Plans in place to cut overgrown abandoned lots - WNEM TV 5

Plans in place to cut overgrown abandoned lots

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SAGINAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

The grass was several feet high and growing out of control on some abandoned properties, but now a permanent fix is in the works for one Mid-Michigan city.

"Doesn't look like a property to me. It looks like a jungle," said Irene Lopez, homeowner.

Lopez lives across the street from a lot that has been overgrown with grass that is 6 feet high in some places. As she watches her kids play outside and walk to the bus stop she worries for their safety as they pass the tall grass.

"I mean, they're walking to school. How safe is that? You don't know if someone is hiding in there or anything. It's not safe for the kids," Lopez said.

Some of the grass has been cut since TV5 first brought the issue to light, but a lot of work is yet to be done. The Saginaw County land bank said they can't afford it.

TV5 reached out to Saginaw County Sheriff Bill Federspiel with an idea - use county inmates to mow the land bank owned lawns.

"We have inmates who can do the job," Federspiel said.

It turns out, this was an idea Federspiel has had for awhile. On Wednesday he called the county treasurer Tim Novak to put the plan into motion.

"We've already got the truck, a flatbed trailer that was donated that we use for carcass patrol. We already go out once a week for dead carcass patrol. It wouldn't be much more for us to have this crew of four inmates go out supervised to cut grass," Federspiel said.

Novak said there's a lot of overgrown lots and not enough money to cut them as much as they need.

"It would be a big piece and both the sheriff and I agree that it's something we should work out and we owe it to the community to try another tool," Novak said.

As for Lopez, she said she doesn't care how the job gets done, just that it gets done.

"They charge the taxes, so why not cut the grass and make it look presentable," Lopez said.

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