Cleveland stepping up pothole filling and lawn mowing this year, Mayor Justin Bibb says

 Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb watches a city worker fill a pothole on East 66th Street.
Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb watches a city worker fill a pothole on East 66th Street. [Nick Castele / Ideastream Public Media]

Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb and his chief operating officer say the city has stepped up its work to fill potholes and mow grass this year.

Bibb and city COO Bonnie Teeuwen briefed news media at a swathe of vacant lots near the corner of East 66th Street and Whitney Avenue in the Hough neighborhood.

City crews have been mowing vacant land and lawns at abandoned houses since April 18 this season, according to the mayor’s office. The city has spent money on overtime while also assigning more workers to service duties, making the most out of the equipment it already has, Teeuwen said.

“We’re basically working from sunrise to sunset with our cutting crews,” she said.

The city aims to mow lots three to four times over the course of the summer, weather permitting, she said. Teeuwen said that this year, the administration hopes to add one more mowing cycle to the schedule.

City workers have filled potholes on 57% of residential streets, up from 26% at this time last year, according to numbers released by the mayor’s office. City Hall plans to finish the work by mid-June.

The administration said it had added more workers and trucks to its illegal dumping cleanup teams. The city is also considering installing more cameras in neighborhoods in the hopes of catching people who dump tires, construction materials and other trash on vacant land.

Bibb said his team has also been speaking with Cleveland City Council members about increasing the penalties of illegal dumping, too.

The mayor said the city was applying lessons it learned during the winter, when a snowstorm paralyzed public transit and clogged city streets.

“In that snowstorm, we learned that we could do a better job at City Hall of using the existing equipment we currently have in our fleet, but also finding different ways to manage our workforce internally,” Bibb said.

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