Submitted by Kathy Garrett Have you noticed the new bench on the southeast corner of Grand River and Evergreen? Have you noticed the books sitting underneath the bench? Sit On It Detroit put that bench there because they saw a need for bus riders to have a place to sit while they wait. To make the wait even more enjoyable, Sit On It Detroit also provided the books with the intention of creating an outdoor public library. In a city where long waits at bus stop are common and many riders are senior citizens, Kyle Bartell and Charles Molnar had an idea: Why not build some benches? “We use repurposed wood, and to promote literacy, we include donated books,” says Kyle, who, with his friend Charles, started Sit On It Detroit about 1 ½ years ago. Thus far, Sit On It Detroit has installed 20 benches all over the city. You will see them at bus stops and parks. “Whenever we build a bench, we ask the people of Detroit via Facebook where they see a need for it. Then we check out the location and drop it off,” Kyle adds. “That way the people in the community have a direct involvement with where the benches go.” The benches are intended as a unique way to build community. Volunteers from the Heidelberg Project as well as students from Wayne State University have worked to build the benches. Kyle and Charles are even working toward establishing a co-curricular opportunity for WSU students to receive credit for helping Sit On It Detroit build benches. Kyle is happy to have the help because “it’s a lengthy process to build a bench. It takes about 15 hours to repurpose the wood. We de-nail it, cut it to the required measurements, and sand it. Then it takes another 2-3 hours to build the bench and more time to protect it from the weather.” But the end product is worth the time. “Each piece of wood tells a story about Detroit because all of the wood is reclaimed from buildings around the city, and what you get is a beautiful product in the end. It’s a community bench with an outdoor library.” Sit On It Detroit also maintains its benches and supply of books. “This winter was hard on the benches, but another interactive part of this project is that the people of Detroit can contact us if the benches need maintenance, or if the books need to be replenished,” says Kyle. “We’ll provide the maintenance of both the benches and the books. We want people to take the books on the busses with them to read, but we also want the community to donate books back to the benches.” Check out our new bench compliments of Sit On It Detroit. It’s a great place to sit and read!