Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Volunteer Lawn Mowing Under The "Adopt Vacant Houses" Mandate...

Photo By John Hoff

As June rapidly approaches, and empty, foreclosed properties are becoming havens for tall grass prairie all over North Minneapolis, this might be a good time to bring up the city's "adopt vacant houses" mandate...

There was a flurry of publicity more than a year ago when public officials in Minneapolis announced in the media how it was PERFECTLY FINE to enter the yards of vacant houses for purposes of mowing grass and picking up litter. (They could have made a point of mentioning wet, rotten, dumped off phone books from companies like Dex, but oh well)

In fact, if you call the city's 311 service and get put on hold, often you will hear an announcement reminding callers to "adopt" vacant houses and, of course, call 911 if you see somebody breaking inside.

However, memory of the "adopt houses mandate" seems to have faded from public memory, judging by the litter I've been picking up and the overgrown weeds I'm seeing everywhere. On Memorial Day, I mowed two yards at vacant houses: one on Bryant Ave. N., one on Aldrich. I only mowed the front because, well, I just wanted to "spiff up" the houses, not deprive the city of an opportunity to slap charges on some absentee owner, probably a bank. (Especially when I'd already called in the houses to 311 personally)

I believe "spiffing up" these vacant properties is very important right now, as would-be home buyers are house shopping in this lovely summer season, gathering impressions of neighborhoods. I've set a reasonable volunteer standard at TWO FRONT LAWNS, which is less than an hour's work, and it's good exercise.

If somebody has taken charge of more than two lawns under the adopt houses mandate, and started mowing two lawns regularly, I'd love to hear about it.


Anonymous said...

I don't mow any lots, but I have mowed the boulevard of a couple in my neighborhood.

Me and another guy regularly walk the block to pick up garbage that has been carelessly tossed aside.

It is a good way to build community and feel like you are living in the solution.

Daniel said...

The mortgage lenders force neighbors out of their homes then we are asked to mow the lawn after foreclosure! Why are we rewarding bad banking? We must continually force these lenders to do the right thing. Even the simplest act of maintaining the lawn is something many of these bad lenders are not doing. Asking citizens to mow the lawns of foreclosed properties ads insult to our injury.


Johnny Northside said...

I only mowed the FRONT yard. Don't worry, the city will still get its pound of flesh from the mortgage lenders, and deservedly so.

Mowing only the FRONT yard is the perfect compromise between my need to spiff up the neighborhood--abandoned by irresponsible mortgage lenders--and the need of the city to get its pound of flesh from these mortgage lenders, which it will get from mowing the BACK yard.

Adding insult to injury you say? Perhaps. But I don't live in a world of insult and injury, I live in neighborhood filled with affordable housing opportunities, a neighborhood actually CHANGING FOR THE BETTER in the wake of the foreclosure crisis.

I refuse to seethe while mowing lawns. I LOVE MOWING LAWNS.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if there is anyway to organize a neighborhood mowing day? Just like we do for Clean Sweep. Image the sweet smell of lawn mowers cutting the negligected lawns in Hawthorne.

Anonymous said...

White and Nerdy.