Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Brush Park: Be The Change That You Want to See Around You

Photo Credit: Angie McBride
Lately there has been a lot of talk about the City of Detroit and what the future holds for her. Some people believe that the corporate buy up of the buildings in Detroit for re-purposing will be the savior that the city needs while others believe that this city cannot be saved. I have always been somewhere in between. I do not think that corporations and big business coming back to Detroit will be its savior because, let's face it, big business has already abandoned our lady before. I believe that Detroit can come back, but if we want to do it right we have to do it differently. We do not need to turn every corner into a Starbucks to bring Detroit back. I believe that you and me can bring this city back by literally taking it back, block by block.

I have joked around for years that Joe Gall is the next Andy Warhol. What I really mean by this is that Joe has always seen the world in a different way. His altered perspective is what makes all of his photos unique and interesting. They say when every good artist finds his muse they produce their best art. If you have been watching Joe's love affair with the City of Detroit, you already know that he seems to have found his inspiration. When he started his urban exploring last year he exposed the rest of us to a world that most of us would have never seen without him. I don't know about you, but I am not scaling a building. But, I sure do like the pictures that it produces when someone else does it. I never could have dreamed that Joe’s new venture would turn into the project of the summer. He found an abandoned park and instead of just passing by he envisioned so much more. 

Photo Credit: Angie McBride
On April 1st Joe started digging and he has been digging ever since. He decided to make a dirt ramp to bike on in an abandoned area called Brush Park or "Brush and Adelaide Playground" located near Midtown Detroit. He asked a few friends to help and they built a couple of ramps to jump and ride on. A few days later they dug a few more, and inadvertently started the effort to clean up the area.

This last Sunday about 40-50 people gathered and cleared trees, bushes, garbage and debris from what was once a child's park. As the debris was being cleaned, dirt ramps and jumps were being dug and created. A local neighbor brought over a grill and made hot dogs for the crew and tons of people came and donated their time and their shovels to help with the effort. It was at that moment that I realized that we were literally taking the city back ourselves. We weren't waiting for our leaders or someone else to do it. Instead, we were literally cleaning up the City of Detroit and reclaiming a park that was once a place where children played and people were happy. This could be the rebirth of Detroit. I was starting to see what Joe saw. 

Photo Credit: Angie McBride
It was inspiring to see that many people come together and volunteer their time to work towards a common goal. What was even more amazing was how much we were able to get done in one day. Joe has been out there working every day this month and right now there is no stopping in sight. Most days he is out there digging and if you are free and want to to join there is a shovel waiting for you. We are going to designate Sundays as the official clean up day. Please, come out and help us clear the area this Sunday and everyone after, until the job is done. If you are unable to help because of time or physical constraints, you might be able to help in a different way. We are still hoping to get a few items donated to the park. They are looking for 2 x 4 plywood to help build the BMX park, a picnic table(s), a bench(es), garbage cans, lawn bags, and outdoor grills that can be installed into the lot (the charcoal kind). All of these items would make the Brush and Adelaide Playground Area an even cooler place for all of us to hang out this summer. If you are able to donate any of these items, email us here at hipindetroit@gmail.com and we will put you in contact with the right people. I'm sure they would also accept cash donations if you felt so compelled. 
Photo Credit: Angie McBride
Cheers to Joe Gall for starting this movement and cheers to everyone who has shown up and helped him carry it out so far. We are the change that we want to see around us.

Remember kids, this park is D.I.Y. That means work and ride at your own risk. When you are at the park please be respectful of the neighbors and the land. We only have temporary permission to be there and we want to make sure that we have no problem making Brush Park playground a place that people want to be at for years to come.Brush Park playground is located at 256 Adelaide Detroit, MI. BMX and DIY forever!


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