Six Months Living With Less

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The recession has hit many cities hard, especially Colorado Springs. Earlier this year, officials had to find 30 million dollars in cost savings. Streetlights went dark, bus service was scaled back, and funding for city parks was nearly wiped out. The city manager at the time was Penny Culbreth-Graft. She summed up the problem by saying:

"We have a significant long-term financial issue that is basically a product of our desire to keep services going without a revenue stream to pay for those services."

That revenue stream is taxes. For the most part, people in the Springs like to keep taxes low. Some residents have responded to the cuts by doing themselves what government used to do for them. Shelly Carbanara Ramos adopted two city parks, then organized a six person work crew.

"I have volunteers and myself who empty the trash, pick up the garbage and the dog waste, look for maintenance things that we can’t keep care like playground problems and graffiti. We’ve weeded. We’ve edged...just basic maintenance."

We talk with reporter J. Adrian Stanley. She’s been covering the cuts for the Colorado Springs Independent. And she says in addition to cleaning up parks, some residents have adopted streetlights.