Demolition in South Dallas Marks Turnaround for Neighborhood | KERA News

Demolition in South Dallas Marks Turnaround for Neighborhood

May 24, 2012

Dallas officials and the Texas National Guard tore down their 105th abandoned home today. The Guard has helped many cities throughout the state clean up since 1993. 

This southern Dallas sector demolition represents a turnaround here.

Dozens of students and the principal from J.P. Starks Elementary shouted “knock it down,” and cheered the demolition of this dilapidated, white, one-story wood frame house on Vandervoort Drive. 

"I’m actually the Principal of J.P. Starks, Lynette Howard. Around our neighborhood we have several sites like this. Our students walk past these neighborhoods seeing houses that are no longer lived in," Howard said. "The biggest effect that we want to have is have a better community, a cleaner community."

Trash littered the yard of the property with smashed out windows. 

Fifth-grader Shabria Brown said she passes homes like this every day on her walk to school. 

"It’s very dangerous to see this crack and stuff like drug houses  around the neighborhood because some kids are dropping out of  school because  of all this crack," Brown said. "We shouldn’t be around this."

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said this demolition, funded by the Texas National Guards’ Operation Crackdown, meshes with his Grow South effort to develop parts of Dallas ignored for decades by city leaders.

"I’m going to be very happy to see this neighborhood improve by this abandoned house gone, because good people shouldn’t have to worry that someone will hurt them or their kids or steal or damage their property, that’s what these homes create," Rawlings said.

Rawlings said demolishing these properties requires the owner’s permission. In this case it was granted because the elderly owner could neither maintain it nor pay to tear it down. Often, Rawlings said the city then gets title. 

"We then put it out for bid at the county level, or we give it to someone like Habitat and they’ll build homes on it as well and we create a land bank that way," Rawlings said.

In this case, a relative of the homeowner plans to rebuild a quality home on this site.  48 more Dallas demolitions are scheduled by the National Guard. 

"I’m going to be very happy to see this neighborhood improve by this abandoned house gone, because good people shouldn’t have to worry that someone will hurt them or their kids or steal or damage their property, that’s what these homes create," Rawlings said.

Rawlings said demolishing these properties requires the owner’s permission. In this case it was granted because the elderly owner could neither maintain it nor pay to tear it down. Often, Rawlings said, the city then gets title. 

"We then put it out for bid at the county level, or we give it to someone like Habitat [for Humanity] and they’ll build homes on it as well and we create a land bank that way," Rawlings said.

In this case, a relative of the homeowner plans to rebuild a quality home on this site.  48 more Dallas demolitions are schedule by the National Guard. 

Operation Crackdown Official Infosheet