Let’s Keep Armory Park Walkable

Donna, Lulu Small black dog) and I walk the sidewalks of Armory Park every day we are in town. We enjoy the historic ambiance and the nice people we meet along the way. We also collect and dispose of trash since it is a good use of the time we are already taking to stroll. The only problem we regularly encounter is the untamed vegetation along some sidewalks which are something of an obstacle course. On the listserv, Phyllis has reminded us of the legal obligations in the city code for all property owners and tenants: 

Sec. 16-13. Exterior premises and vacant land.

(a) Accumulation of vegetation prohibited. Each owner, lessee, tenant, resident or occupant shall maintain a property so it is free of the accumulation or untended growth of vegetation. The accumulation or untended growth of vegetation means the presence of plants on property that create a fire, safety or health hazard, or that attract vermin either on the property, on neighboring properties, or on both, and includes but is not limited to:

(1) Any lawn grass that exceeds six (6) inches in height.

(2) All weeds that exceed six (6) inches in height.

(3) Dead trees or dead shrubs.

(4) Dead palm fronds within ten (10) feet of the ground, a structure, a fence or wall, or of any combustible other than the tree from which the fronds have grown;

(5) Any tree, shrub, or other form of vegetation of any kind on the property or on the adjoining right-of-way, street, or alley that extends over or under the sidewalk space or roadway in a manner that may interfere with the reasonable use of the street, sidewalk, or alley for pedestrian or vehicular traffic of any kind or that may obstruct the view or light distribution of traffic-control devices or luminaries. Vegetation must be trimmed and maintained to provide an unobstructed pedestrian path a minimum of forty eight (48) inches in width and eighty (80) inches in height from grade.

My preference  is to take a positive approach to keeping our public spaces passable and attractive. Involving city code enforcement should only be used with those such as absentee landlords who are unresponsive to positive efforts. Those of us who live in and love Armory Park are likely to do what is right with a little encouragement. If most community improvements are “grass roots” based, they are more likely to gain wider resident support. I want to encourage “bottom up” efforts to enhance our neighborhood. 

The first thing any of us can do is to keep the public area fronting our homes tidy. After you have taken that step, please encourage your Armory Park friends and neighbors to do likewise. For those areas without a responsive resident, informal trimming parties could do the job. This has precedent as recently as the first part of the year when a group was doing trimming to make stop signs more visible. I hope this group will reactivate and even broaden its efforts. I will be happy to participate. 

The bottom line is that we have a pleasant and historic community. We should not rely on the city or APNA to help it reach full potential. You and I should take on that job.

Ken Taylor blog@kmtaylor.com

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