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Group Transforms Vacant Detroit Lots Into Nature Areas

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This illustration shows a future nature spot in what used to be a garbage-filled, vacant lot in Detroit. (credit: The Greening of Detroit)

This illustration shows a future nature spot in what used to be a garbage-filled, vacant lot in Detroit. (credit: The Greening of Detroit)

sandramcneill Sandra McNeill
A native Detroiter and University of Michigan graduate, I got a break...
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DETROIT (WWJ) - Work will begin Wednesday on the last of 10 vacant lots in a Detroit neighborhood that are being transformed into nature spots.

Jay Biernat, with the Greening of Detroit, said they’ve been planting trees and wildflower gardens in the lots in the Cody-Rouge neighborhood. He said many of the lots were overgrown and strewn with garbage.

We removed that debris and immediately, I got to meet a lot more neighbors. People were extremely happy to see that debris moved away,” Biernat told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill.

The lots are being transformed with trees and wildflower gardens, paid for by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department. Biernat said the nature spots will be more than just something pretty to look at.

“They’ll clean the air, they’ll clean water and they’ll reduce the amount of storm water that’s going into our combined sewer overflow system in the city,” he said, adding that it will ease flooding during the heavy rain and storm season in those communities.

And to make sure the lots stay clean and kept, Biernat said they’re enlisting the help of neighbors.

“The neighborhoods that have vacant lot treatments, they really begin to kind of call them their own and really watch out for these particular lots. But currently, we’re getting that ball rolling,” he said.

This illustration shows the evolution of a vacant lot in Detroit. (credit: The Greening of Detroit)

This illustration shows the evolution of a vacant lot in Detroit. (credit: The Greening of Detroit)

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