You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.

X

Welcome to SpringfieldNewsSun.com

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Springfield behind on mowing vacant lots


The city of Springfield spends approximately $88,000 per year to enforce tall grass complaints and mow abandoned lots, but the program is behind this summer due to recent rainy weather.

The city has mowed approximately 700 properties this year, including 466 tall grass violation orders. The remainder are abandoned or vacant lots, according to Stephen Thompson, the city’s code enforcement manager.

Last year, the city’s code enforcement department initiated approximately 2,911 tall grass cases from complaints. Through Friday, they’ve initiated approximately 1,877 cases through complaints.

The city hires contractors each year to mow approximately 360 abandoned lots about three to four times per year in Springfield, as well as many vacant lots and properties with weed complaints.

“We’ll stay a month behind until the weather starts to dry,” said Shannon Meadows, the city’s community development director. “We can’t control the rain.”

It’s a period of the summer where the tall weeds are more noticeable, Meadows said. The city typically catches up in July when there is less rain, Meadows said.

“We’re just chasing our tail (right now),” Meadows said.

Last year, the city mowed approximately 3,100 properties, including both abandoned lots and tall grass complaints.

The money comes from the city’s Community Development Block Grant fund. They do not receive state funding, despite many of the properties having been forfeited to the state.

“$88,000 isn’t enough, but it’s what we have,” Meadows said.

Springfield resident Janet Daniels has been trying to get the city to mow the lot across the street from her home at 624 Amelia St. for several weeks. She called the city’s code enforcement officers in early May about the vacant lot, and they told her contractors were four weeks behind.

As of last week, the lot still hadn’t been mowed, she said.

“It’s just a big mess and there’s nothing that looks worse than tall grass,” Daniels said.

The abandoned lots which do not have an owner or have been forfeited to the state are mowed once every four to six weeks, three to four times per year, Meadows estimated.

A tall grass violation can take up to three and a half weeks to mow because the owner must be notified, Meadows said. After an owner is notified once during a season, the city can continue to mow the grass on schedule. However, during that process, the weeds continue to grow, Meadows said.

The city encourages property owners with unmowed lots near their home to report them to code enforcement at 937-324-7385.

The property on Amelia Street has been vacant for about five years, Daniels said, and the home was recently demolished. Daniels and her husband used to mow the property, but are no longer able to mow it.

“I see lots like this everywhere,” Daniels said. “When they tell me they don’t have the money, I don’t believe it. I believe you can take money from somewhere and make your city look better.”



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in News

Shots fired near U.S. Capitol after woman flees traffic stop, police say
Shots fired near U.S. Capitol after woman flees traffic stop, police say

Officers opened fire on a woman on U.S. Capitol grounds Wednesday morning after she nearly ran over multiple U.S. Capitol Police officers while fleeing from a traffic stop, authorities said. No injuries were reported. Officers spotted a woman driving erratically around 9 a.m. on Independence Avenue and attempted to stop her car, Capitol police spokeswoman...
What is a baby box and why are some states giving them to new parents?
What is a baby box and why are some states giving them to new parents?

This week, Alabama will join two other U.S. states — Ohio and New Jersey — in launching a program that offers free baby boxes to families of newborns in the state. Here’s what you should know about the boxes, their origin and why states are adopting the program: The idea originates from 1930s Finland, when nearly one out...
SNEAK PEEK: Target to redesign stores in major ways
SNEAK PEEK: Target to redesign stores in major ways

Target Corp. has released the company’s “most ambitious” store redesign, with plans to invest billions of dollars in the next three years at existing stores. The retailer said it would open its first “reimagined” store in the Houston, Tex. suburb of Richmond. The redesign could hit 600 stores by 2019, according to Brian...
Clark County Municipal Court cases
Clark County Municipal Court cases

CASES CALLED MONDAY INCLUDED: Nathaniel D. Compston, 30, address unknown, violation of temporary protection order, dismissed - prosecutor request. Ashley N. Cromlish, 30, of 320 S. Western Ave., assault, guilty, 30 days jail with 25 days suspended, five days credit for time served. Stacy A. Draper, 44, of 1942 Primm Dr., Apt. D, theft, guilty, five...
Dog found starved, dehydrated in abandoned trailer
Dog found starved, dehydrated in abandoned trailer

A Washington County, Pennsylvania, shelter is caring for a dog found abandoned in a trailer.  According to a post on the Washington Area Humane Society Facebook page, the dog was rescued from a trailer in Coal Center. They’re calling her Faith. She’s a lab/terrier mix and weighs just 20 pounds. She was very thin and dehydrated...
More Stories