AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — Around the North Amarillo area, there are the sounds of the remains of an old apartment complex being demolished.

“This has been sitting here as an eyesore for several years,” said Keith Grays, a community activist and resident of North Heights since he was born.

He told that many residents brought the problem property to the city’s attention more than five years ago.

“There started to be a large number of vagrants that were residing here camping out here, and it caught fire. And two years later, it would catch fire again, in the last year, it burns twice. And so this last burn, it burned to the ground,” he explained.

Grays told us that while he and other residents are happy it finally got cleaned up, more needs to be done. He said residents are paying taxes but not seeing results.

“Whether they own a home or they pay a sales tax in a local grocery store, it still goes towards general revenues to operate our city budget. And so, we’re just asking for, show us the money. Show us what you budgeted out of $400 million for an area that’s dilapidated and slowly depreciating,” he noted.

People who live here say more than anything, the neighborhood lacks resources.

“How can our kids play out here and they can’t drink water?,” said Keisha Grimes, who grew up in north Amarillo. “They can’t use the restroom, they can’t do anything. It’s hot out here. There should be a splash pad for them to play and be able to have fun and be kids. They put this little stuff out here, yea it’s nice but it’s not enough.”

We took these concerns to Mayor Cole Stanley, and he said they’re listening and working to improve conditions.

“Facilities, structures, buildings that are already condemned, they’re dangerous,” said Mayor Stanley. “They benefit a criminal aspect of society, we need them gone. And so, we are putting monies into that and will continue to feed that so that we can get to more structures, we can tear them down, clean them up”.

Mayor Stanley said with the age of some of the neighborhoods in North Amarillo, infrastructure improvements are the foundation for growth.

“For us to have that type of marketability over there, we need to have some infrastructure. And so we have a few plans that are in the works, on how we can try to get some infrastructure underground and taking care of those needs,” he added.

Stanley also says while North Amarillo residents’ feelings are valid and more will be done, he’s also asking for time and patience.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re trying to work that budget, and I would preface this, we’ve had three months, you know, we’ve had three months to work on these budgets. And we’ll just now have our first budget put out in September. So, you know, give us a little bit of time to redirect, this is a large ship,” he said.

Mayor Stanley said he and the city council work for the citizens and invited anyone to come to the city council with their concerns and solutions.

He said they’re willing to listen and work with the public to improve all aspects of the city.

Grays invited everyone out to a Labor Day Event at Mary Hazelrigg Park, that will feature a praise and prayer vigil, free lunch, keynote speeches, voter registration, wine tasting and more.

He added that the Amarillo City Health Department Mobile Health Unit will be out for community health screenings and information.

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