CHICAGO (CBS) — Are you tired of those overgrown vacant lots in your neighborhood?
Mayor Lori Lightfoot just announced she’s sending city leaders to a training program to learn more about how to turn those properties around.READ MORE: Jury Selection Under Way In Jussie Smollett Trial
But that is not happening until 2022 – and after getting nowhere with the City, frustrated taxpayers told CBS 2’s Tim McNicholas they want solutions now.
“It’s just disgusting,” said Licia Johnson.
Johnson has coined a nickname for the lot next door. She calls it “a wild kingdom.”
And it is wild, indeed. From overgrown weeds, to trash, to a big tree that toppled over onto the neighbor’s garage earlier this year.
“I want things to look like nice and clean and not just look like, ‘Oh this is a dump spot, so anybody can come over here and dump their stuff,’” Johnson said.
Over the past two years, we have uncovered similar stories of frustrated neighbors struggling to get vacant properties cleaned up.17-Year-Old Boy Killed, 4 Injured In Evanston Shooting; Police Believe Shooting Was Targeted
For instance, the city told us they’ve fined the owner of one Morgan Park home thousands of dollars over the years, but the owner has not paid a dime.
“It’s as if no one really cares,” neighbor Marcella Morrison said of the Morgan Park property recently.
The Mayor’s office just announced Chicago is one 12 cities headed to a conference next year. The topic will be how to deal with vacant lots like the one near Johnson’s home.
As for that lot, the Johnsons thought they had finally tracked down the owner in late 2018.
They wrote the Texas-based company a letter, but the company replied that they no longer own the lot in question.
When asked what she would compare the lot to, she said, “the Dan Ryan Woods.”
And the “wild kingdom” keeps growing.MORE NEWS: Woman Dead, Child Among 3 Injured After House Fire In Clearing
That conference is called the 2022 Vacant Property Leadership Institute. Other cities selected to attend include Milwaukee; Peoria; Louisville; and Perry, Georgia, among others.