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City of Tulsa demolishing abandoned buildings

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Reported by: Ian Silver
Updated: 5/22/2012 9:28 am Published: 5/21/2012 6:00 pm

Across the City of Tulsa abandoned, run-down homes and buildings are becoming a blight on neighborhoods.

Now, one by one these neighborhood nuisances are coming down, demolished by the City of Tulsa.

Monday morning another was added to the list, as a house in the 2000 block of N. Quincy Ave was demolished.

The abandoned homes often become a haven for criminals and homeless people, which causes an array of problems for others in the neighborhood.

The one torn down Monday morning was no different.

"It had big holes in the roof, and then we've seen homeless people come out of it," Richard Hughes, who lives two doors down from the demolished house, said.

He worried about drug and other criminal activity happening in the house, and the constant appearance of trash and waste around the property.

Now that it's gone, he feels much more comfortable with his since, Richard Jr., 11, playing outside, and so does the child.

"Keep it nice and clean, people not using drugs and stuff, throwing pop cans everywhere and stuff, polluting the place," Hughes Jr. said. "It will really help out."

Melissa Siquieros lives right next to the abandoned property, and said it was more than just crime she worried about. Constant noise at all hours of the night, and fire danger were also concerns.

"If that house catches on fire, there goes could be two or three more added onto that, and then people lose their homes," she said.

The City of Tulsa has increased the demolition efforts and funding for the program each of the past few years. In the 2011 fiscal year, the city demolished 48 homes and buildings. by the end of the 2012 fiscal year, which wraps up at the end of June, a total of 178 homes and buildings will have been demolished.

Many of those demolitions were paid for out of the City's general fund, but close to half were paid for with outside grants.

In his budget proposal for the 2013 fiscal year, Mayor Dewey Bartlett has asked for $500,000 out of the general fund to pay for demolitions. At an average of about $5,000 per building demolished, that should ensure at least 100 homes are torn down. With outside grants he hopes the city can secure, the goal is to top 200 demolitions in the 2013 fiscal year.

Richard Kelley said things have greatly improved since a house in his North Tulsa neighborhood was demolished. Before, he said problems were rampant in the entire area.

"People hiding drugs inside of them, people doing drugs inside of them, they're creating fire hazards, the grass, and the vandalism that kids go by and do to them," Kelley said. "And they're just eyesores on Tulsa."

He too worries about his kids playing in the neighborhood while there are still plenty of other abandoned homes.

"I don't like them when they go to play to happen upon one of those houses where someone may be in doing drugs or anything else, because you never know what those people are capable of."

Even though some Tulsans argue the criminals and homeless people will just move on to the next abandoned house or building, Kelley said the city just needs to keep at it until the job is done and there are no other places for them to hide.

"They should do the same thing to that one, until they're gone, gone," Kelley said. "Because that's the only way we'll clean Tulsa up, clean the streets up, clean the neighborhoods up, and get rid of the problems that we have in the neighborhoods."

If there is an abandoned house or building near your home that's been causing problems for the neighborhood, you can request that the city add it to the demolition list.

Just call the city's Customer Care Center at 918-596-2100.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Common Sense - 8/5/2013 7:25 AM
0 Votes
Let's just call these human traffickers what they really are...slave holders, and they don't seem to see anything wrong with that.

Common Sense - 8/5/2013 7:24 AM
0 Votes
Let's just call these human traffickers what they really are...slave holders, and they don't seem to see anything wrong with that.

watchdog11 - 5/22/2012 5:21 PM
0 Votes
These people don't want to kick the drugs, if they did, they would, spending more money to "cure" stupid isn't going to work, if they are going to build something, they should build (Habitat for Humanity) homes for families who can't afford to buy or rent a decent home for their kids, but make sure they are drug tested and background first, no druggies, criminals or con artists.

MisterNiceGuy - 5/22/2012 6:06 AM
0 Votes
I just hope that in place of these empty lots that are going to be created by this get turned into something positive, like community outreach centers to help the homeless, to get mental health for those who desperately need it due to the drug abuse and maybe some clinics of some sort to try and help these individuals kick these drug habbits. Addiction is no joke, so I say instead of getting rid of these drug houses etc, they work to help these folks who are down and out get clean.. Because if no effort as such is made they will just find new holes to crawl into and start this problem all over again... And how does that help our community? How does that help the kids that have to live around such places? It won't keep them any safer nor help the poor souls who are stuck in that terrible lifestyle. Dont move the problem, fix it so we won't have to continue this cycle. Just the thoughts of.someone who's seen and dealt with this problem first-hand...
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