“How in the world can we get it cleaned up?” Oklahoma City residents concerned with unkempt property

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Nellie Lenhart and her husband have lived in their house in southwest Oklahoma City for over 40 years.

Lately, they've been dealing with a new set of issues.

"Overgrown weeds and all kinds of critters; mice, roaches, bed bugs, you name it," said Lenhart.

She and her husband believe the critters are coming from the property across the street, along S.W. 19th St.

The couple says the property used to be full of homes but is now owned by the city.

"This used to be a very nice neighborhood, there [were] kids in every house, and every kid knew every one of the other kids, and we all knew the neighbors. Now we're kind of afraid to get out," said Lenhart.

City leaders say the property is part of a drainage channel improvement project.

Kathy Little lives down the street and says the property has sat unkempt for too long.

"The rebar, see how rusty it is and everything? That's been laying there for quite some time," said Little.

Lenhart says another big concern is the tall grass growing in front of a nearby stop sign.

"They don't come and cut it. Now if we were to let our yard go, what would we get? We'd get a high dollar fine. What's our city getting?" said Lenhart.

City officials say this is part of the $3.7 million general obligation bond project.

Public Works spokesperson Shannon Cox says the project is "being constructed in phases and modifies the existing drainage channel by adding approximately 500 feet of reinforced concrete box under and west of Pennsylvania Avenue and 1800 feet of concrete-lined open channel both east and west of Pennsylvania Avenue. Two water lines and three sanitary sewer lines cross Pennsylvania Avenue near the proposed drainage improvements. These lines will be relocated to accommodate the improvements."

Both Nellie and Kathy say they don't blame city workers, they just want to mess cleaned up.

ā€œIā€™m not blaming the city workers, cause they can only do what their bosses tell them to do,ā€ said Lenhart. "But how in the world can we get it cleaned up?ā€

Cox says weather permitting, the project should be finished in the Spring of 2020, adding that the 2019 storms definitely delayed the project.

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