Greenfield debates ‘hay or grass’ for portion of Central Park

Residents Randy and Julie Vergin addressed the Greenfeld City Council regarding a proposal over an area on the east side of Greenfield Central Park at the council’s April 1 meeting.

On their own time, the Vergins have been cutting some of the really long grass with their own equipment, taking off the top several inches of tall grasses and leaving a growth of about a foot or so, Randy Vergin said. He told the council that it was a cost and time savings for the city, and that for him to do it, he needs to be the only one cutting the area. Cutting with a mower, which is what the city has for equipment, leaves a matting of cuttings that gum up his swatter, Vergin said.

The Vergins use the grass clippings for hay, and only for their animals. They have a few beef cattle, and the hay is used for bedding and sometimes food, depending on the quality. As it is, the grass is thin and the Vergins proposed a couple of options to thicken it up. On the outside was a proposal for approximately $1,700 in supplies, including seed and fertilizer, to beef up the existing grass, but Randy Vergin stated that just trying fertilizer, to start, may produce results.

Julie Vergin added that according to area farmers she spoke with, the full proposal would likely get the desired results for five years.

The discussion that ensued centered on:

–How soon that part of the park would be developed; Council Chuck Alcon suggested that the amenities planned for the portion of the park where the grass issue is will rely on the timing of water and sewer availability.

–How it should be used until then; keeping the grass high, or cutting it and planting low-lying vegetation so the area could be used a field to run in or play on.

–Whether the cost savings of not having to mow (about five to six hours of Public Works Department time every other week) justified keeping it as is, perhaps with a smaller investment.

Asked if he would be willing to pay back the $1,700 investment should the city decided to go that way, Vergin answered that he would not, as he has several requests to cut grass on private properties in the city for no charge.

The city’s Public Works supervisor, Jeremy Ketcher, when asked for his opinion, said that, with the number of projects he had coming up, he would urge the council to let Vergin continue cutting it.

The consensus, in the end, was that the arrangement the Vergins have had with the city for the last few years, to cut the tall grass for the yield only, will continue.



Ketcher presented a proposal for purchasing gravel and rock to maintain several roads in Greenfield as part of a three-year rotating improvement plan. He estimates that his department will use about 6,000 tons of gravel this year.

Councilor Tom Cook asked that the schedule be looked at so that busier roads receive more frequent graveling. He also argued that class 5 aggregate identified in Ketcher’s proposal was not the best product for the improvements. Cook feels that mixture contain more large rock and less binder.

Ketcher, at the start of his proposal, relayed to the council that he’d spoken to Public Works staff at the city of  Corcoran and Rockford Township, and both recommended 7-11 percent binding material in the gravel. He said the clay binding material holds the roads together better. It tends to take them more slimly from rain, he added, but dust coating helps alleviate that.

Ketcher was directed by council to go back to the low bidder and request a higher content on the three-quarter-inch class five in question; the rest of Ketcher’s proposal was approved.

The next regular meeting of the Greenfield City Council is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 15, at 6390 Town Hall Drive.