DALLAS – With the help of the Texas National Guard, the city of Dallas razed another haven for drugs and prostitutes Monday. This time, it was the Motel 3, an aging property located at Overton and Bonnie View roads in southern Dallas.
The campaign to rid neighborhoods of these blighted locations has the support of city officials like Mayor Mike Rawlings and City Council member Dwaine Caraway. Typically, heavy equipment moves in and scoops up the properties, leaving room for future residential and commercial growth –– legal ventures that will improve a neighborhood rather than drag it down.
So, have similar demolitions made a difference to the surrounding areas?
"They have to see all that activity that was going on over there such as prostitution, drugs, you name it and it needed to come down," said longtime resident Vivian Benjamin.
News 8 first reported on Motel 3 in 2007, when the city declared it a nuisance for renting hotel rooms to customers for less than 10 hours –– a feature that, legally, makes a business sexually-oriented under city law. The following year, neighbors won a zoning order to close it. Motel 3 is the sixth nuisance motel demolished using zoning laws.
And there's been some visible rejuvenation afterward. For instance, on Lancaster Road, an office complex has gone up where two motels once stood across from the VA Medical Center. But progress is slower near Fair Park, where another complex was once located along DART's Green Line. There's no development there, yet.
Nor is there much development for the area across from St. Philip's School near Interstate 45, where another motel once operated.
Councilman Caraway has led the effort to tear down the nuisance motels. He wants to see them demolished sooner than five years after they're shuttered.
"I've been hands-on, it's down today, we still have plans to do other stuff and hopefully we're speeding up that process at City Hall," he said.
With the latest motel gone, what remains is hope for something better, Benjamin said. Specifically, a place "where the children don't have to be afraid to come through here."