April 18 2012 12:00 AM

Property: Ranney Park naturalization area

Owner: City of Lansing

Owner says: “Indicative of the city living within its means.”

Opponents of the city’s naturalization plan that was announced last year have the right to proclaim: “Hate to say I told you so.” 

The city stopped mowing certain areas of 14 parks throughout the city last year as part of that plan. The goal was to save money. But City Council members and concerned citizens warned the administration about unintended consequences. One was trash build-up in the long grass.

Turns out they were right on at least one of the parks. About three days a week I walk through the north end of Ranney Park and have noticed the slow accumulation of random trash and recyclables — McDonald’s packaging, plastic water bottles, empty cigarette packs and plastic bags  — since the snow melted in the conspicuously unmowed area. The long grass acts as a natural catch basin.

Chad Gamble, the city’s chief operating officer and director of the Public Service Department, said the accumulating trash is: “Indicative of the city living within its means. There’s lots of things we wish we could do.”

“Naturalization” is a nice way to package it — but judging on the amount of trash in these areas, “collection zones” would be a more apt title.