Neighbors say overgrown grass in Hyde Park can be hazardous to residents

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A woman who saw our story from Wednesday about tall grass at a vacant South Memphis home reached out about even taller grass next to her own home.

She thinks the unkempt yard is not only an eyesore but also a danger to the community.

The woman lives next to two vacant houses on Curry Avenue in Hyde Park. One house is surrounded by trash and garbage; the other one has grass over 5-foot tall.

People living in the neighborhood said they had nowhere else to turn after complaining to the city about this house.

"That's terrible, and I'm paying my tax money to keep the property up," neighbor Erie Brown said.

Brown has lived in her home for 69 years, which is long enough to see her neighbors move out of the vacant home 20 years ago.

She said the grass didn't start becoming a big problem until about two or three months ago.

"The City stopped cutting the grass, or someone stopped cutting the grass," she said. "The grass is up to the top of the house now."

Brown thinks the property is a hazard. She said her neighbor who lives next to the eyesore, can't see when she backs out of her driveway.

"She called 311, and they told her could she cut it herself," Brown said. "And she said no. She has a problem cutting her own grass."

After WREG called the City of Memphis on Thursday morning, landscapers made it to the property almost immediately.

The City said they received Brown and her neighbors' complaints in June and planned to cut it this month. They said they had contractors cut the grass in April, so this is their second visit.

By the looks of the newly cut grass, Brown finally has some relief, but not enough.

She would prefer the house to be gone completely.

"I think it should be torn down because it's dangerous," Brown said. "It's real dangerous to live and not know what may come out of there."

We asked the City if this were to happen again, would they have to send another contractor out. The city said they only visit abandoned private property twice, so whoever owns the house will be responsible.

The City also sent the following statement about overgrowth violations.

For all overgrowth violations, each property owner will receive a certified Notice of Violation allowing them (7) days to correct.  The Notice of Violation is sent one time and covers the entire calendar year. Only after non-compliance by the owner, vendors are assigned the lot to cut and are given 5 days to address.  Invoices are mailed to the property owners for services rendered by the City for reimbursements. Liens are placed on the properties. Collections efforts of the lien are the same as for base property tax collections.

Citizens are encouraged to help fight blight by utilizing the Memphis Tool Bank.  The Mobile Tool Bank is designed to keep Memphis, a clean and litter-free city by loaning tools such as rakes, shovels, brooms and trash bags to groups holding cleanups. By utilizing these resources, organizations eliminate the expense of purchasing tools for their neighborhood clean ups. This is another way that Memphis City Beautiful continues to work to increase community responsibility and involvement in beautification and environmental efforts in their community. The Tool Bank is reserved for residents seeking to improve a minimum on 10 residential parcels on the same block within City of Memphis limits.  Citizens may contact Memphis City Beautiful at (901) 522-1135 or their website http://memphiscitybeautiful.org/.

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