Brody Rukenbrod, 13, and brother Jude Rukenbrod, 11, clean up the path along the bridge over the Rouge River on Beach Road Nov. 9.

Brody Rukenbrod, 13, and brother Jude Rukenbrod, 11, clean up the path along the bridge over the Rouge River on Beach Road Nov. 9.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Troy teen rallies neighborhood to clean up path across Beach Road bridge

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published November 12, 2019

 Judy Farnell stops by the sign that her grandson, Brody Rukenbrod, placed on the bridge.

Judy Farnell stops by the sign that her grandson, Brody Rukenbrod, placed on the bridge.

Photo by Terry Oparka

TROY — Brody Rukenbrod, 13, of Troy, noticed it was hard for his grandmother, Judy Farnell, to walk across a bridge along Beach Road, north of Wattles Road, from her home in order to visit them at their home.

The walkway along the roadway, along the bridge over the Rouge River, was overgrown and filled with leaves.

“Grandma struggled to walk to our house,” Rukenbrod said. “No one takes care of it,” he added, referring to the path.

In August, he and his father, Kirk Rukenbrod, and brother, Jude Rukenbrod, 11, set to work trimming some branches and getting rid of some of the debris. And on Nov. 9, Brody decided to branch out and rally the neighborhood to pitch in with the cleanup.

“A lot of people use it,” Brody said. “It’s not just for my grandma, but for everyone.”

He and his father put up flyers throughout the neighborhood and left a sign on the bridge.

“The weeds are just terrible,” Farnell said.

She and her husband, Terry, have lived in their home for close to 40 years. Brody’s mother, Karen, grew up in the home.

Farnell said that because the path was so overgrown, walkers were venturing out onto busy Beach Road, where cars drive 40-45 mph, instead.

Farnell said that she and her Boston terrier, Sophie, walk over the bridge often.

“A lot of people on Beach Road like to walk,” she said.

Kirk Rukenbrod said, via email, that the cleanup went well.

“We had a good turnout with a handful early, and then another group (showed) up — neighborhood kids to help finish filling 19 bags of leaves, branches and (a) small amount of bottles, cans and trash.

“There were a bunch of cars driving through that stopped to thank everyone. One guy brought over a box of candy bars, and another handed us money to help pay for bags and burgers.”

Cindy Stewart, the community affairs director for the city of Troy, said that those who plan to do neighborhood cleanup projects should call the Troy Department of Public Works at (248) 524-3392 before proceeding, and “let them know they are doing it.”

Rukenbrod said Brody plans to have another cleanup in April of 2020.