Houston – In northwest Houston, not far from West Little York and Antoine Drive, is a neighborhood that no longer exists, although there is still old subdivision signage identifying the area as Arbor Oaks.
The last home in the area was torn down last year, part of a 20-year effort to “de-develop” the subdivision that once had more than 200 homes.
The Harris County Flood Control District now owns the properties in Arbor Oaks, two of which are now inhabited by tent dwellers.
The curb cuts for the driveways were filled in and the foundations of the houses were also removed.
The area floods regularly and the captures appear to have begun after Tropical Storm Allison in 2001.
Now Arbor Oaks, sandwiched between White Oak Bayou and Vogel Creek, is a Frisbee golf park, but crime in the area, which includes at least four other functioning subdivisions, has increased, comparing 2010 to 2020.
In 2010, the Houston Police Department beat 6B30 in recording 1,999 police incidents, with theft, burglary and aggravated assault as the top three crime categories.
In 2020, police beating itself recorded 2,879 police incidents, with simple assault, vandalism, and aggravated assault as the top three crime categories.
Less than four miles northwest, is another subdivision, heading in the same direction, Woodland Trails West, section one.
“I don’t feel insecure, I never have. Honestly, knock on the wood, I’ve never had a problem,” said Maria Matinez, a 20-year resident.
Martinez once had six other homes on his cul-de-sac, now it’s the only one left on his block.
Martinez and the remaining 30-40 families took note of a November 2022 homicide, an 18-year-old man who was fatally shot inside his car nearby.
A deputy from the Harris County Sheriff’s Office noted in a crime scene report at the time, “the subdivision is poorly developed and most of the lots are owned by the Harris County Flood Control District.” .
“It’s hard to call it a community when you have three or four houses, how can you operate as a community,” said Sheri Smith, professor of urban planning and interim department chair at Texas Southern University.
There is certainly no shortage of new neighborhood construction in the Houston area, especially outside the Houston city limits.
These high-cost projects are often always undertaken by established and well-funded corporate players.
Terry Alleyne, Houston resident and welder by trade, wants to reverse that trend.
Alleyne is trying to jumpstart a neighborhood that completely disappeared in 2010.
The defunct Sims Bayou Vista neighborhood once had about 40 one-story homes, located on a strip of land between Sims Bayou and Airport Boulevard.
Now, the earth is empty.
Alleyne built his three-story house (with no first floor living quarters) to resist flooding.
If and when capital becomes available, Alleyne wants to build more similar homes.
He and his family are concerned about crime in the area and as KPRC 2 conducted the interview, a man across the street appeared to have passed out on the sidewalk.
Alleyne has security cameras and his wife is comfortable enough with their new neighborhood to want to stay, he said.
“I come from a neighborhood where the police come at two or three in the morning because of domestic violence, so for my wife and I, we love that,” Alleyne said, indicating they are happy to call Sims Bayou Vista home.
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