Volunteer for Hantz Woodlands/WXYZ PlantUp in Detroit on May 17

(WXYZ) - The Hantz Woodland is clearly one of the more fascinating blight busting projects in Detroit.

Detroit financier John Hantz has purchased some 1,700 blighted properties from the city, demolished the abandoned homes and will now begin to plant trees on some of that acreage.  It’s a for-profit business model that may take 50 years to mature. But in the meantime it’s taken the blight out of the neighborhoods and the burden off the city’s books.

Scattered among the neat rows of sugar maples and white birch trees will be homes that weren’t abandoned. Like Ray Anderson’s home. His home is nicely painted and in neat repair, but according to the bank, not worth enough money to qualify as collateral on a home improvement loan. That should quickly change as the neighborhood around his home is transformed into an urban forest.

Hantz’ foreman and chief forester, Mike Score this week began digging the first of 15,000 holes that will be filled in a few weeks by three-foot saplings. He’s counting on the help of hundreds of volunteers to put those trees in the ground.

Channel 7 has pledged to help through its socially active Facebook following and Twitter communities #backchannel and #earlyrisers. If you want to help us turn blight into beauty in a Detroit neighborhood sign up HERE. 

Please put WXYZ TV as your organization name and join us Saturday May 17th from 9AM-11AM.

We'll meet at the corner of Holcomb and Goethe, one block south of Mack. 

Also join our Facebook event page and we’ll keep you informed of plans.

A free lunch will be provided after the planting. 

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