Four decades of people trampling on my grass

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Pat Healey

I realize there are grave challenges facing the world, the nation and Oak Park. This is not one of them. However, I believe that quality-of-life issues still matter.

Today, I saw a young woman walking two large dogs in front of my house. One of the dogs urinated on my planter while the other one defecated in my front yard. The woman picked up the fecal matter and moved on. She probably felt righteous having done the correct thing. However, I would like her to consider another point of view. As the homeowner, I pay considerable property taxes for each square foot of private land I purchased. For a few years now, I have been attempting to convert my patchy, maple-ruled lawn into a more ecologically palatable garden. The results have been slow a-coming, but I'm pleased.

Amending the soil has been difficult, but more vexing are the people who feel it is within their right to walk wherever they wish on property which isn't theirs. This includes advertisers, dog walkers and sometimes mail carriers when they don't read the notice on file. I have put up scattered thin-metal fencing as a reminder, but to no avail. If there is a no-soliciting sign on your door, are people still legally allowed to leave advertising brochures to be blown under the bushes? These people give no thought as to perennials that might be under the snow and the leaf mulch. This is particularly vexing in the early spring when tulip, daffodil and crocus shoots haven't made their final push through the leaf cover and never will because they've been trampled.

When I had my beloved dog, Beara, I would let her out into my backyard, then take her for a walk, and clean up afterwards. If that's not a possibility for others, the property between the sidewalk and the street is village-owned, even though they don't maintain it. Which leads me to another gripe — living on a busy street near a stoplight can be tricky. After years of picking up others' garbage on the parkway, I'm getting pretty bored with it. Can't community service include picking up papers on the parkway, as is done in front of my house twice a year by village employees — before and after the Fourth of July parade?

I feel better now that I've written this letter, which I've been composing for the last four decades.

Pat Healey is a 40-year Oak Park resident.

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Nancy Trock Nordic Walking // from Oak Park  

Posted: February 11th, 2011 7:37 AM

I don't understand why dog owners think it's okay to let their dogs go off leash or into others' gardens. It's selfish behavior. I wish the leash laws were enforced around here but they're not.

City Girl from Oak Park  

Posted: February 11th, 2011 5:44 AM

I appologize for my rude comment. I am also sincerely against bad dog owner behavior. On the other hand, this is the big city....


Posted: February 10th, 2011 5:14 PM

I too am frequently surprised at how many people think it's OK to walk across my front yard. I live on a corner and it happens all the time. I know dogs go where they want sometimes but bring them back to the sidewalk and parkway. It's not about my precious lawn it's about respecting boundaries and other people's property. And don't get me started on dog owners who don't clean up after their pets. Happens a couple times a week -- it's beyond irresponsible and insulting.

Polite from Oak Park  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 5:04 PM

I can't be the only one who agrees, can I? Growing up I was taught to stay off the neighbors lawns. When I had my dogs I tried my best to keep them on the public side of the walkway. I never personally walked in someone's grass because the dog thought it was a good idea. It is very annoying to catch people in the lawn. They always look surprised to see me and apologize. You guys know better. However if your sidewalk is icy, I will be all over your lawn as not to break my neck. :-)

City Girl from Oak Park  

Posted: February 10th, 2011 4:03 PM

I wanna come over and walk all over your precious grass, too!


Posted: February 10th, 2011 3:54 PM

Where do you live? Think I'll take my dog for a walk. Try living on a busy street - picking up debris just becomes a way of life - we knew that when we moved in. Oak Park has people, cars, dogs, bikes all over - bucking up is integral to being a part of society.

TT from Oak Park  

Posted: February 8th, 2011 9:39 PM

You sir are a classic example of someone who has far too much time on their hands. Perhaps you should get a hobby rather than sit and stare out the window. At least the woman picked up after her dog. Your grass is not award winning so stop crying about it. There are far more important issues to worry about then your fellow residents walking on your grass.

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