The question of what to do about the city of Detroit may be an endless puzzle for politicians, but for many dedicated community members, the idea is much more simple. Grassroots based projects have always kept many in the city fed, clothed and entertained, all at the same time. Something as small as transforming an underutilized public park could literally change a city block. With that in mind, the Brush Park BMX revival was brought to life.
Led by local BMXer/freelance photographer Joe Gall, a team of dedicated bike riders set about cleaning up Brush Park in early April. Even though the park is located only a few blocks away from the stadiums that are home to the Detroit Lions and Tigers, the location was largely neglected since the early 1970s. Over the course of a few months, the crew packed up bag after bag with 20 to 30 plus years of trash and completely tore apart the overgrown shrubbery.
While cleaning up the park was the initial goal, once the trash and debris were removed, it was time to start building an epic BMX park. By suggestion of the park’s neighbors, the bikers incorporated the vintage playground equipment that was still standing into the course’s architecture. A 10-foot metal slide acts as a starter ramp for the series of dirt jumps, which flows riders through and around concrete statues, monkey bars and more.
Gaining the confidence of the surroundings of the community was key in the success of building the Brush Park BMX trail. The city of Detroit tends to see its property misused by outsiders, but instead, this crew of riders (many of whom live near the park) went about their project the right way. By cleaning the area and making it safer for all, the park became a site for anyone to hang out, no matter whether they are into bike riding or not.
Creating something new out of an item that has long been forgotten is what the #LiveMarley movement is all about. Just as we have taken items from society’s waste stream and reused them in our earth friendly headphones, portable audio systems, Lively Up bags and watch line, the BMXers of Detroit have revitalized a park for their community. We’d like to say “Happy Trails!” to the Brush Park BMX crew and hope that they will continue making a difference.