Mayor Parker Encourages Neighborhood Groups Into Lawn Mowing Business

MAYOR PARKER ENCOURAGES NEIGHBORHOOD GROUPS INTO LAWN MOWING BUSINESS It’s worked for parents — why not the city? A new program will pay civic groups and nonprofit organizations $75 a pop to keep up overgrown lots abandoned by property owners in their neighborhoods. Mayor Parker announced the so-called Mow-Down Initiative yesterday in the Third Ward. How’s it gonna work? First, the city will come in with tractors and run over the big stuff, and then residents will take over, KUHF reports: “[Mayor Parker] says 100 lots around Houston will be included in the program to start, and she expects the city will save thousands of dollars in maintenance costs by engaging civic groups instead of hiring contractors.” Another nonprofit, Keep Houston Beautiful, says it will provide lawnmowers, trimmers, and other equipment for the work, free of charge. [KUHF] Photo of lot in East End: Allyn West

25 Comment

  • A trimmed bush is a happy bush.

  • Small things like this really make me appreciate Mayor Parker…she is a true civic leader and knows how to bring a community together!

  • This is a great initiative, and I hope the $75 is collected from negligent property owners.

  • Folks doing the work are non-professionals and some will hurt themselves with powered equipment. How is liability handled? Does everyone sign a waiver, and has the document been vetted by the city legal department? Has the city put aside funds to pay judgements that will inevitability be handed down anyway, waivers be damned? Details!!!!

  • This is only a good idea if the fees paid out are tacked on to the negligent property owners tax bill. Let’s not be like Washington DC and subsidize bad behavior.

  • Oh my god, who cares about liability. I am so sick of liability and litigiousness ruining everything good. Let this good thing happen.

    And yes, add it onto the owners’ tax bills.

  • Ian, we do have to care about liability because if City pays out lawsuits (frivolous or not) it comes out of OUR pocket.

  • This sounds fantastic.

    @Gisgo, volunteer if you want all of those details, Swamplot is reporting on the announcement and the initiative no reason for them to include all of that.

  • Just as beautiful as you are
    It’s so pitiful what you are

  • A gallon of gasoline and a match yield the same results, and for alot less money…Added bonus, free training for HFD!!!

  • Knowing the City of Houston and its legal department, I’m willing to bet my lunch money that the potential liability details have already been very well sorted out, and that the worries of those of you who keep vomiting out the previous decade’s unjustified fear talking point of “frivolous lawsuits” are unjustified. Not that it will stop you…

  • ack…

    “are still unjustified…”

  • Thank You Mayor Parker for this program! And thank you Councilwoman Wanda Adams, too.
    The nice thing about this program is that it let’s smaller, poorer neighborhoods do what the big rich neighborhoods already do through their HOAs. Namely – mow overgrown lots when the owners’ won’t. (I agree with the others who want the $75 mowing fees to be charged back to the owners – that’s how the big HOAs do it).
    By the way, I don’t know why they should worry about liability here, when the City of Houston and Keep Houston Beautiful already donate equipment and mulch to neighborhood beautification efforts. I’ve yet to see a volunteer sue after getting hurt on one of those projects.

  • I think this is a fantastic idea. I am going to have to read the initiative for myself, but hopefully neighbors will be able to step in and reign in problem areas without fear of trespassing. There are a couple of neglected lots in the Heights that I can think of off the top of my head…

  • Awesome, where do I sign up? Totally agree that the negligent property owners should be fined heavily, it makes no sense for COH to pay 75 dollar stipend to save money for these dead beat property owners, otherwise, great idea Ms. Mayor.

  • Great program. Here is another idea: many lots get overgrown not because they are abandoned, but because they have been sold and are awaiting permits/financing/platting, etc. to begin construction. Developers do not want to pay to clip the grass when they are just going to rip everything out eventually. A lot can sit for months while waiting for construction to begin and get completely overgrown (yes, Yale St. Market site, I am talking about you). Simple solution: if the lot gets tagged for high grass, all permit applications stop dead in their tracks until the lot is mowed. You’re welcome, Houston.

  • I think this program is a great idea but I do laugh when the government says they will ‘save’ money. They dont save anything, they just spend it on something else.

  • So what’s to stop some civic group from claiming they mowed my property when I really mowed it? Sounds like a great way to funnel public funds to “friendly” community organizers.

  • Yeah, at $75 per lot that amounts to literally dozens of dollars being laundered to ACORN, Nash. Great call.

  • @ Old School:
    I like your idea. It also gave me an odd vision of Ashby Highrise opposers in ninja suits sneaking around in the middle of the night, planting tall grass.

  • Old School: Or make the process faster. Amazing that the city can take so long to approve a permit that your grass can grow out of control while waiting — then the city can fine you for it.
    I can’t be the only one to find the irony and humor here…

  • Agreed, Cody, if the city takes that long to approve permits, they’re the problem.

  • What about mowing your grass whether or not you are waiting for permits? Problem solved!

  • Buy a herd of goats. Put goats on overgrown lots. Seriously.

  • If someone gets hurt, they should the landowner, not the City.