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Saving Detroit from the Bottom Up: New Gang in Town

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Meryl Ann Butler       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   15 comments

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The Detroit Mower Gang
The Detroit Mower Gang
(Image by The Detroit Mower Gang)
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Detroit is the site of economic crisis, the first major US city to file for bankruptcy. Empty houses, vacant schools, abandoned parks with overgrown play equipment and no place for kids. It's bleak. It's tragic.

Detroit has gone from a population of 2.1 Million middle-class residents to 800,000 not-so-middle class residents. There isn't enough money for the city to include park mowing in the budget in some neighborhoods.

In response, Tom Nardone started a new gang. The Detroit Mower Gang. They kick grass.

The gang is "putting the 'neighbor' back into 'neighborhood.'" Every other Wednesday the Mower Gang gets together to mow the abandoned playgrounds of Detroit. Typically 6-12 volunteers show up with 4-8 lawn tractors and with everything from weed whips to trash bags.

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"We are a crafty crew that refuses to let small budgets and bureaucracy stand in the way of a great playground."

The Detroit Mower Gang.

One gang can't fix everything about Detroit, but they have jumped in to fix what they can, creating more accessibility and beauty in their city.

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The group explains, "The Detroit Mower Gang is a bunch of do-gooders that refuses to let parkland go to waste. Anyone is welcome in the gang, most members are people that dislike seeing neighborhoods in decay and feel bad for kids that have no place to play. Members also seem to enjoy gasoline powered equipment, fixing it, running it, and mowing grass. If you own a lawn tractor, a weed whacker, or anything like that, you will definitely enjoy being in the mower gang and we'd enjoy having you as a member. The Detroit Mower Gang is open to anyone. All you have to do is show up to any of our events. If you can, bring some type of grass annihilation machine with you."

Button from the Peace Resource Project.
Button from the Peace Resource Project.
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They got significant help from Craftsman, which donated $18,000 worth of equipment including five riding mowers, trimmers and hedgers. Craftsman is also the sponsor of the gang's annual kickoff event, the Motown Mowdown. On May 21, 100 volunteers spent 12 hours mowing and cleaning park land around Detroit.

Craftsman invites other initiatives: "If you know of a community, place or group that needs help, Craftsman wants to know." They created the inspiring video below and has offered a good example of corporate public assistance.

This is one more hopeful vision of the People's Revolution, one step at a time, from the bottom up. Yes, we can!

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Meryl Ann Butler is an artist, author, educator and OpedNews Managing Editor who has been actively engaged in utilizing the arts as stepping-stones toward joy-filled wellbeing since she was a hippie. She began writing for OpEdNews in Feb, 2004. She became a Senior Editor in August 2012 and Managing Editor in January, (more...)
 

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