Residents: Abandoned home becoming health hazard

THE WOODLANDS, TX (KTRK) -- When Penelope Duke and her family moved to The Woodlands two years ago, they were looking forward to enjoying the outdoors.

Instead, she had to install a high-tech mosquito spray system in her backyard. Duke said the problem lies on the other side of her fence.

"It's our dirty little secret," Duke said, "and now it's public."

The abandoned house at 2610 South Wildwind Circle is in disrepair. The pool is not maintained and the yard is full of standing water from the latest rainfall. It is a hot bed for mosquitoes.

"We turn the mosquito system on, everybody gets mosquito spray and then we go outside," Duke said. "That is pathetic. It is pathetic. It is a public health hazard."

Duke notified The Woodlands Township last summer, and a team trapped and tested some of the mosquitoes along the fence line of her backyard. She received a letter stating the mosquitoes tested positive for West Nile Virus.

The abandoned house and all the critters it harbors are still there.

The owner on record said he moved away in 2010 because of a mold problem. The property is caught in a complicated financial web. No one is taking responsibility for the house - not the bank, the owner or a separate managing company.

"My goal in making it public is to bring these individuals together to the table to figure out a solution to level the house, fill in the pool, and fill in the pond," Duke said. "So that it ceases to be a public health hazard for all of the people in the Woodlands community and anyone who comes here to visit."

The Woodlands Township has filed a lawsuit against Wells Fargo Bank and the owners who abandoned the property in 2010, Daniel and Suzanne Parks.

The Woodlands Villager contributed to this story.
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