DALLAS — "La Joya" means "the jewel" in Spanish. But one abandoned address on La Joya Drive in Dallas is far from precious.
“It’s been abandoned for three-and-a-half or four years, and nobody is taking care of it,” said neighbor Jack Eddy.
Eddy spends plenty of time dealing with the derelict across the way from his property, regularly mowing the front yard there. He’s given up on the overgrown backyard.
“It’s an eyesore," he said. "Like I say, I just get tired of looking at it.”
And then there’s the crumbling garage, sometimes frequented by neighborhood kids. It was boarded up some time ago by the city, but some of the plywood has been pried off. Inside, the structure is falling apart and is loaded with debris.
It’s clear that nothing good is going to happen in there.
Eddy said he's called the city and tried to get help.
Intermittently, Dallas Code Compliance has sent someone to mow the jungle in the backyard. The department has also papered the front door of the 1950-vintage 897-square-foot home with code violation stickers.
“You can see all the pieces of tape on the door where the stickers have been before," Eddy said. “And that’s done a whole lot of good," he added sarcastically.
So Eddy figured it might do more good to contact We Hear Ya.
“I saw that you guys were doing some good and helping some folks, and I say, 'You know what? I’m going to give it a try and see if we can get something done about it.'"
We made some calls, and within a few hours, code compliance sent two crews by. But they kept going, so we went to visit them.
We spoke with James Martin, director of code compliance for the City of Dallas.
“Right now, we are reassessing the property," he said.
Again — the home has been vacant for nearly four years. The overgrown lawn isn’t something that should need to be “reassessed.”
We asked Martin if perhaps his department might be able to mow more frequently. He assured they will try to do as many patrols by the property as possible, adding that the city has hundreds of other abandoned properties like this to tend to.
When asked specifically about the crumbling, dangerous garage, Martin told us the city will now move forward with a process to tear down the structure. But he said that will require more time.
“The demolition process can be lengthy, but I am thinking it’ll be about three or four months before we see some activity, like getting a demolition order," he said.
This shouldn’t be the city’s problem or the neighbors’ problem. The property owner should be the one taking care of all this.
A relative of the owner told us he lives out of state now and that he told the bank years ago to go ahead and foreclose on the La Joya property. We’re now pressing the bank to find out why they haven't.
If you have a problem in your neighborhood, let us know about it at this link.