Youngstown council members question grass-cutting plan

High grass cutting in Youngstown, Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN, OH (WKBN) – Youngstown city officials believe they will still be able to establish a new program to tackle grass cutting in abandoned lots, despite heated words Wednesday night from some members of city council.

Youngstown Mayor John McNally and his administration are looking to contract with the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. to handle the grass cutting work, which would free up street department workers for other jobs.

If awarded the contract, YNDC would hire local teenagers through either the Americorps program or the Mahoning Columbiana Training Association to routinely cut lawns of all unmaintained lots throughout the city, instead of waiting for complaints from residents.

During a finance committee meeting Wednesday night, Councilwoman Janet Tarpley questioned the current method used for cutting lots, claiming grass in predominately African-American neighborhoods was not cut as often as those areas with higher percentages of white people.  Councilwoman Annie Gillam had similar concerns.

YNDC directors say they don’t know what prompted the criticism, insisting their services will be fairly and evenly distributed throughout the city.

Youngstown City Council will hold a special meeting Tuesday to discuss the topic.

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