HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — In the Texas heat, there's probably nowhere else most of us would rather be than the pool.

In Kingwood, the answer is more complicated, as many worry the derelict homes near the pool could invite unwanted visitors.

"Sometimes they break into the pool and try to swim," said lifeguard Octavio Martinez.

We may not have seen these people for ourselves, but signs of graffiti and makeshift staircases show the townhouses have been lived in recently.

Hurricane Harvey showed no mercy at the River View Townhomes as it washed away many of the homes in the area. What was left behind was a ghost town.

"You see life in the back of you and then you see zombie land," said neighbor, Susana Salazar.

In the years since Harvey, Salazar says she's been patient with the process, but still worries about kids being exposed to crime.

"It's just you don't know what's back there," Salazar said. "We've seen people walking back there. It just doesn't make us feel comfortable."

We spoke with council member Dave Martin's office who tell us the property is part of the city's Bayou Greenways 2020 project with the Houston Parks Board. The idea is to turn the area into a boardwalk greenspace.

For this to be accomplished, the Harris County Flood Control District is in charge of buying out the properties for demolition.

HCFCD says they've purchased 65 percent of the townhouses, but admit that what's left behind may be the most visible. Depending on your perspective, you may not see much progress.

Standing in their way is the rather lengthy buyout process that can take anywhere from 8-18 months, after a homeowner has agreed to their terms.

In the meantime, Martin says he's using his Council District Service Fund to increase more patrols in the area.

Kingwood was the first HCFCD buyout area in the county to begin these types of demolition.


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