Volunteers to help clean up west side Detroit neighborhood - New York News

Volunteers to help clean up west side Detroit neighborhood

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By Amy Lange
Fox 2 News Reporter


DETROIT (WJBK) -- It was a neighborhood of big, beautiful homes, but now many are dilapidated shells.  A few residents are holding out hope that their neighborhood can be saved and they're getting a little help.

82-year-old Olivia Gaines moved into her beautiful home on Pingree on Detroit's west side just before the riots of 1967.

"The neighborhood was really good when I first got here, but since the riot, no," said Gaines.

There is now an overgrown park where some of the homes burned to the ground.  Many of the houses on her street are empty shells -- shelter for squatters and rats.

"A beautiful neighborhood gone down the drain," Gaines remarked.

"I think it's criminal.  It's a shame, and a lot of things need to be done that have not been done," said Bernice Green.

"We're trying to save the neighborhood and save this block because we don't want to give up our homes," said Kenneth Lee.

Over the summer, the few who are left paid someone to clean up the street, but they just dumped everything in an abandoned home.  More recently, they turned to Focus: HOPE and now a neighbor down the way.

Derek Weaver heads up the Grand River Creative Corridor and is turning his attention to their neighborhood.

"I'd like to board up every house on this block, clean up all the grass," he said.  "When you have hope in something, it could bring back a neighborhood."

Weaver and other volunteers will be on hand from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Saturday.  Anyone who would like to come out and help is invited to bring some boards, paint or anything else that could help clean up the neighborhood.

The Detroit Mower Gang will be on hand to cut the grass.  They could even use an exterminator to help with the rats.

Weaver is determined and the neighbors are grateful and even hopeful someday the neighborhood will thrive once again with the help of people who care.

The volunteers will be meeting in front of 2525 Pingree.  For more information, call Weaver at (734) 626-1189.

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