ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – The City of Abilene said it will be targeting 15 neighborhoods to continue a demolition program aimed to remove homes that are deemed ‘beyond repair.’

While this program is an effort to beautify the Key City, some residents, like Riley Hood, have voiced their concerns about what comes after the removal of those houses.

Hood has been the pastor at St. John Missionary Baptist Church for 15 years. The church is located on Carver Street, which is one of the neighborhoods targeted by Abilene’s Demolition Program.

“It’ll make the neighborhood look good to come in and rehab and build the place back up, but it won’t be affordable. The homes won’t be affordable for people to rent or buy,” said Hood.

Since the program began in 2019, they have had 35 successful demolitions. The program does work with owners to give them the opportunity to rehabilitate their property, or they may choose to sell the land once the structure has been removed.

Director of Neighborhood Services, Leticia Reeves explained, “We do not take possession of the property. That still belongs to the homeowner, so it’s up to them to either rebuild or sell the property. That’s pretty much cleaning up Abilene, cleaning up those abandoned, vacant homes that there’s no improvement.”

If the property owner does not comply, the city will then issue a contract for demolition of the property and the owner will be charged for the cost of that demolition. The program has asked the city for an additional $150,000 for this year that would take care of demolishing 10 more abandoned homes.