84-year-old Detroiter dedicates time, money to beautifying his block

Image 1 of 3

An 84-year old man dedicates his time to making his city shine again.

By day, this Detroiter knocks down blighted homes with a bulldozer, and after hours he puts his own money into beautifying his block.

"This is all I know how to do," said Albert Dixon.

Dixon says he's 84 years old, but he's not slowing down doing his part to fight the blight.

"I say to myself sometimes, why can't that man or woman get out there and do something for their house or clean up their place," he said.

Dixon has been doing this kind of work his entire life. Along the way, he's seen a lot of the best Detroit has to offer, but also the worst.

"I've seen a whole lot of things in the city since I've been working," he said. "I've seen a lot of good people and a lot of bad people all over the city.

"The way people are living now with these abandoned houses next door or a cross the street, it's sad. I hate to see that."

He's even working on buying two empty lots next to his own Detroit home.

"It helps me to be a part of cleaning it up."

City officials say they can always use more workers like Al, to tear down houses and clean up lots.

"There's a lot of opportunity in the neighborhoods right now, not just in terms of the house is coming down, but who is actually doing the work," said Brian Farkas, Director of Special Projects at the Detroit Building Authority. "It's direct investment into the neighborhoods."

Dixon doesn't plan on stopping anytime soon. And hopes he can inspire more people to get behind the cause.

"I'm trying to make it happen but man, it will take a whole lot of me to make it happen," he said. "A whole lot more people have to get involved."