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Detroiters ‘Walking Against Blight’

“Walking Against Blight” club members / PUAKEA ALAISHA ANDERSON PHOTO

By Puakea Olaisha Anderson

Special to the Michigan Citizen

DETROIT — Residents on the east side of the city are “Walking Against Blight.” WAB is a new health initiative sponsored by Detroit Food and Fitness Collaborative, The Kellogg Foundation, Healthy Environment Partnership of Warren and Conner Development Coalition.

The walking club is for residents to better their health and the environment in which they live. Residents who registered for the Sept. 18 walk were provided with a mobile tablet to record blight in their area such as abandoned cars, homes, overgrown fields and dump sites.

The information is shared with their block clubs, neighborhood associations and schools to plan clean-ups to make their community better.

“They have the power. We only have this area of the east side (Mack between Chalmers and Alter roads) to cover,” says Darnell Adams, event developer for WAB. “We eventually want to cover the whole east side when funding becomes available. There will be more area to cover starting in January.”

Sponsors for walking against blight will be providing residents with tools and materials to board up abandoned homes, tow away abandoned vehicles and manicure overgrown weeds. WAB registration ends Oct. 22. From October through December 2013, the walking club will analyze their information and determine the success of the program. That information will be used to provide more assertive ways to eliminate more blight, according to Adams.

Sierra Parks, a community resident, says, “Each one bring one — the community needs to come back together. Everyone should be concerned about where they live … If we don’t care for each other, who’s gonna care for us?”

For more information, contact Darnell Adams at 313.571.2800 ext.3202.

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