Tall grass getting city leaders' attention

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - Grass and weeds in front of foreclosed or abandoned homes is getting so high, city officials need to call in more resources.

This is the time of year when the high grass becomes a big problem in the city, but it might be worse than ever this year thanks to Mother Nature and a well known city scandal.

The Department of Public Service says a mild winter, warm early spring, and early rains have made the grass and weeds start growing two months earlier than normal. They have the manpower, but not the equipment to keep up.

"And most of the mowers are probably out the first week of April, depending on the rainy season. So again I think this is more of a lack of planning, more than anything," says city councilman Adam Martinez, adding he is disappointed the department didn't get ahead of the problem.

Martinez and the rest of council had to act; approving $49,000 from a nuisance abatement trust fund to buy a couple dozen more push mowers and riding mowers. Also approved was $253,000 dollars from a contingency fund to buy larger mowers and the trucks and trailers to haul the new gear.

"There are rodent issues, pest control, stuff like that so it's important and imperative that we get this taken care of immediately," Martinez explained.

Public Service Director Ed Moore admits another reason for the equipment shortage is the scandal involving the Department of Neighborhoods. Equipment was mismanaged, even lost in some cases. Moore says they're moving on from that "tangled mess:"

"We're trying to solicit help from private contractors as well. If contractors are out there that need some additional work, please contact us so we can get you in there and pay you to help us cut lots."

The new mowers may be available within a week or two, but crews will start on Monday, spending a whole week in districts 1 and 4 trying to catch up. After, they will move on to districts 3 and 6, followed by 2 and 5.

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