City calls on Detroiters to help clean 500 alleys by end of 2020; paid positions available

Before and after of an alley
  • City committed to cleaning 500 alleys by end of 2020; 29 alleys cleaned to date
  • Paid positions available for city residents interested in performing alley cleanup duties
  • City seeks to partner with registered block clubs on identifying and maintaining alley cleanups

Today, city officials joined neighborhood leaders to share an update on the city's new alley cleanup program. Launched in August 2020, the pilot program is on pace to clean 500 alleys by the end of the year. 29 alleys have been cleaned to date. The overwhelmingly positive response from residents has created more opportunity for Detroiters who would like to help beautify neighborhoods through this work, as a paid member of the cleanup crew.

The city vacated alleys decades ago and they’ve since become the responsibility of the adjacent homeowners.  This new program provides residents with city assistance to clean up overgrown alleys in exchange for a commitment from residents for ongoing maintenance and cleanup.

“The alley cleanup program was a direct response to what we’ve heard from residents for years,” said Mayor Mike Duggan. “We’ve heard the continual requests to get the alleys cleaned up. Not only are we listening; we’re acting, but we can't do this work alone. Together with registered block clubs across the city, and any Detroiter that wants to help get the work done, we can get this city cleaned up, one alley at a time.”

The work performed by city cleanup crews includes complete removal of everything in the alley, including debris removal and tree and brush trimming. Some light grading work is also being done to ensure alleys are leveled and passable. Gates are expected to be made available next year. Since the program's inception 549 tons of debris has been cleared and 391 tires along with 523 trees have been removed from city alleys.


Paid positions available for city residents
The city is looking to hire at least 20 additional Detroit residents interested in performing alley cleanup duties. There are several positions available, ranging in pay starting at $13 to $20 per hour. Interested individuals should submit an application here.


Partnerships with Registered Block Clubs
A major component of the alley cleanup program is its partnership with registered block clubs and neighborhood associations. The city will only select alleys submitted by those groups registered with the Department of Neighborhoods. Registered block clubs and neighborhood associations interested in submitting an alley for cleanup must complete the online request form here.

Once an alley has been selected and cleaned, the block club must commit to maintaining the alley by performing additional cleanups, at least twice per year.

For residents looking to take part in the program who may not have a block club or neighborhood association in their area, individuals are encouraged to organize block clubs and get registered with the city. For more information on establishing a block club, visit detroitmi.gov/neighborhoods.