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Tip List: Grass not greener on south side

Charlie Fryar has complaints for the city of Merced: Dwight Amey Park, in South Merced, has dead grass and hasn't been mowed.

"The reason why they're not watering is so the grass will die and they don't have to mow as much," Fryar, who lives on Daisy Court, said. "The grass is dead. The city is in charge of that, and we are all taxpayers like everybody else."

Even the park strips along the neighborhood are full of dead grass. "My friend lives across the street from the park and he said you have family over and you take them to the park and the grass is all dead," Fryar said.

"It started off about two or three months ago, you could tell it was going to crap," he said. And he had complaints of grass clippings being left on the streets and sidewalks.

"From what I understand, the reason why they let our park go is they've had layoffs and because they had layoffs, our park was let go," Fryar said.

A few months ago the city decided to contract out mowing services to save money.

But the neglected grass seems to be a case of stolen irrigation heads at city parks and vandalism, according to Stan Murdock, director of operations for the Department of Public Works.

At one park, there have been reports of about 50 irrigation heads stolen from one or two areas. "We have large irrigations, large heads that cost a lot," Murdock explained. "In terms of Dwight Amey Park what has been happening is people have been getting in and messing with the irrigation timing, so it has been primarily vandalism of that nature as far as the brown spots."

When it came to the park not being mowed, Murdock said there was a gap before Yard Masters, the company the city contracted mowing services out to, was able to take over. "They are now on the job fully, doing it for about a week," he said. There was about a week or so in the beginning of July when mowing wasn't being done, he added.

Murdock said he hadn't heard anything about grass clippings and urged the public to report problems to public works at (209) 385-6800.

What's the problem: Dead grass, no mowing at Dwight Amey Park.

Who's responsible: The city of Merced

What's being done: The city says it is going to hold the mowing contractor responsible if it's not cutting city turf. As far as the irrigation system goes, the city is seeking ways to make irrigation heads more secure and less susceptible to vandals.

Tip off the Tip List!

If you see something broken or in need of repair in your neighborhood, call the Sun-Star Tip List reporter, Ameera Butt, with your tips at (209) 385-2477 or e-mail