DETROIT - A vacant, burned down garage in Detroit became a dumping ground for trash, toilets and unwanted boats.
After years of watching their neighborhood become a wasteland, residents in Southwest Detroit called Help Me Hank to get it cleaned up.
Vandals had set the trash on fire a couple of times, damaging a resident's garage. After getting nowhere with city officials, the man called Local 4 to get the job done.
"I pay my taxes," Daniel Leyton said. "I've lived in the city all my life -- 53 years -- and I can't get anything done with this."
Leyton is a proud Detroiter, but he's had enough with the trashing piling up behind his house after a vacant garage burned down 10 years ago on Bulwer Street.
"One day there was a pile of trash, and the next day, there's another pile of trash, and it got up to be several feet high," Leyton said. "I wake up and there's something new."
After the piles of trash were set on fire twice, Leyton called the city for help. But he said nothing was done.
"I don't want to live like this anymore," Leyton said. "This was a nice place to live. I don't know what else to do, so I called Hank, and hopefully we get it done."
Local 4 called the city, and they came through.
"It takes a team to make it happen, and we're here to be a part of the team," DPW Superintendent Doug Collins said.
Collins and city crews brought in multiple trucks to take eight loads of trash away. They even knocked down the remaining bricks and roof off of the old garage, and there are ways to report illegal dumping.
"They can call 911 (if it's in progress)," Collins said. "They respond to dumping in progress, and if you get a plate number and a description, if you can take a picture that the police might be able to use, that'd be a great help."
Residents who need a property cleaned up, one of the best ways is to use the Improve Detroit app. Take a picture of the property and send the address.
The property next to Leyton's home is now looking clean.
"I'm so happy," Leyton said. "You made my day. You really did."
Leyton and officials with the city have a message for illegal dumpers:
"Shame on you," Leyton said. "Would you want it to happen next door to your house?"
"Go to a place where you're supposed to dump," Collins said. "Don't do it here. Give the city a break."
City officials cleaned up the property, took some of the shrubbery down and added cement blocks. Next, officials will patch the holes in the alley for residents who have waited patiently for the mess to be cleaned up.
City officials said there have been several arrests and fines handed out over illegal dumping. They're using Project Green Light cameras, and the word is getting out that dumpers will face consequences.
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