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1stWardDude

Help me gentrify 1st Ward

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So - I live in the first ward over by Target. I love how its becoming the "arts" district etc.

However, I've had about enough of the crackhead properties right in the middle of the neighborhood at Crockett and Sabine.

The whole neighborhood is florishing except for this one little block. (for the most part)

Specifically there are a few buildings that are basically falling over, have trash everywhere, and a very shady element living in them.

I looked these properties of HCAD. One of them has over $15k in delinquent taxes going back to 2008. It's owned by a "trust". - 1720 Crockett St.

I suspect the property is paid off. Can the city take the property?

I want to initiate this property being gentrified. :)

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I hope the area cleans up, but my dad works for HPD downtown and it's funny how he says people who have moved into the area complain about drugs, prosititution etc. because the drugs etc were there first, long before people started moving into their townhomes.

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No offense to your dad, but just cause it was there first dosen't mean it should be ignored.

That kind of attitude is why many people like myself look at the HPD in the same way as the criminals.

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No offense to your dad, but just cause it was there first dosen't mean it should be ignored.

That kind of attitude is why many people like myself look at the HPD in the same way as the criminals.

Just a fair warning, methinks you're about to get dumped on. The same argument has been made about people who live near the tracks.

Because you feel entitled to sit near a person that smells, does not give you the right to tell him he stinks and HE should get out of your presence because his odor offends you. Particularly if there are other empty seats and you wanted the seat NEXT to the smelly dude.

Don't like it? Buy the property.

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If the property owners are neglectful it may not do much good (or especially if they're out of town owners) but have you tried making 311 requests? I have used the web-based form for a trashy property near me and a few weeks later I noticed the police came by the property and posted a violation notice. A couple weeks later there was an permit for rehab work posted, but a couple months later and nothing has happened... :\

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No offense to your dad, but just cause it was there first dosen't mean it should be ignored.

That kind of attitude is why many people like myself look at the HPD in the same way as the criminals.

He and I don't mean to say that we don't care. Like I said, I hope it does get cleaned up. But it's just funny how his story has been made real to me in this thread.

I think he works in the 3rd ward (W Dallas just off of 45) and townhomes have gone up like crazy in the past decade. I mean, imagine putting a 400k condo in Compton and then complaining about the crime. Same here. It has gotten better and I hope it continues, it's just funny that's all. I'm all for your gentrification.

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Just a fair warning, methinks you're about to get dumped on. The same argument has been made about people who live near the tracks.

Because you feel entitled to sit near a person that smells, does not give you the right to tell him he stinks and HE should get out of your presence because his odor offends you. Particularly if there are other empty seats and you wanted the seat NEXT to the smelly dude.

Don't like it? Buy the property.

Yes, a person's right to moan about a neighborhood eyesore is offset by the fact that you should have know where you were moving... but there is a difference here.. Being smelly isnt a crime. Loud railroad tracks aren't a crime. Selling crack and prostitution are crimes.

If you move into a neighborhood that suffers from crime, you do have the right to try to change that.

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Yes, a person's right to moan about a neighborhood eyesore is offset by the fact that you should have know where you were moving... but there is a difference here.. Being smelly isnt a crime. Loud railroad tracks aren't a crime. Selling crack and prostitution are crimes.

If you move into a neighborhood that suffers from crime, you do have the right to try to change that.

You also have the right to complain about decaying buildings that are unsafe and probably breeding ground for rodents and other pests. Call the city and get an inspector out there. If the homes are rentals, the City has some power to get them shut down. But, then again, there is a long list in Houston.

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want to initiate this property being gentrified. :)

Can anything else be done besides what sevfiv has suggested?

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Don't just rely on the city to fix the problem. It obviously upsets you, so it probably upsets your neighbors, too. Organize. I'm sure HPD will help you set up a Neighborhood Watch.

If you had five people who would spend an evening or two a week sitting outside that house waiting to report anything suspicious, the people who live inside it might get the message that the neighborhood has changed, and move on.

You could also post photos of the property here, and elsewhere on the internet. Post information from the public records about who the owner is. Shame can be a motivating force.

Invite a city councilcritter or two to have a cup of coffee and a walking tour of the block. Seeing it in person, on foot, will create a memorable impression that might get some movement.

Make sure all the streetlights work in the area. If not, get it touch with the utility company or whichever party is responsible for lighting that block. Light is a great disinfectant.

Think about how people in The Heights would handle it. What makes them different, and more successful, than other residents is that they actually mobilize and DO stuff, and don't just complain about things.

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I want to initiate this property being gentrified. :)

As for initiating the process, I believe the county tax delinquent properties stay on the books until someone "expresses interest" through one of their assigned law firms.

Gentrification in that area is well underway and, as a natural process, takes its sweet time to fully flower and fruit. When selling the property makes the most sense to the owner, then it will happen as you'd like. Until then, remember that even the best tended lawn has some weeds... :)

And some of those "crackshacks" might be historic homes worth restoring. But since few homes over there have been restored, gentrification as per the Heights or 6th Ward is less likely, but is more along the lines of architectural genocide, and so is more dependent on developers than individuals. So with a precarious economy, you might need patience.

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If the property owners are neglectful it may not do much good (or especially if they're out of town owners) but have you tried making 311 requests? I have used the web-based form for a trashy property near me and a few weeks later I noticed the police came by the property and posted a violation notice. A couple weeks later there was an permit for rehab work posted, but a couple months later and nothing has happened... :\

I have an anecdote about calling 311 to complain about a run down property- siding coming off, trash piled up everywhere-i think it's 325 westheimer-- the house with the vines growing out the roof--next to sacred heart tattoo

I called 311 a lot and asked others to call and even had Stephanie Mingo COH Neighborhood Protection tell me: things were being done!

If you drive by you might notice there are still vines growing out of the roof--but-- now the house has a new coat of green paint!

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Last year my neighborhood was dealing with a derelict property and while the owner was not absentee, he totally let the house deteriorate.

We utilized the neighborhood protection program to the fullest. In doing so, when the hearing on the house was posted, our civic association appealed to neighbors to attend the hearing in a show of support.

There were other hearings that day and one of those others involved an elderly man who was a property owner and currently lived in the offending home. The NP officer had many photos of the property and the charge was that the place was a threat to his, the owner/tenant's, safety. The old man himself was there and pleaded (or pled) his case repeatedly, that he was on a fixed income, alone, doing what he could and had no place to go if they made him vacate the premises. The Neighborhood Protection officer was relentless as was the judge who was presiding over the hearing.

The ruling was that in the interest of the old man's safety, he had to vacate his home. The officer conceded that the man had done considerable improvements but there were some structural problems and the man had not gotten those issues corrected. Bottom line, the man was ordered to move. He could continue repairs but not live there while making them.

What I'm saying is that Neighborhood Protection does sometimes work for a neighborhood. There just needs to be a combined effort by the community and there also has to be specific violations. If there is drug activity, that's a police matter. But if there are health and safety problems related to the dwelling itself, then Neighborhood Protection can help.

When the house in my hood came up for review that afternoon, the NP officer had many photos of it too, inside and out. Some of the owner's immediate neighbors gave statements although he was on vacation and did not appear. The presiding judge ruled that the house be demolished. Neighborhood Protection worked for us.

Edited by little frau

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Here is a picture of one of the houses - its actually gotten even worse since the picture.

IMO, this isnt a house for possible restoration.

I live at Houston and Crockett and think that house is horrible. I can't believe the city hasn't condemned it yet. Trust me, this neighborhood will turn over soon enough...Just give it some time. It was even more sketchy when I moved here in '08 and has progressed significantly since. I'm rooting for Frank Liu and his InTown homes developments to continue to gentrify because it seems most other projects are overpriced and/or don't sell quick enough. InTown owns a significant amount of the property between the Winter St tracks and Washington.

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There sure are some cruel stories being told on this thread. I hope my neighbors aren't this cruel, but from the historic district thread, I think some are worse.

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Tell me more about the very shady element living in them. What makes them shady, exactly?

They use umbrellas during the day - even if it's not raining - and wear shades at night.

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There were other hearings that day and one of those others involved an elderly man who was a property owner and currently lived in the offending home. The NP officer had many photos of the property and the charge was that the place was a threat to his, the owner/tenant's, safety. The old man himself was there and pleaded (or pled) his case repeatedly, that he was on a fixed income, alone, doing what he could and had no place to go if they made him vacate the premises. The Neighborhood Protection officer was relentless as was the judge who was presiding over the hearing.

The ruling was that in the interest of the old man's safety, he had to vacate his home. The officer conceded that the man had done considerable improvements but there were some structural problems and the man had not gotten those issues corrected. Bottom line, the man was ordered to move. He could continue repairs but not live there while making them.

This post bums me out. I'm all for improving the neighborhoods through historic restoration, but can't the historic nature of the neighborhoods also be maintained by assisting the elderly when it comes to their home improvements? Did anyone offer to help the old man, or was there too much excitement over new money through a new owner?

If you take the time to talk to some of the older folks, they have excellent stories about the old times. My personal favorite is the one about when the railroad company used to run an engine up and down Nicholson Street once in a blue moon in order to maintain their rights to that land. This was a track that leads to no where but up and down Nicholson Street and old business sites that had long ago gone away. Of course the railroad didn't care about the land enough to maintain the property on either side of the tracks, so it ended up covered in litter and dead grass. The old locals got so fed up with it they very carefully unbolted a section of the track. When the engine would slowly roll up Nicholson, it would derail. The railroad company would have to send out one of those giant cranes to put the engine back on the track after the crew had repaired it. Then, the locals would very sneakily go to another section of Nicholson and unbolt the track there with the same results. After awhile, the railroad company got so fed up with the repeated derailings, they surrendered their rights back to the city. A little guerilla style gentrification, but we got a great hike and bike trail out of it! Those old locals were the first neighborhood preservationists!

Now, if the old man who told me that story had been forced out of his slightly sketchy house, I never would have heard the story. Of course he wasn't selling crack or running prostitutes, although he did drink an occasional beer on the front porch on a hot day. Can't say I didn't supply and join him a time or two! Any way, crack houses and their occupants suck and should be driven out, but take it easy on the old dudes! Help a brother up!

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There sure are some cruel stories being told on this thread. I hope my neighbors aren't this cruel, but from the historic district thread, I think some are worse.

What is cruel? Trying to get people to maintain property values and live in a decent place?

Also - I don't get the whole "maintain the historic nature of the neighborhood" argument for the parts of 1st ward originally discussed in this thread and in many parts in and around the Heights in general. Shotgun shathole shacks aren't historic. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's historic. We're talking about residences that should be condemned and demolished.

I'll take the hated townhomes so many on here despise over this blight any day.

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What is cruel? Trying to get people to maintain property values and live in a decent place?

Also - I don't get the whole "maintain the historic nature of the neighborhood" argument for the parts of 1st ward originally discussed in this thread and in many parts in and around the Heights in general. Shotgun shathole shacks aren't historic. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's historic. We're talking about residences that should be condemned and demolished.

I'll take the hated townhomes so many on here despise over this blight any day.

Tell me what makes the individuals living there shady, please.

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Tell me what makes the individuals living there shady, please.

Hanging out at 2 am with groups of people drinking 40's, stealing shopping carts from the Target nearby and leaving them in the their yard, several people coming in and out at all times of day with cars driving up - stopping for 3 min while someone from the house comes up to the car window and then leaves, etc

enough?

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This post bums me out. I'm all for improving the neighborhoods through historic restoration, but can't the historic nature of the neighborhoods also be maintained by assisting the elderly when it comes to their home improvements? Did anyone offer to help the old man, or was there too much excitement over new money through a new owner?

If you take the time to talk to some of the older folks, they have excellent stories about the old times. My personal favorite is the one about when the railroad company used to run an engine up and down Nicholson Street once in a blue moon in order to maintain their rights to that land. This was a track that leads to no where but up and down Nicholson Street and old business sites that had long ago gone away. Of course the railroad didn't care about the land enough to maintain the property on either side of the tracks, so it ended up covered in litter and dead grass. The old locals got so fed up with it they very carefully unbolted a section of the track. When the engine would slowly roll up Nicholson, it would derail. The railroad company would have to send out one of those giant cranes to put the engine back on the track after the crew had repaired it. Then, the locals would very sneakily go to another section of Nicholson and unbolt the track there with the same results. After awhile, the railroad company got so fed up with the repeated derailings, they surrendered their rights back to the city. A little guerilla style gentrification, but we got a great hike and bike trail out of it! Those old locals were the first neighborhood preservationists!

Now, if the old man who told me that story had been forced out of his slightly sketchy house, I never would have heard the story. Of course he wasn't selling crack or running prostitutes, although he did drink an occasional beer on the front porch on a hot day. Can't say I didn't supply and join him a time or two! Any way, crack houses and their occupants suck and should be driven out, but take it easy on the old dudes! Help a brother up!

OK, I'm not trying to "bum out" anyone. Nor am I trying to be cruel. I was just stating what transpired on the one day I attended a Neighborhood Protection hearing.

I did feel sorry for the old man who had to vacate his home before continuing repairs. This was a legal hearing. He had already gotten many communications from the city, as does anyone who gets a citation from Neighborhood Protection. These things don't just get decided on overnight. NP makes several visits to a questionable property over several months or even years time so it's not a surprise when an owner gets a final notice of the impending hearing. He had opportunities to ask neighbors to help him, ask neighbors or family to come to the hearing with him, or get help from other sources. And I probably should have stressed earlier, this did not happen in my neighborhood. It was a hearing that took place immediately before the one concerning the property I and my neighbors were there to observe. So, I guess I should not have related that part. I just thought it might be of some interest to some folks. Not all, just some. I mean the part about what goes on in one of those hearings. Also, there was no hint at all that the man would sell the property to a builder or anything like that. He wanted to live there. It was structurally unsound as it stood, according to NP.

As for the house in my neighborhood, that issue goes back to 2007 so it was not an overnight surprise either. It had been vacant for over 10 years and was totally neglected. Some interior walls had been gutted. Roof gone, the whole back side was gone and the once nice hardwood floors had seen so much rain, they were completely ruined. It had an attached garage and the outside brick wall of that garage was crumbling at the bottom. Unwanted animals and people were getting in there so who knows what was going on. I'm pretty sure that Red's house would never get in that condition, right?

We are a very preservation minded neighborhood, just not historic preservation ordinance minded. Sorry to get so off topic. Just wanted the OP to know about NP and a little about how they work.

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Hanging out at 2 am with groups of people drinking 40's, stealing shopping carts from the Target nearby and leaving them in the their yard, several people coming in and out at all times of day with cars driving up - stopping for 3 min while someone from the house comes up to the car window and then leaves, etc

enough?

Wasn't there a collective agreement that we would stop talking about runaway shopping carts in this forum?? Just kidding of course, but it will probably start a whole new branch to this thread. :)

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Hanging out at 2 am with groups of people drinking 40's.

If this makes a person shady, then I don't want to be the opposite of shady.

Seriously though, I didn't read through everyone's replies, but Texas has exemptions for homesteads, if this is the house the owner has claimed as their homestead the state of Texas cannot and will not allow your house to be possessed (non-spiritually of course) as compensation for money owed.

So that may not be an option.

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What is cruel? Trying to get people to maintain property values and live in a decent place?

Also - I don't get the whole "maintain the historic nature of the neighborhood" argument for the parts of 1st ward originally discussed in this thread and in many parts in and around the Heights in general. Shotgun shathole shacks aren't historic. Just because it's old doesn't mean it's historic. We're talking about residences that should be condemned and demolished.

I'll take the hated townhomes so many on here despise over this blight any day.

Maybe I'm missing something, but ganging up on an old man on a fixed income and kicking him out of his house sounds cruel. Maybe the neighborhood association could have been more tactful and volunteered to spend a day helping the guy make repairs instead of taking him to court. I hope the old man isn't having to sleep under the Pierce elevated.

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Hanging out at 2 am with groups of people drinking 40's, stealing shopping carts from the Target nearby and leaving them in the their yard, several people coming in and out at all times of day with cars driving up - stopping for 3 min while someone from the house comes up to the car window and then leaves, etc

enough?

Yep that should do it.

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I've lived in 1st Ward for about 20 years now. This neighborhood was a hidden treasure that was recently discovered when was Target built. My mom bought her house in 1995 for around 26K and now skyrocketed. I wish i would of known i would of bought several properties.

 

Crockett Elementary was recently upgraded and remodeled with the HISD bond money and that schools looks really great. I live directly in front of the rice company that just closed. Can't wait until start building some nice homes. It will take little awhile, but 1st Ward will look and become a great neighrborhood. 

Edited by Rony

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