I am really excited to announce a huge project we are undertaking with the folks at the Goergia Street Community Garden. The basics: With all proceeds from the screening of After the Factory on March 22 at the Main Art Theatre in Royal Oak, we are initiating a neighborhood project on a vacant lot at the Georgia Street Community Garden. We want to use the film as a tool to create real growth and to go beyond just talking about the good things happening. We want it to be a crucial part of the movement, too.
So, a neighborhood project? We are building a remote control race car track (this photo more or less conveys what that means). There I said it. I couldn’t help it. But wait, a remote control race car track? Let me explain.
The idea is to create an attraction, something that kids are curious about and want to take part in. After all, there are no remote control race car tracks in the city of Detroit, so it will also be something very unique to them and their neighborhood. Once the track is constructed, kids will have a variety of ways in which they can earn car time– they can volunteer in the GSCC media center, they could help tutor a fellow neighbor with their math homework, they could volunteer with Mark in the garden, take part in the up and coming youth garden market, or a variety of other things. But the point is this: once they have put a little work in, they are rewarded with some good old fashioned fun at the track where they can race cars and have a good time on space that was previously derelict. But it goes significantly further than that. With enough interest we can run classes that show kids how to build their own car, and perhaps some become interested in circuitry, engineering or product design. Then the universities step in to help make that vision possible with some partial or full scholarships. But here’s the main point: we’re taking dirt, a vacant lot, some extra materials and creating a very unique form of community engagement that is easily scaled up and emulated by others.
So! Who is WE? Well, obviously Mark Covington and the folks in the vicinity of Georgia Street Community Garden, then us here at DL!, but we’re looping in Patrick Thompson from Patrick Thompson Design to help really steer an innovative design process that involves kids and neighbors at the front end of designing this thing (learn about Patrick in a recent short film we did on him here).
Last item: We really need your help. Please buy your tickets for the screening on March 22 and support this endeavor. The more people that come, the closer we get to reaching our mark of raising at least $3,000 for this effort. If you cannot come to the screening, please tell your friends to come through Facebook and Twitter. Next, we will need some volunteers when we get to cleaning off the lot in April. So, get ready, we think this is going to be a really exciting forward movement for the folks on Georgia Street, but hopefully pave the way to creatively thinking about some new forms of neighborhood engagement. Onward.