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City to take ‘first proactive step’ in decades on abandoned East Lubbock apartment complex

Updated: Mar. 1, 2021 at 4:20 PM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A court order in late 2020 has given the City of Lubbock the chance to demolish an abandoned apartment complex in East Lubbock that has attracted flames, trash and crime in the years after its demise.

“People are ready for action,” East Lubbock native Rosalind Priestley said. “They’re ready to see some bulldozers coming over here, some hard helmets and they are ready to see some changes.”

The property sits at 1017 E. 29th Street. Seven vandalized and vacant buildings stand among weeds and trash.

Priestley said a class reunion took her to the area a few years ago. What she found shocked her.

“I can’t even imagine bringing my grandkids over here, just to show them this is where their grandmother was reared from,” Priestley told KCBD. “It is hurtful. I can’t even do it because it is so ugly.”

She said she’s been in contact with the City of Lubbock, imploring them to take action on the property.

Director of Code Administration Stuart Walker tells KCBD the property has been a challenge for decades. The Lubbock Municipal Court in September of 2020 ordered the structures on it be demolished by the owner within 30 days. Otherwise, the City of Lubbock would be authorized to take similar action.

The owner, an Arthur Cruz out of San Antonio, has not responded to the City.

Walker said the City Council budgeted around $250,000 this fiscal year to allow for the asbestos abatement and other demolition processes of a structure. Walker adds that the court order renewal and request to the City Council will be a yearly requirement.

“We know there are funds and things that we can do to try to head that off,” Priestley said. “I’m not saying it’s going to be overnight but I think we can get this done a lot quicker.”

Walker told KCBD this would be the first proactive step in about 23 years to rid the Chatman Hill neighborhood of the dangerous property. He said crews had already cleared the remnants of two buildings that burned down. In 2017, the buildings that were left became a crime scene when a girl said she was being held captive there.

“All of this is a trap for little kids getting hurt, women getting raped,” Priestly said. “There’s more trash thrown over here almost like another landfill that’s inside the city limits as opposed to outside. I don’t think that I know of one part of Lubbock that looks this bad.”

Priestly said she intends to see this cleanup through and hopes to start an organization to enlist the help of others to leave the community better than it was found.

“You have to stand for something,” Priestly said. “Otherwise, it’ll continue to go in the direction it’s been.”

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