The grass and weeds are growing fast in Prospect Heights, and it's becoming almost too much for the city's public works crew to handle.
The city council decided this week to resolve the issue without asking residents to mow public grass. Instead, the city will hire seasonal help to get the grass cut faster.
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This includes property owned by the state of Illinois and Cook County that is rarely mowed and cul-de-sac islands that are neglected.
City Administrator Anne Marrin said she would notify the public works union and consult with people in the department to see how many workers are needed to tackle the problem.
There currently are 40 locations that public works employees maintain, according to Assistant Building and Zoning Director Steve Cutaia. These include 20 cul-de-sac islands, but not the additional state and Cook County right-of-ways in need of maintenance.
Cutaia presented the idea of creating an "Adopt an Island" program at a city council workshop Monday. The proposal was to have residents volunteer to mow cul-de-sac islands near their homes.
Ward 3 Alderman Scott Williamson and Ward 5 Alderman Bree Higgins spoke against the proposal, stating that it is the city's responsibility, not that of the residents.
"Those who are going to do it are already doing it," said Williamson, who mows the island in his neighborhood.
The "Adopt an Island" proposal was rejected in favor of hiring seasonal help to do the job.
Aldermen and staff members agreed that any seasonal worker would stay on less traveled streets, while experienced employees who know how to handle the hazards would mow along busy highways.
"We're working hard to make things good for the city; it should be visually good, too," said Williamson, who was adamant about the new seasonal help starting as soon as possible.
Mayor Nick Helmer said hotel taxes designated for the city's tourism district along Milwaukee Avenue could be used for mowing in that area.
"I've gotten calls from people from Wheeling who ask 'Don't you know how to mow your lawn?'" he said.