Once Again, Dallas Habitat for Humanity to Raze a Crime-Ridden Fair Park "Hidey-Hole"

This is Ollie's Place at 4909 S. Pacific Avenue, in the shadow of Fair Park. Till very recently the building, constructed in 1965, was owned by Martin Needom Jr., who lives not far away. It was once a neighborhood convenience store in an area zoned residential -- not uncommon in that part of town. But at some point it became a bar, at which point it became a regular stop for Dallas Police.

The place has been burgled frequently in recent years: Everything from chainsaws to pool-table coin slots to cases of Natural Light have been lifted from Ollie's, according to police reports available online. According to Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity, that's not the half of it: "Dallas Police records show 36 criminal complaints at the Ollie's address since January 2005, including over 20 assaults and aggravated assaults."

Which is why, tomorrow, Habitat for Humanity will once again haul out the bulldozers and raze Olllie's Place, just as it did in October when it reduced the former Pete's Sandwich Shop on Baldwin to rubble. This, of course, is part of Habitat's Fight the Blight campaign, which expects to spend $5 million "revitalizing the neighborhood," in the words of Dallas Area Habitat for Humanity CEO Bill Hall, by ridding the neighborhood of 25 "old, dingy structures in Dallas that are hidey-holes for drugs and other criminal activity." Ollie's Place will be the seventh troublesome structure to bite the dust.

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