Brush Park BMX Invades Downtown Detroit

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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.

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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.

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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.

Photos courtesy of @BrushParkBMX and @BrushPark_MyHood

Detroit Skate Park to Revive Abandoned Neighborhood

“We’re backing Detroit 100%,” says Antihero pro skater, Tony Miorana. “You just really want to find somewhere where no one’s going to stop you from building more shit… [Detroit’s] full of that kind of atmosphere.”

Like so many other Detroit-believers, Miorana and his formidable crew of skaters, artists, and activists in the nonprofit Power House Productions have a vision for bettering the battered city. Their vision is for a sprawling Detroit skate park that would take over a whole vacant section of neighborhood. Entire lots, houses, garages, alleys. All of it all mod’d out and transformed D.I.Y. by a team of local and national skate industry professionals with a common goal: to provide the youth in the long-struggling community with something positive. A place to go, be a part of something, give back, and express themselves.

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The proposed Detroit skate park, dubbed Ride It Sculpture Park, will span at least four vacant lots along the Davison Freeway, with an adjacent abandoned house to act as a mini indoor park and an HQ for visiting skaters and artists.

Tony Miorana and co. may have dreamt up the project, but they’re looking to local skaterats, do-gooders, creative kids – even mom and dad – to be the positive force that drives the vision to fruition. “It’s D.I.Y. style where kids are gonna start building their own stuff. But we’re there to help out,” Miorana says. “We’re hyped on this one because there’s no threat of it getting torn down. Everything I’ve done before you couldn’t really talk about it. For this spot, it’s 100% a go.”

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The Ride It Sculpture Park project is currently accepting donations through a Crowdrise fundraiser, as well as a number of cool local events. The Goodwill Project, an art show featuring skateboarding artists will open mid-May, in conjunction with an online auction with 100% of the proceeds going toward the first Sculpture Park build in June. Later that month, Emerica will hold one of its Wild in the Streets events (and after-party) to benefit the construction of the Detroit skate park on June 21.

The House of Marley applauds the team behind Ride It Sculpture Park. If you build it, they will come. Detroit’s been down for going on 45-years now, but it’s never been out. This fresh concept is an innovative community action that will surely contribute to the healing of one of America’s most important cities. Get involved by visiting http://www.crowdrise.com/rideit.

“You just build one thing and start skating it,” says Miorana. “Then you can go forever in your mind with what’s possible. That keeps you hyped.”

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