DETROIT (CBS Detroit) – The days may be numbered for the Detroit Mower Gang — but for good reasons.
Recently, a number of the parks the volunteer group regularly visited had already been mowed, reportedly by municipal employees.
Tom Nardone started the group in 2010 to mow parks in the city of Detroit, many of which have fallen victim to budget cut backs.
Any way you look at it — this is progress in the upkeep of city spaces.
“I always said I hope someday that the city puts us out of business — not that we’re really in business because we’re volunteers — but I just said it would be nice if someday we didn’t have to do this and we could all sit around and have a beer,” Nardone told WWJ Newsradio 950’s Zahra Huber. “And maybe we’re getting close.”
Nardone, in part, credits the city’s new mayor, Mike Duggan, for his efforts to make sure the parks are clean and maintained.
“I’ve looked at the budget over the budge that last few years, the city’s budget, and I think it has a lot to do with the state taking over Belle Isle. (That) has freed up a lot of money to go back into the city parks,” Nardone said. “And I think that the Duggan administration is doing a great job of mobilizing those funds and those people and getting them out there mowing.”
Brad Dick, Director of Detroit’s General Services said that, in the last several years, the funding just wasn’t there; but now that Duggan is in office, he’s made the money available.
“We were able to hire about 250 ground maintenance workers this year, seasonal workers, that work about six months; and compared to last year we only had about 60,” Dick said. “And with that, having those extra team members, we were able to open all the closed parks.”
Dick said the mayor also helped with the Adopt-A-Park program, which enrolled 72 adoptees.
You can follow the Detroit Mower Gang and find ways to help their efforts on their Facebook page.