Saginaw residents upset by state of vacant lots

Residents in one Saginaw neighborhood are saying they want something to be done about a vacant lot they call a forest.
Published: May. 23, 2023 at 4:53 PM EDT
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SAGINAW, Mich. (WNEM) - Residents in one Saginaw neighborhood are saying they want something to be done about a vacant lot they call a forest.

“This field hasn’t been cut in thirteen years,” said Saginaw resident Yvette Smith.

Smith, who did not want to go on camera, spoke about a vacant lot across the street from her home on South 20th Street in Saginaw.

She said she is tired of seeing how it looks every day.

“I’ve been trying to reach out to our city officials who laughed it off, it’s not important. When you open your front window, you shouldn’t have to look at a jungle. Anything and everything could be over there,” Smith said.

TV5 reached out to the city of Saginaw and was told that the city’s approach for grass on vacant lots is to cut from the curb to the sidewalk, then five feet, or just five feet in when there isn’t a sidewalk, and cut triangle shapes on street corners.

City officials said there are fewer staff than there was 21 years ago with many more vacant properties.

In 2002, there were 2,835 vacant lots. That number rose to 4,068 in 2012, and at last check 6,137 vacant lots could be found in Saginaw in 2022.

City officials said a fully staffed weed abatement crew would have six full-time and three part-time employees. Right now, they only have three full-time and two part-time employees. One full-timer is on medical leave.

According to city officials, the city of Saginaw will be posting a full-time job opening soon. There are currently openings for part-time work as well.

Officials also said the lot across the street from Smith’s house will be cut back five feet from the curb. The rest will be allowed to go back to nature. In other words, the city has no plans to cut all of the grass on the lot down.

“This is really ridiculous. Ridiculous. I’m telling you, it does not mean we’re going to stand by, we’re going to the city council. If this field continues to look like this, can you imagine?” asked Smith.

City officials said there are a lot of vacant properties crews haven’t touched yet but plan to get to during the year.

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