In some North Texas neighborhoods, residents might fight to demolish a 100 year old house that code inspectors consider a dangerous nuisance.
The opposite is happening in the 10th Street Historic District in the Dallas Oak Cliff area where many residents see a bright future in preserving the past. They want every piece of the former Freedman’s town saved.
“We want to save our history,” said resident Shaun Montgomery. “Yes, some of the houses have become dilapidated, but they can be restored.”
An inspector returned Wednesday to the house at 1105 East 9th Street to be sure no gas or electric utilities were connected. The house built in 1911 is slated for demolition within weeks.
“I believe this is a beautiful house and it could be renovated,” Montgomery said.
The house has 13 years of unpaid taxes totaling $14,029.94. That’s almost as much as the $17,860 total value for the property on the tax roll.
Neighbor Robert Swann said the century old construction methods have value that can not be replaced.
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“This house and houses like it are exactly the reason the National Register identified Tenth Street,” Swann said.
The location is near a planned Oak Cliff deck park over the I-35E R.L. Thornton Freeway and near the Dallas Zoo.
Swann believes it is a rare opportunity for a historic attraction in Dallas.
“Like a ‘lived in’ restoration, is a good way of putting it, as part of a larger Oak Cliff cultural campus,” he said.
Neighbors hope to see more new construction on vacant lots where homes have already been demolished.
But Montgomery said neighbors want affordable housing.
“And we would like it to be more of the historic style,” Montgomery said.
The new City Council Member for the neighborhood, sworn in Wednesday, said she supports reviving the old neighborhood.
Former Council Member Carolyn Arnold was the winner of a special election to replace Dwaine Caraway who resigned after pleading guilty to bribery in the Dallas County Schools bus stop arm camera scandal.
“We know that gentrification, and thus, displacement is a concern. But that can be and it's going to be a thriving community. But it's going to take the community working together,” Arnold said.
At the same time, neighbors want enforcement to see that code violations are not ignored.
Arnold said the city could also provide home repair support to help low income owners fix aging structures.
A potential owner said Wednesday that he intends to purchase the 9th street house and bring it up to code to avoid demolition.
Arnold said there may be legal hurdles, but a new owner could be a solution for that house.
“I’m sure the community wants someone who is a stakeholder, who is going to invest in the community for the good of the community,” she said.