Department of Neighborhoods
Mayor Parker's Mow-Down Program Targets Overgrown Abandoned Lots
Pilot program encourages civic groups to maintain abandoned lots in their neighborhoods
October 21, 2013 -- Houston Mayor Annise Parker announced the City's new Mow-Down Program today, created to address the problem of overgrown abandoned lots in Houston neighborhoods. Sponsored by the Department of Neighborhoods (DON) in partnership with Keep Houston Beautiful (KHB), the pilot program aims to encourage civic groups and nonprofit organizations to make a commitment to maintain abandoned properties in their own neighborhoods.
The mayor made the announcement at a press conference held at the program's first targeted site, an abandoned lot at 3024 Holman in Third Ward. Joining the mayor were City Council District D Member Wanda Adams, Greater Third Ward Super Neighborhood spokesman Robert Gilmore, Keep Houston Beautiful director Robin Blut, the Blackshear Elementary School band and pep squad, community supporters and neighborhood residents.
"By working together to mow and maintain abandoned lots in their own neighborhoods, residents can not only rid of these eyesores that bring down property values but also, and more importantly, help resolve public safety concerns often associated with overgrown lots," said Mayor Parker. "This is a positive action that citizens can take, working as a team to improve the community ambience, create unity and instill neighborhood pride. It's a simple and doable solution to the problem of dangerous weeded lots."
Participating community groups will be paid a modest fee of $75 for the mowing of City-approved abandoned lots. The first mowing is carried out by City crews. Thereafter, the community groups take over the maintenance of the lot, with their work verified and approved in advance by the City. KHB will provide participating groups with access to tools, equipment and supplies for the projects.
City-approved eligible abandoned properties are located throughout the City. Participating organizations will be assigned to approved properties of their choice in their neighborhoods. Any civic association or non-profit organization interested in maintaining City-approved abandoned properties is eligible to participate in the program.