The city of Erie is fighting blight one blade of grass at a time and it’s asking residents for help.
Mowing grass is like shaving. As soon as you cut it, it comes right back. And, the city of Erie is working to tackle tall grass, asking people to chip in. The city has thousands of vacant or abandoned properties and unkempt lawns are becoming a nuisance for neighbors.
Andy Zimmerman, Code Enforcement Manager, says, “We’re inundated with calls about high grass.”
City ordinance mandates that grass and weeds grow no higher than 10 inches. Landlords can be cited and the city’s Parks and Recreation Department can take on the task. “Parks is shorthanded,” Zimmerman says, “So, it’s going to be a rough summer on grass. Any help that we can get–neighbors, if they’ve got a few minutes and they can mow that front lawn for us, that would be greatly appreciated.”
Zimmerman is asking that people help mow lawns of vacant houses or people that might be unable to do so.
Erie Landlord Rob Orelski says, “Potentially, that would leave a little bit of money for the city to use in other areas that need to be used in”.
Erie Resident Irvin Ocasio says, “If other people do other people’s property. Then, they’ll get lazy and they won’t want to cut their own grass anymore or pay to have someone cut their grass.”
Zimmerman asks that residents, “Just pay attention to your neighborhood on what’s going on and what the condition of it is. We will get there, but it’s going to be while.”
Zimmerman says in some cases, the tenants that contribute to blight. He says the ‘Quality of Life’ ticketing program which is currently being reviewed by the administration could make it ticketing blight as simple as issuing a parking ticket.