Residents Say Goodbye to Houston Eyesore

After years of legal wrangling, a run-down apartment complex in southeast Houston has been torn down. The building had been vacant for more than twenty years and was used for all types of illicit activities. Bill Stamps has more.
For people living near the 610 Freeway and Telephone Road, today was a day they'd been waiting for for many years.

"I walk down this street everyday and I don't like the sidewalk."

This resident, who asked to be called Mark, stood and watched on Park Place Boulevard as crews began knocking down the filthy looking apartment complex with broken windows and jungle-size weeds and grass.

"You could see in there. There was a mattress, blanket, it looked like somebody was living in there. But I don't think there's anyone living in there now."

Ann Collum also lives in the neighborhood and was one of the people who helped put pressure on the city to tear the city to tear it down.

"At one time they had it boarded up but the board was pulled off it and there's a water hydrant over there 0n the front. And they had a garden hose going into the window, so the homeless were in there and everything else. I'm just glad that there's not any houses or really close here that children do not really pass this way going to school, because otherwise we would have had a lot more trouble."

Unfortunately, this isn't the only vacant rundown down apartment complex in Houston. Residents voice the same complaints: the buildings are havens for crime and they bring property values in the areas down. Councilman James Rodriguez got the wrecking ball rolling in this case because the building is in his district, but some groups living in other districts have been to City Hall several times asking for buildings in their area to be torn down in their areas as well. This is Rodriguez.

"I think a lot of it had to do with your council members advocating, pushing the administration and letting them know about the problem locations. But obviously the ones with swimming pools that can be hazards with small children, those are going to be the priorities near elementary schools, near churches and inside residential neighborhoods, but again there are so many of these type of properties. This office has been very aggressive in pursuing these and we're going to continue to do so."

It's costing the city between $80 and $100-thousand dollars to knock this apartment complex down. The pool looks like a sewer tank and the unit doors are either pried open or completely gone. So while some might gasp at the $100-thousand dollar cost, people who leave near the building say its money well spent. Bill Stamps, KUHF News.