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Pittsburgh bill would provide free lawn care to disabled, elderly and veterans | TribLIVE.com
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Pittsburgh bill would provide free lawn care to disabled, elderly and veterans

Tribune-Review
| Wednesday, December 13, 2017 6:03 p.m
PTRLOyardword063015
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Henry Edward (left) and Eli Alferi, both 14 and from Edgewood, do yard work in Wilkinsburg on Monday, June 29, 2015. The duo go out twice a week with a lawnmower, a wheelbarrow full of tools and a list of houses they maintain in the Edgewood and Wilkinsburg area.
PTRLOyardword063015
Nate Smallwood | Trib Total Media
Henry Edward (left) and Eli Alferi, both 14 and from Edgewood, do yard work in Wilkinsburg on Monday, June 29, 2015. The duo go out twice a week with a lawnmower, a wheelbarrow full of tools and a list of houses they maintain in the Edgewood and Wilkinsburg area.

The elderly, disabled and veterans would be eligible for free lawn-mowing services under a bill Pittsburgh City Council advanced Thursday.

Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith of Westwood, who sponsored the legislation, said she has sponsored a similar program in her West End district since 2009 using Community Development Block Grant funding to hire contractors through competitive bidding.

“It’s worked out wonderfully,” she said. “It not only helps the seniors, veterans and disabled people, but it helps the neighborhoods look better. It helps local businesses because we give the contracts to local lawn care services, and those folks hire local people to cut the grass.”

She said the program would also reduce blighted properties, reduce the number of complaints filed with the city and cut down on court actions against people who are unable to afford lawn care.

Under the proposal, residents who are elderly, disabled or veterans would be eligible so long as no one in their home is capable of cutting grass. Smith said CDBG funding distributed by the federal government would be used to pay for the program.

“You cannot have an able-bodied person in your home who could cut the grass,” she said. “We don’t want to enable people. We want to empower people.”

Council gave unanimous preliminary approval to the legislation. A final vote is expected on Tuesday.

Bob Bauder is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-765-2312, bbauder@tribweb.com or via Twitter @bobbauder.

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