Volunteers mowing vacant lots ask for help

Eddie Shelton and Ronda Thomas have been battling dumpers and overgrown grass in their neighborhood for years.

- It's not an easy job.

But for Eddie Shelton, it's worth his sweat and countless hours of unpaid labor to keep his Wilfred Street safe.

He says the city helps out, but it's not enough.

"This is what they do," Shelton said. "They cut half the grass and leave it. If I can take a lawn mower and go all the way to the back, then they can do the same thing."

Shelton says he has been mowing the yards of vacant lots and abandoned homes for years.

But the work takes time and some of the grass is so high it covers sidewalks.

His neighbor Ronda Thomas is also helping out.

"Sometimes I weed-whack it and we pick the trash up and try to make it look like a neighborhood," she said.

As the start of the school year comes closer theses residents say they need help to maintain the grass so kids walking to and from school are not attacked by what's lurking in the tall grass and weeds.

"Dogs, pit bulls, they run around like they own the place," Shelton said.

As Eddie and other concerned citizens continue to cut grass and clean up this neighborhood, they say their efforts suffer a setback when people use these vacant lots as a dumping site.

"I have to catch people (when) they dump garbage here," Shelton said.

Officials say as part of the city's annual program to cut its 100,000 vacant lots twice each year. Contractors came through this neighborhood in June and conducted the first cut.

They are scheduled to be back for the second cut in the next few weeks. Officials say they will also have its Department of Neighborhoods district manager reach out to the homeowners to address their other concerns about blight in their neighborhood.

But Sheridan and Thomas say they just need help to keep their community safe and if it comes from the city or a Good Samaritan, they'll take it.

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