|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.