On a steamy Saturday morning, several people stood watching as an excavator crunched into a dilapidated, abandoned building on a quiet neighborhood street.
Thanks to the Magnolia Citizens Police Academy Alumni Association (MCPAAA), the demolition at 158 Roy Street was finally taking place, as a result of volunteer efforts from businesses and citizens.
The MCPAAA was originally formed by Magnolia Citizens Police Academy graduates, and Williams Elementary teachers, Jill Gabriel and Summer Foltz. They approached Magnolia Police Chief Domingo Ibarra about projects that might build a stronger bond between citizens and the police department. He immediately suggested they try to find a way to demolish the Roy Street structure. It had long been a problem for the city because of code enforcement violations, but Ibarra was reluctant to take the property owner to court due to extenuating family circumstances.
“The ladies (Gabriel and Foltz) felt this project was out of their league, but I knew this group would find a way to do it -- and they did,” said Ibarra. “Now we know what they are capable of.”
The MCPAAA rallied a group of volunteers and engaged the services of local businesses. The demolition, was first scheduled for early July, but was delayed because of heavy rains that affected the area. On Aug. 4, the project got off to an early morning start. DLG Timber and North Houston Trucking provided the heavy equipment, WCA provided debris removal and Texas Star Propane disconnected the gas lines and removed the propane tank on the property -- all free of charge.
Many residents on Roy Street came out to support the effort, happy to have the dangerous structure eliminated.
The MCPAAA will be tackling other similar projects in the near future.
“We have other unsafe structures to raze and want to begin some projects for our senior citizens,” said Gabriel. “The Magnolia Citizens Police Academy taught us how we can get involved in the community and help make a difference.”
Magnolia residents who are at least 18 years of age can participate in MCPAA projects, and will soon be able to view information about upcoming events online on the Magnolia Police Department website at www.cityofmagnolia.com. A new Citizens Police Academy will begin starting Sept. 6. Classes run from 6 to 9 p.m. for a nine week period and are free of charge. Class size is limited, so officials say that those interested should call the police department office at 281-356-2500 soon to apply.
Photos by Cheryl Garcia