DETROIT (WWJ) – It’s called the Mowtown Mowdown and the plan for this volunteer group is to cut the grass at about 10 abandoned playgrounds in Detroit within 24 hours.

They began at O’Shea Playground off of Greenfield and I-96 where mowing gang leader Tom Nardone of Birmingham said this is the third year for the Detroit Mower Gang.

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Tom Nardone.

Tom Nardone.

“We do it because kids need a place to play,” he said. “You know, the playground is here, all the equipment is here and ready to use – all someone needs to do is mow the grass.”

Those using riding mowers are competing for a WWE type championship belt – and Nardone said they hear ‘thank yous’ from the neighbors and kids.

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It’s the first mowing marathon for the Detroit Mower Gang. Eric Burson, of Grosse Pointe, says their efforts are needed now more than ever in the debt-ridden city.

“I think it’s really important that the kids and the families in Detroit have a nice place to go and play – there are a couple of people who came back and said ‘I played little league on these fields,'” said Burson.

Mitchell Logan says he likes helping out his cash-strapped city.

“Everybody that lives here needs to pitch-in and do what’s necessary to make this city great again,” added Logan.

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Volunteers hope to complete the Modown at the playgrounds by Sunday morning.