A home located at 410 Nicar Street before demolition. The property has been the site of drug activities, fires, and complaints from neighbors, according to County officials. The county began to demolish the area on Monday, Sept. 26, 2022.

Piles and piles of trash have become an eye-sore for residents in one Aldine neighborhood. Since 2016 neighbors have been complaining about the home they say is being used for drugs and other illegal activities.

“By dealing with these issues at a community level, you change the quality of life, you eliminate the unsightliness of it, but you also eliminate the opportunity that individuals will see it as an opportunity to hide to do their drugs,” Precinct 2 Harris County Commissioner Adrian Garcia said. “The opportunity to have gang members come and congregate, the opportunity for people to drink and cause havoc and the opportunity to further victimize the people in this very same community.”

The county is using $1 million through its American Rescue Plan funds to combat the issue.

“The process previously was very cumbersome because … the Health Department literally was almost single-handedly managing this issue, but now with the collective coordination of the sheriff’s office, and all that goes into the investigative process,” Garcia said. “But the way these things culminate is, number one, most of these sites tend to be crime magnets, they tend to attract the most unhealthy and unsafe circumstances that a community can bear.”

The sites also can cause fires. Harris County Deputy Tommy Berry said the location at 410 Nicar Street, has been responsible for multiple fires, with the latest one in February. Next door, a home has been damaged several times due to those fires.

“At one time it was two complete mobile home structures here,” Berry added. “One is completely burnt to the ground and the other one is about halfway mark coming around.”

Berry said the couple who owned the property are deceased, which left three members of the family left to sort the legal process out.

“For the health department to get permission to clean up the property, we had to get an agreement between all the three descendants of the original owner,” said Berry. “We got all three descendants to agree to a cleanup, which is not going to cost them anything. All this is from grant money. So, we’re going to come in today and hopefully start cleaning it.”

Commissioner Garcia, Harris County Public Health officials and Berry pulled the plug to have the single family home demolished, which was a welcomed site to see for residents.

“I’ve worked with a family to get to this point. And the health departments worked with the family. If the family had to pay for this, no timeline of what they would charge to get this cleaned up,” Berry said. “I know the neighbors are happy to that we’re out here finally tackle tackling this.”