Code enforcement works with residents to clean up vacant lots

Code Enforcement is taking a new approach to keeping some problem properties pristine.

At a recent LaSalle Park Neighborhood Association meeting, several residents complained about vacant lots that have been overgrown and unsafe for months. They wanted code to clean them up.

But, many of the properties required a lot of work. So, code’s chief inspector made residents a deal – he’d clean the lots up if residents agreed to maintain them.

A few weeks ago, code tackled a lot in the 200 block of South Dundee.

Residents say it was so overgrown with weeds and grass, they were worried about safety.

“It probably was about 12, 14 feet high,” said Charlotte Bridges, who lives just across the street. “And, you couldn’t see who was over here.”

Now, the area is cleared of the nuisance plants. And, people living in the four surrounding houses say they’re ready to hold up their end of the deal.

“We’re going to put some grass seeds out and we’re going to maintain it,” said Victoria Cotton. “We’re going to keep it cut as though it was our own yard.”

Without the eyesore, neighbors are hopeful their property values may go back up. And, they’re looking forward to having a better view when they look out their windows.

“I feel safe now,” said Rachelle Burton. “And, I can look out and it looks nice.”

Code also did a major overhaul of a vacant lot in the 100 block of South Meade Street. It was causing problems for several neighbors, but especially the elderly woman who lives next door.

“I saw them come out and do my neighbor’s lot and they did a beautiful job,” said Paula Johnson, who lives down the street.

Johnson says code has been out to clean several lots on her block and she’s thankful. But, she’s worried asking residents to keep up land they don’t own might not work.

“In a way, it’s good and, in a way, it’s a lot to expect from someone,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to do it myself.”

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