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City, residents celebrate completion of 3,000 alleys cleaned of brush and trash since program launched

  • 3,000 overgrown alleys with 90,000 tons of debris cleared since 2020
  • Program helps to reduce significant blight city-wide with a commitment from neighbors to maintain the alleys
  • Program gives dozens of returning citizens an opportunity to be a part of Detroit’s neighborhood revitalization efforts


Today, the Department of Neighborhoods and the General Service’s Blight Remediation Team joined Detroit residents in celebrating the completion of more than 3,000 alleys cleaned through the Alley Clean Up program. The program was launched in 2020 by Mayor Duggan to combat blight and illegal dumping, enhancing the quality of life for Detroit residents.

Decades ago, the City of Detroit vacated its alleys and turned them over to adjacent property owners. In the years since, however, alleys had become overgrown with brush and magnets for illegal dumping. To support organized block clubs that wanted to improve their neighborhoods, the city created the Alley Clean Up Program, which has been tremendously popular and successful.

During the first year of the program, over 500 alleys were cleared of trash and debris with close to 500 block clubs signing up to receive services. Since then, the program’s impact has grown to a total of 3,026 alleys and counting, with city crew’s cleaning 15 million square feet of land and removing 90,000 tons of debris.

"The Alley Cleanup program has been one of our most popular and has made a tremendous improvement along thousands of residential blocks now,” said Mayor Duggan. “We appreciate the city workers who are clearing the alleys, as well as the residents and block clubs who are committing to keep them maintained going forward.”

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Councilmember Fred Durhal thanks Mayor Duggan for launching a program that addresses blight across the city.


"I am so grateful for this program and for the city workers that are making it happen," said Rita Ross, President of the Russell Woods Sullivan Area Association, where three blocks of alley between Buena Vista and Tyler streets were cleared today.  "These alleys have been a problem for a long time, and it's such a relief to see them being cleaned up so children can play safely in them, or we can walk our dogs and get exercise in them."

This program is part of the larger city initiative to address blight and gives residents the opportunity to get involved in the upkeep of their neighborhood. The work performed at each location includes complete removal of everything in the alley including illegally dumped debris, as well as tree and brush trimming. Some light grading work is also done to ensure alleys are leveled and passable.

"In our collective efforts to revitalize and uplift our communities, reaching the milestone of the 3000th alley cleanup occurring in District 7 and throughout the city of Detroit stands as a testimony to the unwavering spirit and dedication of our residents,” said Councilmember Durhal. “Together, we are not only cleaning up our alleys but also paving the way towards a safer, more connected, and vibrant neighborhood.”

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Councilmember Durhal and longtime Detroit resident Rita Ross.


How to sign up

The City will select the alleys identified by block clubs or neighborhood associations registered with the Department of Neighborhoods after the completion of an alley clean-up request form, available at https://detroitmi.gov/departments/department-neighborhoods. To take part in the program, block clubs and individuals in areas without a block club are encouraged to organize a block club and get registered with the City.

Information on how to form a registered block club is also available on that page.

After the registered block club is signed up a community liaison meets with block club leaders to tour and survey the alley. 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.

There will also be a sign-up page available for block clubs who are interested in the gates to receive a feasibility consultation. Once eligibility is verified and the City receives sign off from block clubs, gates are installed.

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General services team begins work clearing an alley located on Bunea Vista and Petosky.


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