Detroit Dad Transforms Vacant Lot Into Safe, Recreational Space

Dan Davis built a homemade movie screen, a go-kart track and an athletic field for his neighbors.

Posted: 08/11/2014 12:00 PM EDT
Detroit Dad Transforms Vacant Lot into Safe, Recreational Space

Determined to provide a safe, local space for his neighbors to have some fun, Dan Davis of Detroit, Michigan, transformed the vacant lot next to his house into a full-blown outdoor recreational center.

Now, the children and adults in his west side neighborhood have access to a homemade movie screen, a bonfire pit, a swing set, a barbecue grill and fitness weights. A stretch of lots across the street were also turned into a go-kart track and athletic field. The change is welcome on a block that includes several empty lots and deteriorating vacant houses.

“Detroit is a good city,” he said. “And I know it has to be done to make the neighborhood good.”

In addition to the recreational center, Davis has also encouraged local residents not to litter by placing trash cans outside. The clean sidewalk in front of his house looked very different when he moved into the home about five years ago.

“When I moved onto to this block...it took me almost three days just to pick up all the paper on the block, just walking up and down the street,” he told the Detroit Free Press.

To commemorate Davis's community deeds, his church, Gregg Memorial African Methodist Episcopal Church, has awarded him a certification of appreciation for his efforts.

"Before my babies, it was just about what I want," Davis said. "Now it can’t be what I want, it’s about what they need."

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(Photo: Courtesy Detroit Free Press)

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