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More than 100 cleanup projects part of ARISE Detroit

Jennifer Chambers
The Detroit News

ARISE Detroit’s Neighborhoods Day on Aug. 1 is expected to be the group’s biggest yet with more than 250 churches, community groups, block clubs and businesses signed on.

The event is an annual citywide display of work and pride that features festivals, educational activities, more than 100 cleanup and beautification projects, garden planting, parades, health fairs and back-to-school events.

“It says a lot about the spirit of the people in our neighborhoods,” said Luther Keith, executive director of ARISE Detroit! “The growth in registrations, as well as the strong sponsorship support from businesses, foundations and volunteers, is a clear sign that more people are recognizing that creating vibrant neighborhoods is essential for Detroit’s comeback.”

More than 50 churches and faith-based institutions will participate, and local businesses will join hands with city residents and suburbanites.

The Neighborhoods Day activities will take place in every zip code throughout the city, stretching from the Detroit Riverfront to Eight Mile Road. Additionally, related events will be held in late July and throughout August by groups that want to be connected to Neighborhoods Day.

“Neighborhoods Day is changing Detroit from the ground up,” said Beverly Kindle-Walker of Friends of Detroit City Airport, one of the participating organizations.

Detroit Future City is the main sponsor of the event. Through a partnership with AAA Hardware Stores, DFC is funding vouchers for more than 100 organizations to purchase supplies for their Neighborhoods Day beautification and cleanup projects.

Corporate volunteers will also play a big role by adopting a number of schools for beautification projects. They include Meijer, FCA, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, PNC Bank, City Year Detroit, Wisdom Lodge No. 57, and the Wayne County Executive’s Office.

Additional Neighborhoods Day highlights include:

■ Gospel concerts, youth events and back-to-school fairs held by churches and faith-based institutions

■ Various youth sports tournaments and exhibitions, including 1,000 boys and girls playing baseball and softball in the Detroit Tigers Hometown Championship and 20 youngsters from Harlem, N.Y. taking on Detroit youth in a golf tournament sponsored by the Hollywood Golf Institute

■ Back-to-school events, including the collection and distribution of thousands of backpacks filled with school supplies

■ Community festivals and concerts, including the Gratiot Splash on the lower east side with the Mosaic Youth Theatre and presentations by civic leaders, along with the Bringing in Change Festival on the northeast side and Jazz on the Ave on Livernois between McNichols and Eight Mile Road.

■ Art exhibits, including the Sidewalk Performing Arts Festival at the Artist Village in northwest Detroit with more than 30 street performers and specially-designed artistic doors created by DMJ Studios, plus the Grandmont Community Association’s 42nd annual Arts & Crafts Fair featuring over 50 artists.