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Sunflowers On Detroit's Woodward Ave. Will Bring Splash Of Yellow To City Most Famous Street

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SUNFLOWERS ON WOODWARDS
File Photo: Getty Images/Oli Scarff. Sunflowers will soon sprout along Detroit's Woodward Ave. | Getty Images/Oli Scarff

Sunflowers' brilliant yellow petals and stately green stalks have long inspired poets and painters. Now, a group of volunteers working with a local nonprofit hopes to bring that inspiration to Woodward Avenue this summer by planting more than 700 sunflowers along a two-mile stretch of the iconic highway.

The Woodward Avenue Action Association (WA3) is sponsoring the project, Sunflowers on Woodward, and hopes to raise $5,000 in donations to bring it to bloom.

Volunteers will plant sunflowers on a slice of Woodward between 8 Mile and McNichols in Detroit. The plantings will happen in stages so that commuters and other passers-by can enjoy the flowers throughout the summer.

WA3's Economic Development Program Manager Jason Fowler said the the project aims to bring together neighborhood groups, volunteers and businesses to help spruce up one of the less-cared-for segments of the street.

"Sunflowers are a really easy way to make a visual impact and improve the aesthetics of the area and make it look better," Fowler said. "And it's something that's low maintenance and doesn't have a high cost."

The project will tap youth volunteers from Detroit's Penrose Art House, who already help tend a garden at their community center.

The project is also getting help from Blossoms, a florist in Birmingham, whose owners Norm Silk and Dale Morgan will host a cocktail party at the Dorothy Turkel house in Detroit's Palmer Woods neighborhood for donors who give more than $100 in sunflower seed money.

WA3 was instrumental in getting Woodward designated as an All-American Road by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 2009. The sunflower planting is just part of WA3's Park District Initiative, dedicated to improving the area near Detroit's Palmer Park. Members have already moved in several flower planters into the area with the cooperation of the City of Detroit and hope to make further improvements with landscaping, trash cans and benches.

The Park District Task Force holds monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of every month at 8:30 a.m. at La Dolce Vita, located at 17546 Woodward Ave. in Detroit. To get involved contact WA3 Program Manager Jason Fowler at jason@woodwardavenue.org.

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