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Businesses Step Up To Help Keep Detroit Parks Open

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(credit: Office of Mayor Dave Bing)

(credit: Office of Mayor Dave Bing)

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DETROIT (WWJ/AP) – Donations from businesses and federal grants will allow Detroit to keep open 50 public parks and keep recreation programs running.

The parks were slated for closure this year due to a lack of funds.

Mayor Dave Bing announced Wednesday that the donations include $5 million over five years from auto industry supplier Lear Corp.

Other donors include General Motors Co., Ford Motor Co., Marathon Petroleum, the Detroit International Bridge Company, Kellogg Foundation and the Belle Isle Conservancy Women’s Committee.

Several businesses, community groups and residents also have adopted parks in order to keep them open.

A total of $14 million has been pledged.

“We applaud the mayor for what he’s doing,” said Bridge Company President Dan Stamper. “We think he’s got the passion to make this happen and enough passion to convince us to put some money into it — and we’re glad to be here.”

Bing said thousands of volunteers will be helping to maintain the parks. “As I’ve seen over and over — working together, we can

And this also means jobs, according to Brad Dick, director of the city’s General Services Department.

“We just got approval to reopen here a couple of weeks ago. Our biggest challenge is getting some people hired right now to do the work,” Dick said. “So we’re putting a big effort out now — our HR department is — to hire.

“We’ve been contacting local community groups and doing email blasts. We’ve got resumes in the pipeline and we’re trying to get people qualified so we can start cutting grass May 1st,” he said.

Dick said that some of these jobs may offer full-time employment. Those interested in applying can stop by the Coleman A. Young Municipal Center.

The parks donations follow a pledge of $8 million from businesses and foundations for 23 EMS units and 100 police cars.

Detroit’s finances are under control of a state-appointed emergency manager. The city’s budget deficit is about $327 million.

More than 200 city parks were closed between 2008 and 2009.

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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