'Mow to Own' program grants vacant properties to eight homeowners

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Rockford, Ill (WIFR) -- The city of Rockford is rewarding homeowners who've participated in the ‘Mow to Own’ program, which started back in 2015.

Homeowners and neighborhood nonprofits who live next door to one of the cities more than 50 vacant properties are eligible to earn ownership of the vacant property next to them if they maintain it for 2 years. After years of mowing, trimming shrubs and raking, eight program participants finally have earned and now own the properties they have worked tirelessly to improve.

"At the end of the day we know it’s going to a responsible property owner,” said Karl Franzen, director of community and economic development for the city of Rockford.

”They’ve proven it over the two years. And over the two years the city has saved costed because they didn't have to mow it and maintain it. It is a win-win and we're finally seeing the fruits of that a couple years into this program."