The University Record, April 15, 2002

Hammer Time: Students launch Detroit clean-up effort

By Theresa Maddix

Photos, clockwise from top left: (1) U-M undergraduate and neighborhood students clean up the Lahser-Clarita Playground. (2) Student Matthew Dillard (background) and nursing candidate Katrina Melonakos hammer away at the foundation of a Brightmoor vacant lot. (3) Clearing away leaves and debris from the playground are (from left) Amy Keller, Neil Greenberg, Alysssa Clark and Eric Greenberg. (4) The foundation flies with a blow from Matt Kittle. (5) Jon Bartholomay shovels concrete from the foundation into a dumpster. (6) Christina DeSousa carries another load away to the trash. (7) Laurens Schalekamp (from left), Tom Grace and Sean Ziegler carry the discarded engine of an old motorcycle off the playground space. (8) Two students prepare for the day at Brightmoor’s Stolper Park. (9) Dillard gets ready to knock away an abandoned house. (10) Kittle continues working. (Center) Charles Knudson (left) and Kittle work on separate sides of the foundation removal site. (Photos and photo collage by Marcia Ledford, U-M Photo Services)
Early Saturday, April 6, while much of the campus slept, 30 busloads of undergraduates rode to the City of Detroit’s northwest Brightmoor District for Detroit Project (DP) 2002. In its third year, DP Day also launched new Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick’s “Kids, Cops, Clean” initiative. Almost 1,000 students and community volunteers served 40 sites by sponsoring a field day, beautifying a playground and cleaning up roofing, rotting foundations and general debris from abandoned lots.

John George, director of the 14-year-old Motor City Blight Busters, said of DP Day, “What we’re doing here today is absolutely critical to stabilizing and revitalizing the City of Detroit. We have to remove the negative energy and send a message of building bridges.”

During fall semester, the Detroit Project did nearly 40 one-day projects and had five weekly tutoring sessions. For more information, visit the Web at