A METRO bus stops in front of a dirty, empty apartment complex near 290 and Bingle in northwest Houston. Some of the doors and windows are boarded up, others are open, inviting drugs, and whoever wants to come in.
Nearby residents and business people have begged the city for several years to tear it down. Stepping out of the bus was a group of politicans. These politicians and business leaders say something will be done about the area.
“We believe that Houston can be a star of revitalization and reform and we’re going to look at federal funds and a partnership with a number of individuals, which would include Steve Francis who has a big heart to make things better.”
That was Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee. For non sports fans, Steve Francis is a former member of the Houston Rockets. He and his wife Shelby have a foundation that helps underprivileged youth, and so they joined the politicians and city leaders and wondered what they could do to help.
“It’s good to see that we can make a difference in someone else’s life. Cause we have been blessed.”
Wayne Norden is President of a community group that seeks to improve Northwest Houston. He and area residents have been pleading with the city for several years to tear down the Candlewood Trails complex.
“We’ve been working nonstop on this issue of getting this kind of blight out of the community. It takes down the entire neighborhood. It takes down the retail businesses. It damages everything. And the projects that we are talking about now have an opportunity to change the entire mission of what this organization and what this community is going to look like in the future. Instead of being a place of blight, it’s going to be a community of hope.”
The units at Candlewood Trails are actually condominiums with individual owners. The city says the problem has been trying to track down all the various owners and notifying them before they can tear down the facility. State lawmakers changed the law so that the city now only has to send notices to the property owner’s last known address. State representative Sylvester Turner believes the eyesore will come down soon.
“There is a hearing scheduled on this particular property before the court on September 8th. We anticipate the order will be given to demolish this complex, and I believe with the strong support of the city that before the year is out the Candlelight Apartments will be demolished.”
It was Turner who helped get the law changed that makes the demolition possible.