Residents concerned about high grass covering cliff

September 5, 2010 6:14:19 AM PDT
There's an area on Houston's east end that people say is a neighborhood problem. High grass is hiding a cliff that slopes down to the Houston Ship Channel, and they say they've tried for months to get something done. People who live nearby are afraid for their children. The plot of land is near Hidalgo Part on JW Peavey near 70th Street. The big question is who owns the property.

There's a sign there that warns of littering, but a couple of sisters want a lot more done to it.

"We have killed snakes that have come out through here," resident Helen Zertruche said.

For Helen and Teresa Zertuche, this is more than just an eyesore. The brush outside their property on the Ship Channel is so thick they claim it's become a dumpsite and a haven for crime.

"We've heard rape in the past from young girls back there; shots fired. There was a grave that she discovered that someone actually dug," Teresa Zertuche said.

The sisters say it's been a growing problem for decades. Photographs taken several years ago show what it looked like then. They worry with a nearby park children could be in jeopardy.

"There's a 10-foot drop, and he'll go down and that's it," Helen Zertuche said. "He'll be hurt very badly or he's gone."

For the past three years, the Zertuches claim they've tried to get help, calling everyone from the Port of Houston to the city to the Harris County Flood Control District, but so far, no one will take responsibility.

"They said it's not their problem, that it's our problem," Helen Zertuche said. "How can it be our problem when we don't own this here?"

Since Friday, we've attempted to get some answers from the Port of Houston, but as of Saturday night, they are still unable to tell us if the property is managed by them. Houston Public Works told us they would need to research the property but that would have to wait until after the holiday weekend. And our call to the Harris County Flood Control District is yet to be returned.

For the Zertuches, they feel their concerns have fallen on deaf ears and are begging for help.

"We just came from 75th Street. That's Mason Park. It's beautiful," Teresa Zerthuche said. "There's walkways, we would like to have the same, the same respect and to have the cleanliness.

The Port Authority says its researching the property. They say it's near their property, but they're not if the piece of land in question is theirs.

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