Houston demolishes dozens of nuisance buildings


"This kind of thing is an eyesore. This kind of thing, it brings down property values. Everything you do to your home that's beautiful, this kind of thing tears it down when people look at it," Kashmere Gardens resident Xavier Stevens said.

Stevens lives a block away and says it's not simply that a building like this one is ugly, it's also dangerous.

"It harbors rats, roaches, all kinds of different things. When kids walk by, sometimes they tend to be curious, they walk into these type of homes," Stevens said. "They need to be gone, they're not serving any kind of purpose."

The city has 136 buildings, residential and commercial, scheduled for demolition throughout Houston. When the property owner fails to maintain the building, it eventually has to go. But it can take years.

"State law in Texas is very specific, very precise and it is on the side of the property owner even if they are bad neighbors," Houston Mayor Annise Parker said.

But the mayor says the city keeps working and is seeing results, too, in neighborhoods all over. With 39 demolitions on that long list scheduled for Saturday alone, the rest to take place throughout the summer.

"You can buy lots like this. Once it's clean, I'd buy it and build you a beautiful home," Stevens said. "I want people to know that some of us are here, we're really trying, we really care about where we're living."

City Council District B has the most buildings approved for demolition with 65. District D is a distant second with 31. District E has the fewest with four.

The demolitions are paid for by a bond which voters approved.

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