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Mowing Our Neighborhood Vacant Lot

Friends,

MPF switched gears for a little bit today and addressed a vacant lot issue in the neighborhood.  

A block from the Pillsbury front gate at the corner of 16th St. and Matheny St. is a vacant lot.  The deed is held by the County Trustee.  The City of Springfield thankfully removed the dilapidated vacant house that stood there just two years ago. The vacant lot has not been mowed since last year.

Today we mowed.  The stop sign on the corner was obscured by the weeds and the sidewalk was not accessible. We witnessed a neighbor walking in the street on his regular morning walk because the sidewalk was overgrown with weeds.  Well…tomorrow he can use the sidewalk!

The thinking here is simple…see a problem, fix a problem.  It’s the little things that add up to a better quality of life.

It's the little things that add up to a better quality of life.
The vacant lot has not been mowed since last year.
A block from the Pillsbury front gate at the corner of 16th St. and Matheny St. is a vacant lot.
The City of Springfield thankfully removed the dilapidated vacant house that stood there just two years ago.

UPDATE:

Thanks for the encouragement and questions related to yesterday’s lot mowing email.  Here is a bit of follow-up detail for those who have asked:

When reviewing the ownership of 1537 Matheny Ave. (Parcel # 14-26.0-151-020) we find that a woman named Victoria McCall owned the property and last paid taxes in 2015.  Until today it was not known what happened to her.  This morning a long-time neighbor on the block told me that “Vicky and her husband moved to Texas several years ago.  He died a short time later.  Vicky now lives in West Virginia.”  It is fair to say that they simply walked away from the property and started anew in Texas. 

Well…that explains why the property was eventually (over an 8-year period) taken for back taxes and the deed is now held by the County Trustee.  Individual property rights and the legality surrounding it move slowly in situations like this one.  Unfortunately, it happens all too often in distressed neighborhoods and creates a negative spiral. 

Long-term solutions are hard to find in these situations.  The short-term solution this week was mowing. 

Thanks again for the encouragement and great questions.

Chris Richmond
pillsburyproject.org