Thursday, September 3, 2009

Clean Downtown program is creating a better Detroit

If you remember Project WACT, raise your hand. (Now put it back down and realize you’re sitting in front of a computer screen.)

Anyway, I thought of WACT earlier today when I saw one of the Next Detroit: Clean Downtown trucks drive past the building where I work. Same mission as WACT. Clean something.

With Project WACT (an acronym for “We Are Cleaning This”, and I have to credit Dave for creating the name), we borrowed a half-dozen canoes from a local canoe livery in Mt. Pleasant, some garbage bags from the city’s parks and rec department, and paddled a stretch of the Chip River collecting trash. It was fun, sort of our way of doing more on Earth Day than sitting out in front of Warriner Hall listening to people discuss the evils of Styrofoam.

In Detroit, the task is a little more challenging, and calls for more ammunition than canoes and garbage bags. Luckily, Roger Penske has pretty deep pockets, and he teamed Downtown Detroit Partnership to get the ball rolling on a Clean Downtown initiative that, trust me, is making a difference. He started by loaning six trucks, like the one you see pictured. And through donations from local businesses and government agencies, Clean Downtown employs 60 people who walk the streets wearing bright green vests, picking up garbage, power-washing sidewalks, and basically just making downtown a more pleasant place to be.

Want to read more about Clean Downtown? Check out