It can’t always be someone else’s responsibility. That steadfast belief is what has pushed 10 years of ARISE Detroit! Neighborhoods Day. Each year more and more people jump on the bandwagon to work to make life in Detroit something envied by the rest of the world.
An army of thousands of volunteers, backed by hundreds of organizations will make Aug. 6 their mission date. All zip codes will have needed community projects tended to by this legion of volunteers and neighborhood associations.
One of those associations is the 8 Mile Boulevard Association, which registered for Neighborhoods Day for the first time this year.
“We are trying to engage our residents because they have been disengaged in the past,” says Carla Thomas, a board member with the 8 Mile Boulevard Association. “We want to promote inclusiveness. The more neighborhood activities we have, the people will participate. We are trying to bridge the gap between old and new residents.”
There are problems in Detroit, no one can deny that, but they already get enough attention. That is why Neighborhood Day will focus only on the positive in the city. It is why the day “will bring the focus on the good things. It will help us turn away the bad seeds,” as Thomas puts it.
The 8 Mile Boulevard Association (8MBA), located in the 48221 zip code in the Pembroke/Meyers area, will dedicate the Alphonso Wells Memorial Garden on Neighborhoods Day. There will be a rain barrel demonstration and discussions on environmental issues.
It will also align its traditional, corridor-wide beautification blitz with Neighborhoods Day. The event will consist of multiple projects in both Detroit and the suburbs, concluding with a picnic at Knudsen Park in Detroit. Applebee’s is the lead sponsor with support from ITC, Scott’s Miracle Grow and Waste Management.
Earlier this month, 8MBA member Binder Street Block Club held an event at Farwell Field to tend its community garden. The project was supported by the 8MBA Tool Rental Program, which is sponsored this year by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Farwell Field is on 8 Mile Road at Fenlon St.
The Binder Street Block Club threw a block party last year as part of Neighborhood’s Day but joining up took a little convincing.
E’Lois Moore, president of the Binder Street Block Club, says back then the block club was apprehensive about giving a party because of the violence that occurred during block party earlier that summer on the west side. She says Luther Keith, ARISE Detroit! president, called her and reassured her everything would be OK.
“I gave the block club party and it worked out well with no problem,” she says. The club will vote soon on being part of Neighborhood’s Day this year.
Crime has never been an issue during Neighborhoods Day. After the event last year, Keith wrote a blog for Detroit Unspun/TheHUB called Fear strikes out on Neighborhoods Day as more than 200 events citywide were peaceful, fun and crime free.
“On Neighborhoods Day, there were at least five major festivals in neighborhoods throughout the city – each involving hundreds of people, and in one case thousands – without shootings or other kinds of mayhem,” he wrote.
“Throughout the city on Neighborhoods Day, Aug. 1, more than 200 events, projects of various kinds—cleanups, parades, festivals and more – were held without major crimes or incidents. No shootings, assaults, robberies or rapes.”
“Nothing happened at these events but smiling faces and people having a great time with their neighbors. The same can be said for numerous other church events, parades and, yes, even block parties throughout the city.”
For 10 years Neighborhoods Day has had a positive impact on Detroit zip codes, It has grown from 55 events in its first year to more than 250 last year with a cumulative nine-year total of more than 1,400 community improvement projects of all kinds. Last year, a record 256 registered community service and improvement projects, stretching from the riverfront to Eight Mile Road, were held in connection with Neighborhoods Day. Hundreds of organizations and thousands of volunteers participated and events were held in every zip code in the city.
This year promises to be even bigger.
Some of the previous Neighborhoods Day participants that have returned for the 10th annual event include the Grandmont Rosedale Development Corp., Life Church, and the 15th Street Block Club Association, just to name a few.
You can be part of the day, too. Click on this link to join them and show your community pride on this amazing day for Detroit. Registration is open until July, 1.
If you are part of a church, community group or block, if you care about the neighborhoods and want to make them better, Neighborhoods Day was created for you.
The Kresge Foundation is one of ARISE Detroit!’s major funders.
– Photo credits: Top picture Tim Galloway