Project EverGreen and partners revive Detroit park and neighborhood
Planting trees, improving grass play areas and painting backstops in November doesn’t seem to fit with the season when leaves and temperatures are falling, but the transformation of Detroit’s Pingree Park is starting to bloom right before the eyes of neighborhood residents.
Project EverGreen in collaboration with local business partners, including Troy-Mich.-based Magna International, community groups and the City of Detroit, started the renewal of the 18-acre park November 3-4 when about 200 volunteers pruned and planted trees, filled in ruts in the natural grass playing area, painted backstops and removed weeds and sticks from the playground.
The project, however, is more than an aesthetic makeover for this park, it represents the revival of a community hub that serves as a gathering area for generations of east side Detroit residents, and new families moving into the Pingree Park neighborhood.
“Pingree Park and its neighbors are the real winners,” says Cindy Code, executive director of Project EverGreen. “The improved space generates enough oxygen for nearly 15,000 people per day, and the living, breathing park functions as the lungs of the surrounding neighborhood.”
The renovation work will boost the health and well-being of the neighborhood, raise home values and serve as a spark for nearby development. They will also provide increased safety for kids playing on the grass sports fields and establish a community hub for nearby residents to connect with one another.
“We’re passionate about our community and in keeping our neighborhoods healthy and beautiful and we know how lucky we are to make a living in the landscape industry,” says Matt Scott, director of operations for Troy Clogg Landscape Associates, the lead contractor for the project. “It was great to see local residents, businesses and community groups working side-by-side with Project EverGreen and our team. It was very rewarding.”
Minnie Knox, a 50-year resident of the neighborhood says, “This is the boost we needed to help return Pingree to its former glory. Our kids and grandkids grew up here. I’m just so happy.”
Plans for the second phase of the project call for creating new walking paths, building a grass amphitheater and planting new trees on E. Forest Ave. These updates are scheduled to take place in the spring of 2018.