Yards say a lot about people
| Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni | August 14, 2002
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION IWAKUNI, Japan --
There's a lot to be said about first impressions. Whether at a job interview, meeting your new boss for the first time or making new friends, first impressions set the stage. But what about that first impression when someone comes to your home? What do they see, weeds out of control, grass tall enough to low crawl through, enough junk to label you a red neck.
Hopefully not, since maintaining your yard is as simple as opening the Occupant Handbook each resident received upon moving into their townhouse or single family house and a quick visit to the Self Help Shed for all the lawn care equipment you could possibly need.
"Occupants should take pride in where they live ... this reflects not only on the resident, but the Air Station as well," said Sally Gilmour, Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni Housing manager.
Per MCAS Order 11101.3M, the area of occupant responsibility is defined as extending to the middle of the adjacent streets, parking lots or to the halfway points between buildings or adjacent quarters. There is a 50-foot/halfway rule that includes parking areas, trash enclosures, sidewalks and driveways assigned to the unit, according to the order.
"If you owned your own home you would be doing the same there as you do here," said Connie Hudson, Monzen townhouse resident. "There were pros and cons to choosing the townhouse over the midrise. Our decision came down to us wanting and loving to do yard work and having a pet."
Her husband couldn't agree more. "For my family there was only one choice. Our neighbors are a large part of our satisfaction," said Kurt Hudson, "and the townhouse is more than a lawn, we are part of a neighborhood."
"A yard helps make a house into a home, and a home makes a neighborhood into a community and a community is where we desire to raise our children," said Lt. Col. Thomas Abel, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron commanding officer.
Being part of a community has it responsibilities. Residents must mow, trim, prune, edge, rake and weed flowerbeds. Lawns need to be mowed often enough that the grass does not exceed three inches. Small shrubs and hedges are the resident's responsibility to trim and prune, but any over six feet are taken care of by contract workers. The edges along walk ways, curbs, driveways and flowerbeds need to be edged and trimmed. Flowerbeds need to be kept free of weeds and lawns need to be raked often enough to keep them clear of leaves and debris.
Residents who need lawn equipment such as lawn mowers, edgers, rakes, shovels and clippers, can find what they need at the Family Housing Self Help Warehouse on the North-side or Self Help Shed in Monzen. The warehouse also carries grass seed, fertilizer, and flowers, weather permitting.
"With the quarters being so close to each other, taking care of your quarters also says, 'I care about my surroundings and the families that live near me'," said Gilmour.
To ensure occupants are maintaining the standards, housing areas are inspected regularly and residents who do not comply are ticketed. If an occupant does not comply and enough tickets have been issued, housing will contract to have the work done and the resident will have to reimburse the government for the cost. If this doesn't correct the problem it could eventually affect a residents right to occupy government quarters, according to the order.
"My love for doing yard work has made me some great friends," said Connie. "We share ideas for landscaping and where to find the best deals on flowers. We help each other take care of our yards, and share our yard equipment. We even get together at the end of the day and sit outside with a cold drink and talk and admire each others work."
For details on proper yard care, call the Family Housing officer at 253-5541 or read the Occupant Handbook provided by the housing office.