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Cities Working to Curb Lawn Neglect

BLOOMINGTON - A lawn can be a beautiful addition to a home, but if it's not kept up, it can be an eyesore and trouble for neighborhoods.
BLOOMINGTON - A lawn can be a beautiful addition to a home, but if it's not kept up, it can be an eyesore and trouble for neighborhoods.

It's getting harder and harder for Julie Drake to ignore the house across the street.

"With no one taking care of it, it keeps getting worse and worse and more out of hand,” said Drake.

And she's not alone. In an average year, the city of Bloomington receives around 1,000 unkempt yard complaints.

"It's not fair to these people who maintain their properties to live next to an unkempt lot,” said interim city PACE director Frank Koehler.

Normal has already received 104 calls this year for grass that's too tall (eight inches). Many are on foreclosed homes.

"There's no one to mow the grass. Sometimes the neighbors will take it upon themselves to do that, but more often than not, we've got to get involved,” said Greg Troemel, director of inspections for Normal.

In Normal, residents get a week's notice to fix up their yards, unless there are extenuating circumstances.

"Contractors get backed up, you know, events happen in people's lives, and as long as they call us and let us know, we'll generally, you know, give them an extension and try to get it done,” said Troemel.

If Bloomington residents don't get their lawns mowed within a week of the notice, the city will cut it for them, but there could be hundreds of dollars in fees and tickets.

"We’re not a lawn mowing company. Are (the penalties) excessive? One could argue they are, but it's designed to be that way. You know, it's a lot cheaper if you mow it yourself or bring in a company to mow it,” said Koehler.

And Drake can't wait until her neighborhood loses its crowded feel.

“We'll be glad when someone comes and takes care of it because it is quite the blight to look out your window and see that every day,” said Drake.

In Normal last year, the town had to mow between 50-60 yards on homes that had been foreclosed or neglected

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