Two honors for “board-up” man
Irwin Danto is fighting blight in the southwest Detroit neighborhood — one house at a time.
A couple of weeks ago Irwin Danto took Detroit 2020′s Stephen Clark on a tour of the area around his family’s furniture store. Dozens of houses sit abandoned and burned. But more than 60 of them have been boarded up thanks to Danto.
It all began when he saw one open burned out house next to a rental property he owned. He said he had to do something. So he boarded up that house, then one next door, then one across the street. And it just continued.
Last night the Springdale Woodmere Block Club showed their appreciation to Irwin Danto.
Block club president Tom Fayz read the award: “Sprindale Woodmere Block Club proudly honors Irwin Danto, neighborhood hero of the year.”
Fayz says Danto is improving safety, “Safety of the neighborhood, safety of the children and the people who want to walk the streets, walk to the store, walk to the ice cream shop, they don’t have to worry about the people, druggers in the houses.”
And while he has been well known in the neighborhood for years, Detroit 2020 introduced him to the rest of the city and the region.
Last night Danto also received the Spirit of Detroit Award from Councilman James Tate.
Councilman Tate told Danto and the assembled group, “I got the opportunity to see the story on Detroit 2020 and I was just amazed at all the good work that you’ve done.”
He continued, “Thank you on behalf of everyone in the City of Detroit. Certainly from City Council. I know we’ve talked about some of the issues you’ve had to go through, it may or may not be legal, what we care about more than anything is that you’ve gotten involved. And that’s what we ask people to do.”
This is far from the end of the story. Danto told the neighborhood, “We’ve got lots of lumber coming so we hope to make a real dent and see the community pretty much boxed up by the end of the summer.”
He also wants to find a way to intervene in the process of homes becoming burned out hulks. His goal is to get involved early enough to save the houses and recycle them so they can be used by families.
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