TCTI: Too Crazy To Ignore
Dave Ross
AP: 767612f1-a03b-40fa-bada-5a350956f677
Mower gang member Tom Nardone, of Birmingham, drives a riding mower at Duweke Park in Detroit on Wednesday May 1, 2013. The Mower Gang, a group of volunteer lawn mower riders, adopt parks beginning in the spring and keep them free of high-grass throughout the summer. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

You think the federal budget has problems!

The official report is out - Detroit is going to have to make even bigger budget cuts. The city's emergency budget manager, Kevyn Orr, spelled out to WWJ Radio just how bad things are.

"Our city budget is a million dollars, our debt is in excess of $15 million. If the city stopped doing everything it's doing right now for the next 15 years - half a generation - we wouldn't be able to pay off our debt."

But in the meantime, some citizens have decided not to wait that long. And that fiscal crisis or not, life has to go on:

"I'm Tom from the Mower Gang, we're a volunteer group that mows the abandoned parks and playgrounds of Detroit."

Tom Nardone is the owner of an Internet novelty business - who for two years has been operating the Mower Gang.

"A bunch of schlubs with old lawn mowers," as he described it. "It's fun."

Through word-of-mouth and Facebook, the group has grown to more than 20 regulars who take care of eight or nine parks where the weeds were too high for children to play.

"As soon as the swings are mowed, the kids come out to swing on them. That's something."

They're branching out to create a large public garden, and give the food to people who need it.

If Detroit could find maybe a thousand people like him - it could be even deeper in debt, and it wouldn't matter.

Dave Ross, KIRO Radio Morning News Anchor
Dave Ross hosts the Morning News on KIRO Radio weekdays from 5-9 a.m. Dave has won the national Edward R. Murrow Award for writing five times since he started at KIRO Radio in 1978.
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