Fort Worth subdivision now a ghost town



Posted on August 15, 2009 at 4:46 PM

Updated Monday, Jan 7 at 10:59 PM

Llano Springs

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FORT WORTH - The grass is three feet tall. Look around and you'll see broken street lights and piles of construction debris.

That's how the unfinished Llano Springs subdivision looks. The builders went bust and the property looks like a ghost town. It sits on a prairie on the outskirts of southwest Fort Worth.

Homeowners moved there for some peace and quiet. But with only one-third of this subdivision complete, there's a little bit too much peace and quiet for residents.

Larry Kiels bought his home him in Llano Springs last November. Six months later, construction came to a halt.

"Supposedly they're going to put an amenity center in with a pool across the street over here," he said. "We just don't know what's going on with it."

Of 387 lots in the subdivision, only 34 homes are occupied. They are all loosely scattered around the overgrown prairie.

"Rabbits run through it and the coyotes run through it, and I'm sure the field mice do too," Kiels said.

It's so bad, code compliance gave out 353 citations for high grass last week; 53 properties were cited for construction debris. The lots are either owned by one of the three different builders - Twinmark, Wall or Bowen Family Homes - or had already been sold to private families.

"Tracking those down, and making sure they take responsibility for the property they own and mow the grass and clean up the lot - that's a big challenge," said Jungas Jordan, a Fort Worth City Council member representing District 6.

The other challenge is the bad crowd that is attracted to an isolated, unkempt area. Kiels said he's seen signs of minor vandalism. "Kids coming by shooting up things with paintball guns, parking at the end of the road, drag racing at the end of the road where it dead-ends here."

Bankruptcy or not, the city plans to hold the developer to its contract with the city. "They have the streets completed, the street lights, the sidewalks in, the median maintained and the park developed," Jordan said.

Not doing so could result in legal action. The city may issue liens for the cost of mowing the grass and administrative fees for a combined total of up $95,000 for all of the unkempt properties.

The city has also boosted police patrols in the neighborhood. Ultimately, officials hope another builder will pick up where the three left off.