DETROIT – Volunteers are removing 200,000 pounds of historic brick on Detroit’s east side by hand.
Those bricks will be used to help fix and preserve Virginia Park Street, one of the city’s last brick-paved roads.
The bricks aren’t just 1,904-made pavers.
“This is our history,” said Jane Rohloff. “It’s all history, from where they came to who set them.”
But removing 200,000 pounds of them isn’t easy.
“This is hard work, and I’m glad the sun has gone down,” said Tony
It’s required for ITC holdings and DTE energy’s new substation on Detroit’s east side, and conviently enough, it matches the same brick here On Virginia Park Street.
Then someone in the neighborhood came up with an idea.
“She said that DTE and ITC might be willing to donate the bricks to us and give us a chance to take these bricks rather than put them in a landfill,” said Steve Waldrop.
Virginia Park neighbors and volunteers are doing the heavy lifting.
“I think it’s quicker for me to throw them out and stick them on the pallet,” Tony said.
But it’s with the purpose.
Because they understand a brick-paved road says a lot about a neighborhood.
“I think it gives it a lot of character,” Tony said.
And character is something Virginia Park Street has a lot of.
“The block I live on was bricked in 1894, which is two years before Henry Ford was driving his automobile on the streets of Detroit,” Waldrop said. “It was designed for wagons and bicycles,
Residents say the bricks need saving.
“All the houses on the street are very well maintained, and to keep the current preservation of the brick, I think it would keep the character,” Tony said.
The rebricking of this street would cost an estimated $2 million, and residents are hoping they can get a state grant to help.
Neighbors hope with funding they can start Rebricking in the next year.