DETROIT – A Detroit man transformed a corner lot in the Brightmoor neighborhood into a park that now hosts events for the community.
The “Friends of Classic Cars” and the “Burgess Street Food Festival” took place over the weekend at the corner of Burgess and Acacia Avenue.
The corner of Burgess and Acacia Avenue was known for its blight. People would go there to illegally dump their trash.
Michael Williams had enough and turned the lot into a park for the entire community.
“We’re starting to put the ‘bright’ back in Brightmoor,” Williams said.
He wanted to change people’s perceptions of the Brightmoor neighborhood.
“We had a number of homes that were abandoned and burned. I was able to acquire a lot of lots from the city and some through the Wayne County auction, and cleaned up the blight, and made a park. I named the park after my mother Etheldra Mae Williams,” Williams explained.
This process took years and in October 2020, the park had its first event.
“This is actually our fifth car show today. We’ve had 16 concerts, and the concerts are just wonderful. We’ve held festivals and we’ve had a garage sale, and we’re going to do many more events in 2023,” said Michael.
For people who live in this neighborhood, people like Debra Bernard, transforming this space is symbolic of what’s happening in the community.
“People who are willing to make decisions that help us have environments like this, going from the old way, old patterns, things broken down, things falling apart, things not cared for, into somebody taking the time to care, that’s going on in this community. It’s like the light has come on,” said Bernard.
She knows this is just the beginning, “I’m really happy that I could be a part of this.”
Micheal Williams tells us, “we’re still doing some work on the park. We’re going to put in a walking path. We’re going to put in a bird aviary. We’re going to put in a reflecting pond and two pavilions. And yes, the neighborhood or the community is welcome to come out.”