Buildings go down as part of Houston Demolition Day

HOUSTON This is one of 99 homes the city tore down Saturday. Over the next couple weeks, the mayor says they plan to demolish 400.

In all, the city of Houston has identified 8,000 "dangerous" buildings they say need to be demolished.

"Our neighborhoods are peppered with abandoned properties and they're a source of complaints," Mayor Annise Parker said.

The city of Houston launched an initiative last year to demolish these problem properties.

"If they're a fire hazard, or could fall on a neighboring property or into the street, we take those down first," Parker said.

Councilmembers Wanda Adams and Brenda Stardig even mounted the back hoe, joining volunteer crews from the Houston Contractors Association to eliminate the home, which neighbors call a decade-old eyesore.

"No one's been living in this property since we moved in the area and it's been sitting there, and year after year it just gets worse," neighbor Ken Yepp said.

"Once the blight is removed, we're hoping a new home can be built here to keep the character of this community," Adams explained.

Following demolition, the city places liens against these properties. If they're foreclosed on and go to a tax sale, the city collects.

Either way, Yepp hopes getting rid of the mess drives property values up.

"It's going to be a great improvement," he said.

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