When Bob Hendrikx came to Detroit from The Netherlands, he had heard stories about the city’s decline. It didn’t stop him and a few of his friends from trying to do something good. Hendrikx, Ronen Dan, and Dominik Lukkes bought a vacant house on Ford Street near the Lodge and Davison freeways. Together, the trio founded The Motown Movement, and began to transform the property into something unique. Acting on their concerns about climate change, they began to renovate the house and equip it with solar panels, a water recycling system, and a plant-covered “green” roof.
Hendrikx recently returned to The Netherlands, but before he left, he and project partner Jaap Verheijen gave WDET’s Pat Batcheller a progress report. Verheijen says the word is spreading through the neighborhood.
“We’re really trying hard to get the community engaged,” Verheijen says. “We’re setting up a community board with five people from the city of Detroit, both experts and people living in the neighborhood. Those experts can make a program to organize workshops in the house to educate people on sustainable living.”
Part of the house will be a community education center. But it will also become a new home for a local family.
“We’d like to have a family that is from the neighborhood, or is familiar with the neighborhood,” Verheijen says.
Work on the house will continue in Bob Hendrikx’s absence. He calls his time in Detroit an experience of a lifetime, something he’ll always cherish. He was asked what he’ll tell people about Detroit when he gets home.
“It’s one of the most interesting cities I’ve ever been,” Hendrikx says. “There is so much culture and history, and things are really happening here. Talk is cheap. In Detroit, things happen.”
Hendrikx says he plans to come back to Detroit and expects the project to be finished in 2018. Click on the audio player to hear the conversation with Pat Batcheller.