Clearing House: National Guard to demolish dilapidated structures

HARLINGEN — City officials say it’s time for the eyesores to go.

You’ve probably seen them, those dying, lifeless and unlivable houses no one seems to want or love.

Once again, the city has partnered with the Texas National Guard in a joint effort to demolish dilapidated structures that serve as a haven for criminal activity and as an outright eyesore for neighbors and others.

During the past five years, the city has demolished 134 unsafe, crime-ridden structures and worked with dozens of private property owners to demolish more than 94 others and rehabilitate many more.

Known as Operation Crackdown, the Texas National Guard will deploy a demolition unit of service men and women to be stationed in Harlingen from Feb. 29 through March 11.

The city has identified 13 structures to be demolished during that time.

“Operation Crackdown is an excellent initiative that eliminates properties that are eyesores, drug havens and ultimately dangerous,” City Manager Dan Serna said.

“Not only will we have cleaner and safer neighborhoods, but we will also significantly improve the quality of life for Harlingen residents.”

The Guard utilizes funds from drug seizures for the demolition of unsafe structures at no cost to property owners and little to no cost to the city.

The purpose is to turn a negative into a positive by returning drug seizure monies to neighborhoods via the demolition of crime-ridden structures that pose a danger to residents.

Citywide cleanup and beautification efforts will continue to be a priority, according to officials.

“We are extremely grateful to the Texas National Guard for the Operation Crackdown partnership we’ve cultivated for several years now,” Serna said.