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Transcript of the 10/27/11 episode of The Heart of Detroit: Mitch Albom: I just heard a rooster! Mark Covington: We try to come up with something to attract the kids. They hear a rooster crowing or a goat and then ducks, it’s like you’re not in the city anymore. Meet Mark Covington, who takes “neighborhood improvement” to a whole new level. It began when he returned to his childhood streets in Detroit after living out of state. Mark Covington: I came out and saw all this garbage just sitting on the curb. It kind of made me mad cuz I was raised by the village. He decided to clean up, and beautify, with plantings and even this vegetable garden — which actually feeds people in the neighborhood. Mark Covington: We have red okra and black Cajun okra and then we’ve got bell peppers and hot peppers. Mitch Albom: You’re a community activist. Mark Covington: Yeah Mitch Albom: Also a gardener. Mark Covington: Yeah Mitch Albom: Also a zoo keeper. And all these jobs pay you? Mark Covington: Nothing Mitch Albom: Nothing, and yet there’s some satisfaction to it. Mark Covington: I just think it’s my calling. Mark Covington: We always knew what was going on, if somebody was sick, somebody was hungry, didn’t have enough food, that’s how we used to do…and I want to bring all that back. Mitch Albom: This is a movie theater? Mark Covington: Yup, this is our movie theater. Mitch Albom: At night during the summer you actually project on to this? Mark Covington: Yup Mitch Albom: This is the Marco Plex. Mark Covington: (laughing) Ah, that’s a good name for it. Mark Covington says its simple to pull your neighbors closer together. Mark Covington: You can make a difference just by cutting your grass and picking up the paper in front of your house. You know, and then the next day you pick up the paper next door, then the next day you walk down the street and pick up the paper. One house, one block, one neighborhood at a time and um that’s what we trying to do. Mark Covington was born here, and he’s come back here, to revive his old neighborhood in the heart of Detroit.

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