MOTION TO MAKEOVER: Romanowski Park Beautification

JULY “MOTION TO MAKEOVER” at ROMANOWSKI PARK

Made possible through a grant from the Home Depot Foundation, The 313 Project’s Romanowski Park Renovation was our largest “Motion to Makeover” to date. HUGE thanks to our community partners, individual volunteers, sponsors, and event donors for making this challenging endeavor a beautiful success.

BACKGROUND

Beginning in February of 2012, The 313 Project surveyed Romanowski Park and its surrounding neighborhoods. Located in the heart of a diverse community in Southwest Detroit, Romanowski Park is situated near multiple schools, churches, and residential areas. The 26-acre park also serves as the location for soccer team meet-ups, informal pick-up basketball games, and the site of an urban garden and orchard maintained by the Greening of Detroit. Despite its popularity within the community, the park was in dire need of repair. Trash — caused largely in part by the presence of ZERO garbage cans in the park! — and graffiti covering nearly every park structure were two of the biggest problems we observed. Additional issues included: Vandalized and damaged fencing, playground equipment (including missing swings and a burnt slide); tripping and safety hazards including holes in the playground matting; overgrown plants and other graffiti-ridden eye-sores surrounding the park; and, only two of the 18 basketball hoops had nets. Furthermore, the park had two benches and no grills, bleachers, or bike racks.

RENOVATION SUMMARY

Over the month of July ’12, The 313 Project worked together with 14 different organizations including Home Depot #2789, the City of Detroit, ACCESS, Educating U4 Life, Blight Busters, The Greening of Detroit, and Summer in the City to beautify Romanowski Park. We hosted a “Prep Day” on July 5, 2012 in which over 50 volunteers successfully completed 10 different renovation sites. Volunteers collected over 50 contractor bags of litter, recycled dead tree stumps into wood mulch (to be then used to enrich the park’s urban garden), and cleaned up the sand pathway encircling the park.

On Thursday, July 12, over 400 volunteers of all ages and backgrounds united at the park to complete 15 different project sites.

It was a day to remember! Our renovations included: Beautifying the park welcome sign by removing graffiti and installing a retaining wall decorated with shrubbery; installing six new grills, four new benches, and eight 16-foot long picnic tables; doing a complete trash sweep of the park; installing 34 custom-made garbage cans; renovating four soccer fields by adding goal nets, repainting posts, and striping the fields; repainting two pavilions and adding table tops to four tables (which had previously been vandalized); installing two bleachers by the soccer fields; adding nets to all 18 basketball hoops; running a kids’ workshop which was attended by approximately 75 youths; painting a mural on the once-graffiti ridden climbing rock; and, with much help from Motor City Blight Busters, boarding up and beautifying 6 abandoned houses surrounding the park.

Our work would not be possible without the passion, generosity, and drive of our volunteers. Thank you for ALL that you do!

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