Weslaco Man Says Program to Tear Down Buildings Endangers Him
WESLACO – The city of Weslaco decided it’s time for the wrecking ball. It plans to get rid of its abandoned homes.
Weslaco's city commission approved the demolition of eight abandoned buildings last week after the owners failed to respond to notices. Now, the city says those structures must come down within the next 60 days.
Weslaco resident Librado Benavidez lives next door to two of them. After raising his family in this neighborhood, he now spends his time with his 5-month-old puppy, Guero.
"My daughter gave him to me so I won't be alone in my house and gave me when he was a baby with a bottle," says Benavidez.
Benavidez says the houses next door are coming down. He's worried about who hangs out in the abandoned homes.
"They've been abandoned and nobody does nothing. Especially at night when you walk by yourself to the store. It's a lot of trouble," he adds.
Benavidez says he's very happy the old, abandoned, run-down homes in his neighborhood are being torn down but he's concerned that the actual tearing down process could be dangerous.
"The wiring is probably too old and everything can catch on fire because everything is dry. Like this summer was so – different weather we're having. The fire can quickly spread to another building, then another building," he says.
CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to the Weslaco City Code Enforcement Department. They said safety first.
"Building inspectors will go out there, they'll assess the property and we'll discuss. We'll have a plan of action, how we're going to knock it down. We'll make sure that the gas is disconnected, the power is disconnected and then from there we'll go forward on knocking it down," says Joe Pedraza with the city of Weslaco.
Pedraza says he is sure the city's public works department will be careful with the machinery it uses in those neighborhoods.
"That area's pretty tight. So, more than likely, they're probably going to use a backhoe," he notes.
Pedraza tells us the city will make a decision on what to do with the vacant lots after those structures are torn down.
Benavidez was worried about the danger to his puppy.
Pedraza has this message, don't worry, Mr. Benavidez. Just keep Guero on your property. He'll be just fine.
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