Weed Whacking Needed - KXNet.com - Bismarck/Minot/Williston/Dickinson-KXNEWS,ND

Weed Whacking Needed

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The Mouse River flood is more than two years distant, but a drive down many streets in Minot's valley neighborhoods brings with it a stark reminder - many homes remain a mess.

The mess is especially visible in the yards of many homes that have been abandoned by owners - or homes that have been sold to the city for eventual demolition.

Jim Olson reports that the city is moving into a new phase of dealing with the jungle-like yards of flood-ravaged homes.

Minot Mayor Curt Zimbelman has seen enough of this.

(Curt Zimbelman, Minot Mayor) "Just health-wise, the city needs to get on top of this."

The mayor says there are close to 150 lots in the city that are overgrown with weeds - and the city owns about one-third of them.

(Curt Zimbelman, Minot Mayor) "There's no doubt it creates a health issue when you have these yards that look like this. I've heard about snakes, I've heard about rats, I've heard about rodents."

The health concerns are not the only issue - the simple look of a neighborhood with some homes recovered from the flood and others with weeds hiding mailboxes and growing past roof lines violates city ordinances.

(Curt Zimbelman, Minot Mayor) "We're looking at 150 lots and we have a very small crew in fact a part-time crew trying to keep up with this kind of work that we normally don't have the kind of overgrowth and demand for that we have now."

He is hopeful the city can find some corporate partners who have the specialized equipment needed to tackle this type of weed problem that would volunteer people to help out.

(Curt Zimbelman, Minot Mayor) "There may be some corporate partners that may be able to take ten lots and say we'll take those and we'll clean them up start to finish, we have the equipment. That would be great."

In addition, he says the city may have to reassign staff now working on other things to start whacking weeds.

(Curt Zimbelman, Minot Mayor) "We're going to have to take folks from someplace else in the city and put them there and handle it that way and that may be a good way to get a jump start on this."

The mayor says he'll talk with the city council about the problem at this Monday's meeting. Jim Olson, KX News.

Mayor Zimbelman says Enbridge has expressed interest in helping out and is trying to work out legal details related to such a project.

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