City demolishes condos that are neighborhood eyesore

Houston Mayor Annise Parker took a hands on role in the demolition of the Winfield I Condominiums at 10403 Forum Park

October 22, 2012 5:00:21 PM PDT
It's the beginning of the end for a neighborhood eyesore in southwest Houston. Bulldozers began taking down the Winfield condos piece by piece Monday afternoon and neighbors are glad to see it go. It's the latest of dozens of abandoned, dangerous buildings to be demolished by the city of Houston.

Demolition began Monday afternoon and it will take a few days to be completed. There are always more properties to be demolished and Houston Mayor Annise Parker says if the proposed bond package passes, there will be more properties being torn down across town.

It's a demolition years in the making. No one is more proud of tearing down these condos than Beryl Hogshead.

"Prostitution, drugs, homeless have been in there," she said. "I've on this, focusing on it really, for four years."

A retired teacher, Hogshead had watched as a fire and then poor management forced the decline of Winfield I condos in Alief. She's been pressuring city leaders to act ever since and they've listened.

City council member Mike Laster explained, "Drug activity, illegal dumping, prostitution -- so with these properties going away we'll be able to clean that part of this neighborhood up."

But getting every single condo owner to agree to demolition is a challenge. Laster, along with Mayor Parker, finally cut through the red tape and demolition began. Mayor Parker says if her proposed city bonds pass, she'll be able to tackle more blighted neighborhoods.

"What we're going to do with the bond money is actually to do demolitions, because we have millions of dollars in demolition needs across the city," she said.

Even owners of the condos agree. They hate to see their investment disappear, but there were no other viable solutions.

"We still are at a loss we just hope and pray that some good comes out of this," condo owner Cherne Allen said.

It is a tough situation but neighbors who live and work in the area say they are glad to see this eyesore finally coming down. They say they believe it is a safety hazard for the neighborhood children as well.

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