Vacant Detroit lot could be transformed into apple orchard

A vacant Detroit lot will be transformed into an apple orchard.

- While it's technically still summer, people are already flocking to local apple orchards for a taste of fall. Now there's a plan to bring an orchard to Detroit.

In the middle of a vacant block on Lenox on Detroit's east side, some are envisioning an apple orchard, cider mill, community gardens and a farmers market for the neighborhood.

"This is going to be a fully functioning professional apple orchard that people are going to be extremely impressed with," said Matthew Wollack.

Wollack is with Wolverine Human Services -- a place where troubled boys are helped to get back on track. It's also a place that's in the middle of major renovations and new ideas for a neighborhood that's seen so many move away.

"We look at it as not only a neighborhood centerpiece for community support to attract new people in, it's really an opportunity for our kids to have experience in green jobs working in an orchard and just giving them an opportunity to move on into the future," Wollack said.

Wolverine said they're also hoping to purchase a huge piece of property where an old abandoned school sits. They're hoping to turn it into a community center.

Damon Currie, who lives across the street, said he's not sold on an apple orchard.

"When you say the apple orchard - I'm just thinking rodents over there," he said.

But Wollack said environmental concerns are being addressed. They've already secured $400,000 in funding from the Department of Agriculture and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. They present their plan to city council later this month and hope to start planting nearly 4,000 honey crisp dwarf trees next spring.

The orchard would cost an estimated $1.5 million and would be called Core Orchards Detroit.


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