Vacant, Abandoned, Overgrown

If you live in an area prone to vacant and abandoned homes, chances are you’ve watched patches of urban jungle sprout up. This year, according to the Department of Codes and Regulations, it’s been even harder to keep up with maintaining those properties.

Right now, the department has a backlog of 1,700 properties in need of mowing.

This was discussed Tuesday night during a Louisville Vacant Property Campaign meeting. According to Jim Mims, director of Codes and Regulations, calls requesting grass cutting at overgrown properties is up by about 30 percent this year. He says warm, wet weather may be to blame. Secondly, code enforcement officers were encouraged to seek out problem areas.

“We asked them to aggressively identify properties early in system that had tall grass … so we could take care of them.”

Every day, Metro has three to four teams of four to five individuals head out to tackle mowing duties. A team of low-risk offenders also aids in the process. A group of Kentuckiana Works youth also pitched in this summer.

And this year, Mims says, the city is actually clipping at a better pace than in the past. Still, they have the capacity to mow about 1,000 yards in a month. And the demand far exceeds that.

He hopes Metro’s new citywide data system, LouieStat (short for Louisville Statistics), will help pinpoint ways the agency can be more efficient.

On Tuesday night, a resident from the Portland neighborhood asked if neighbors in need of work could act as subcontractors for the city, helping to mow overgrown lawns in their neighborhood. The answer? Nope. Why? City officials feel subcontracting isn’t cost effective and may infringe on the bargaining agreement the city holds with current mowers. Mims says it would be “unmanageable as much as we’d like to.”

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