ROCKFORD (WIFR) -- There are hundreds of untamed lots in Rockford and where there is grass, there is a hefty bill.
There may be no way of stopping the grass from growing, but Building Code Official Thadeus Mack says there is a way to cut down on Rockford's rising lawn care costs.
"That's about $3,000 that we've spent so far on having to cut this lot," said Mack. "If we had it with Dutch White Clover, you're looking at $150 to $200 in mowing costs over the last five years."
Following the city's 100 home demolitions in 2016, staff will lay down the seed for Dutch White Clover, which only grows up to a foot tall, compared to the current grass, which can reach heights of two feet.
Mack says the financial savings will free up time to work on more important problems.
"If we have additional costs that we need to spend on boarding up vacant and abandoned houses, freeze up staff resources so we're not spending as much time out looking at different properties, having to send contractors again and again," Mack said.
On average, it costs Rockford $40 every time the city calls a contractor to cut a lawn, which is about 15 times a year. With Dutch White Clover, it would only require one to two cuts saving about $52,000 per 100 lots.
"From the city's perspective, we just want a nice, grass lawn with somebody who's mowing it and maintaining it," said Mack. "That's ideal, but until that happens, I think this seems like a good solution for us."
While the city still has more than 200 other lots where it can potentially save thousands more, Mack says that decision will not be made until after they see how these first lots mow out.
Mack says this program of using Dutch White Clover is similar to ones used in Flint and Detroit, Michigan.