The grass on the Sterling Boulevard median and the side framing the road has grown as high as 31 inches, generating queries as to why landscapers have not cut it.
Kevin Chroninger, chairman of the Sterling Foundation board of directors, said the contractor, Wye Creek Inc., of Catharpin, Va., has not been able to mow the 3.3 miles that runs through the center and sides of Sterling Boulevard. ÒTheyÕve told us repeatedly that they had equipment problems,Ó he said. ÒI think theyÕll get back on the mark though.Ó
The Sterling Foundation is a not-for-profit organization with a mission of improving the quality of life in Sterling. It uses proceeds from newspaper and magazine recycling and grants to keep the boulevard manicured. Prior to 1989, a group calling itself the ÒGrasshoppersÓ handled the maintenance.
CHARLIE AARON, Wye CreekÕs vice president and general manager, attributed the two-week mowing delay to the breakdown of two trackers. Workers should have the job completed before Memorial Day, he said. They started late last week and mowed Monday, for a total of 17 hours, he said.
Aaron said he would have to use a bush hog, a tractor with a larger deck and bigger blades, because the high grass is too difficult to cut for the usual mowers they use. ÒItÕll take another eight to 10 hours before itÕs done.Ó
The mowing job usually takes 10 hours total, he added.
Chroninger said a payment of $1,075 is made only after completion of each job. The landscaping company, which has held the mowing contract for the past two years, has performed well until now, he said. ÒWhat we enjoyed about them [Wye Creek] is they didnÕt mow unless I called them. The previous contractor, if we didnÕt watch it, heÕd go out every two weeks.Ó
The Sterling Foundation is satisfied with Wye CreekÕs fee, considering it has paid as much as $1,200 for each mowing job in the past, Chroninger said.
PETER JENNINGS, who resides in a house along South Sterling Boulevard, said he and his wife had been wondering about the upkeep of the grass. ÒLast year, it had been pretty good, especially off [Route] 28,Ó he said ÒIt was always mowed and it looked nice.Ó
The lack of landscaping has not been a problem for the Jennings family though. He and his neighbors, from 603 South Sterling Blvd. to 807 South Sterling Blvd., always mow the grass framing their side of the road in front of their homes. ÒIt donÕt take another 10 minutes to do it,Ó he said. ÒI donÕt like that tall stuff in front of my house.Ó
Jennings and his next-door neighbor also have planted trees there.
Steve Walker, who rents the basement of a home on Sterling Boulevard, said he and his girlfriend also were discussing the high grass. ÒIt looks terrible,Ó he said. ÒIÕve lived here all my life and IÕve never seen it this tall. Last year, they kept it mowed.Ó
Aaron said in the past the state has executed the first cut and two or three cuts during the summer. ÒWeÕve never had to deal with the stage it is now,Ó he said. ÒTell people IÕm sorry that the grass got that high.Ó
Wye Creek Inc. has been in business for four years. It is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of America and an affiliate member of the Symbiot Business Network.