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Published: Saturday, 5/17/2014

A tree-planting army invades Detroit neighborhood to turn vacant land into future forest

ASSOCIATED PRESS

DETROIT — Volunteers are planting hope in Detroit, one tree at a time.

Hundreds turned out today to help an entrepreneur turn an east side neighborhood into an urban forest. They’re planting 15,000 trees on vacant lots that are bordered by burned-out homes and abandoned apartments.

John Hantz figures trees are better than blighted neighborhoods. His Woodlands project calls for cleaning up 140 acres and knocking down 50 vacant homes.

Hantz is relying on as many as 1,200 tree planters, who get water, hot dogs and the satisfaction of making a difference in bankrupt Detroit.

Caitlin Surdock calls it “beautification of a city that needs more love.” The 23-year-old from the suburbs planted saplings and surrounded them with mulch.

Fifty-two-year-old Sharon Brady lives in Detroit. She says it’s important to give back.



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