ELKHART – Elkhart is trying to keep ahead of the game when it comes to problems with overgrown lawns at abandoned properties.
It has a crew out doing nothing but mowing lawns at homes that are abandoned or unattended.
Dry weather earlier this summer was easy on the crew, but now that it's rained again, the mowing crew is having a hard time keeping up.
In certain areas, it’s not too hard to find properties, many vacant or abandoned, where the grass is way too high.
The result of little or no care and recent rains is an eyesore in many neighborhoods.
“I walk all around Elkhart, I mean that’s my only transportation, so I see a lot of houses that the grass isn’t mowed and the property is obviously not kept up to standard,” said Howard Savage.
In some cases, it could be homeowners or landlords who let it get to this point or abandoned properties where owners choose to leave it that way.
“We get complaints daily regarding properties that need to be mowed,” Code Enforcement Officer Janet Bayes said. “The first step for the city – write a ticket for failure to keep the property up. We are writing more tickets for those who don’t mow or the grass is over 8 inches. If we issue a ticket, that’s probably going to be a $100 ticket.”
Pending a time limit to get the property mowed – after giving a warning, the city will step in to cut the grass and charge $150 to do that.
For now, the city is trying to keep up with the problem as best it can, but at times, it becomes a losing battle, as more cases crop up and resources are limited to deal with it.
“I have some orders that may be waiting like three weeks to get done, but the crew will eventually get there,” said Bayes.