BORN WITH THE RIGHT NAME
President “Pres” Collins was born on September 7, 1892 in Hurtsboro, Alabama. His family made the move to Detroit around 1918 where he furthered his education and became an outspoken voice for his eastside neighborhood.
Talbot Street was the longtime home of Pres and Alice Collins and their 9 children. He served as a precinct delegate to state political conventions and was active in his church. When old timers from the neighborhood passed away, he would solicit donations from folks in the area on behalf of the grieving family.
TAKING ON CITY HALL
Collins organized the Buffalo-Mound-Talbot-Caniff Block Club and served as its president. When Tri-City Sanitation, Inc. attempted to convince the city of Detroit to re-zone property in his neighborhood, Pres took action. With the support of City Councilwoman MaryAnn Mahaffey, Collins and his group were successful defeating the proposed industrialization. Eventually, the site was turned into the Mound – Alpena playlot to benefit neighborhood kids.
Collins retired from the Skilled Trades division of Ford Motor in 1959. He died on February 25, 1980. The Mound – Alpena playlot was renamed Pres Collins Playground on January 27, 1982. Today, it is a large grassy area with older basketball courts. This playground lacks fencing and signage but when it gets mowed, it’s a lovely greenspace. The surrounding neighborhood has undergone positive redevelopment with newer built townhouses across from the park.