The environmental work campers complete at Camp Restore Detroit may be the best way for campers to have a visual idea of the difference their work makes in our community. Especially in the 9th Precinct, where Camp Restore Detroit is located, much of the city looks like it has been overtaken by nature. City lots which once held beautiful houses are now three feet deep in weeds, overgrown trees and bushes, and trash. We often refer to this as blight.
Blight occurs for many different reasons. The area around Camp Restore Detroit is only 25% populated. Following the violence in Detroit, many community members fled the area and haven’t returned. The lots where they once lived are now overtaken with weeds and many of the houses have been destroyed. With no one caring for these lots nature quickly takes over. Another unfortunate addition to blight is illegal dumping. Companies or individuals from the suburbs of Detroit dump their trash in “abandoned” parts of our community to avoid fees in the suburbs.
This blight causes multiple problems in our community. It contributes to the overall feeling and appearance of abandonment, making it hard upon first glace to see all the good happening in our community. Blight also limits visibility, increasing the difficulty of police monitoring. A big project many of our campers worked on this summer was clearing sidewalks. Many of the sidewalks around Camp Restore Detroit are so covered in blight and garbage we couldn’t even tell there was a sidewalk! Overgrown sidewalks and lots force the people in our community to walk on the street, putting them in danger of being hit by a vehicle. Clearing sidewalks or one little lot may feel like pointless, back-breaking work, but it truly does have such a big impact in our community to show someone does care and hope can be restored.
While we would love to go block-by-block and clean our entire neighborhood, this does not fit into our asset-based ministry model and is not sustainable. Any blight removal our campers complete is done in partnership with the community. We will only clear blight if we have a promise from our community leaders that the property will be maintained. Many times, our campers are joined by the community, inspiring and encouraging those they work with and even those who drive by and notice someone caring! Little-by-little we are partnering with our community to restore safety and beauty to our neighborhood. We would love to have you partner with us in this on-going project! Click the button below to schedule a group, send us an email at [email protected], or give us a call at 313-530-3522 to find out how you can help!