Residents: Abandoned hospital attracting crime
HOUSTON Civic Association President Calvin Williams has fond memories of what once was the neighborhood hospital. "My oldest daughter was born here," he said. "She's 21 years old now." But that was a long time ago. "I really wish it didn't have to come to this," Williams said. The last home to Doctor's Hospital, a building on West Parker and the North Freeway, has been abandoned for two years since Hurricane Ike rolled through. Sewer waters filled the halls. Neighbors say the property has been an eyesore ever since. "Once they left, they left us here with a bad situation," Williams said. But lately, they say problems have been getting worse. "They've gone up on the roof and just took all the copper out," Ann Helton said. Helton and her husband live right behind the old hospital. They, like others, don't like the overgrown weeds, graffiti and boarded up windows, but crime concerns them the most. "I'm just waiting for them to start hitting houses after they finish there," she said. Doctors Hospital, now located on West Tidwell, still owns the building. The CEO declined an on-camera interview, but Mike Bullard did say the building will remain vacant until their insurance company pays up, but it's become a court battle. He also said they're doing their best to secure the building, and that includes complying with the city by putting up a fence. It was on the day we were there when workers were also posting "No Trespassing" signs. "I saw a guy loading up his car," Williams said. Williams doesn't think either works and wants the hospital to do more. "It's still their property. They have a responsibility to the community," he said. "If they're not going to rebuild, at least secure the facility." Residents say a security guard used to patrol the old hospital grounds, but that ended a few months ago and ever since, they say it's gotten worse. The city's neighborhood protection has alerted officers at the Aldine storefront to monitor the property for vagrant activity.