companies, as well as volunteers from churches and non-profits.

Other partners in the project are Handyman Ministries, Barton Mallow, Allied Building Products, Central Detroit Christian Community Development Corp., Vanguard Community Development Corp., Wayne State University, Motor City Blight Busters and World Vision. All of the materials are being be donated by the various partners and sponsor groups.

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