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Harris County Commissioner Gene Locke Launches Program To Clean Up Precinct 1

It will target neglected and vacant properties that have been declared a public nuisance.

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  • Harris County employee Ronald Thomas works on boarding up an abandoned home in the Acres Homes area, which was the first property targeted as part of the clean-up program.
    Harris County employee Ronald Thomas works on boarding up an abandoned home in the Acres Homes area, which was the first property targeted as part of the clean-up program.
  • This abandoned home located in the Acres Homes neighborhood was the first property targeted as part of the clean-up program.
    This abandoned home located in the Acres Homes neighborhood was the first property targeted as part of the clean-up program.
  • Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Gene Locke (Left) and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (Right) say the program is a good example of effective collaboration between the County and the City.
    Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Gene Locke (Left) and Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (Right) say the program is a good example of effective collaboration between the County and the City.

Harris County Commissioner Gene Locke launched a program Tuesday to clean up neglected and vacant lots located in Precinct 1.

These are properties which have been declared a public nuisance and that are located within Houston city limits.

Locke thinks this is a good example of how the county and the City of Houston can effectively work together because the ultimate goal is public health and sanitation.

Overall, the program could target about 600 properties that have been declared a public nuisance through civil court proceedings initiated by the City of Houston.

"Some properties will take minimal clean up, others will take a lot. So, it’s difficult for us to say how many lots we can hit, but we will do as much as we can with the money that we have," said Locke during a press conference he held to start the program.

The Precinct 1 commissioner is working with a budget that ranges between $750,000 and $1 million dollars.

For Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, this kind of collaboration makes a difference in a time of limited resources.

"If the city was having to do it by itself, the odds of taking care of all six hundred would be remote," noted Turner at the press conference.

Joyce Nora, a 64 year-old retiree who's always lived in Acres Homes, where the program began, says the initiative is certainly welcome because there are several abandoned houses and "people going in and out."

"We really need Acres Homes cleaned up," Nora added.

Locke emphasized it's also important that Houston residents be proactive and encouraged residents to report abandoned and vacant lots to the city, as well as to his office.

In the coming weeks, county crews will clean up properties located in other parts of Precinct 1.

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