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Michigan Rugby Joins in Neighborhood Restoration in Detroit

Cam Watson uncovering a hidden sidewalk along 15th and Grand River Ave.

This last Sunday, a group of Michigan Rugby players traveled to Detroit joining an effort to beautify some of the area surrounding Douglass College Preparatory Academy. Joining up with alumni Michael Olszewski, Jamie Hickey, and Ted Pixley, the ruggers brought out the shovels and brooms to eradicate weeds that had not been maintained for several years. Neglect for the surrounding sidewalks rendered them inaccessible to the handicap and another eye sore to pedestrians, and motorists. Working with the Detroit city skyline across the horizon, the players shuffled down W. Forest Avenue between 12th and 14th Street hacking away at growth that had broken out of the concrete. Motivated by friendly honks and waves, the team worked several hours until all the weeds had been removed.

Chris Hopfner and alumnus, Michael Olszewski remove invading weeds from the sidewalk.

The restoration was inspired by a summer initiative for makeovers in the form of murals to buildings along Grand River Avenue, while simultaneously cleaning up accumulated trash and pesky vegetation. Olszewski, Hickey, and Pixley worked for several days prior but realized their lack of man power made their work inefficient. They turned to Michigan Rugby for a hand and now have a team eager to return to in the spring. Local volunteer groups including Big Brothers Big Sisters of Metropolitan Detroit and organizations from Wayne State University have previously helped out and will continue to throughout the year as well. More about the project and photos can be read by this article from the Huntington Post.

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