Demolition Provides Opportunity to Remind Voters of Upcoming Bond Election
The City of Houston has successfully negotiated an agreement that will lead to the demolition of the run down Winfield I Condominiums at 10403 Forum Park. Demolition is scheduled to begin Monday, October 22, 2012.
Although the agreement with the owners in this instance will save the city from having to cover any of the demolition and asbestos removal costs, Mayor Annise Parker noted that isn’t always the case. “The city bond referendums voters will consider in November include $15 million for the removal of blighted properties,” said Parker. “It’s a housing bond referendum but the money will all go toward demolishing dangerous and abandoned buildings like the Winfield Condos to make way for new affordable housing.”
The demolition agreement is the result of a cooperative enforcement approach by the Houston Department of Neighborhoods, the Houston Police Department and the City Legal Department. The City was able to utilize a series of administrative citations and summons to force the condo owners to first secure the property, drain and fill the pool and clear debris. Once those preliminary steps were taken, further discussions were held with the owners to finalize demolition arrangements.
“As soon as I was informed about the condition of these condominiums I began pushing to get them demolished,” said Council Member Laster. “It is gratifying to know that after years of being a nuisance and threat to this community that they are finally being removed. I am very thankful for the efforts of the Metropolitan Organization, the Houston Police Department’s Differential Response Team, the City’s Legal Department and its Department of Neighborhoods for working so closely with my office and the Winfield I Condominium Association to help remove these dangerous structures from this neighborhood.”
“This property has long been neglected,” said Mayor Parker. “It’s a neighborhood eyesore and a haven for prostitutes and drug dealers. Its removal will bring relief to neighbors who have wanted it gone for years. The results will be improved public safety and a boost for surrounding property values. It is my hope that the property will be redeveloped into something that better serves the area.”
The city bond referendums total $410 million and will not require a tax increase. In addition to the dollars for demolition of dangerous buildings, the bond package includes funds for new police and fire stations and improvements to parks, libraries, health, solid waste and recycling facilities. The city referendums will be at the end of the ballot. Early voting begins October 22, 2012.