May 17, 2013 1:29 PM by Rachel Cole - firstname.lastname@example.org
CORPUS CHRISTI - Fire investigators are looking into a case of arson after a fire broke out early Friday morning at the old Pharaoh Valley Country Club. One long time resident, Carl Kuehn living near the clubhouse says it's no surprise to him that this fire may have been set on purpose.
"This is my eyesore, I have to look at everyday when I leave," Kuehn said.
The crumbling country club has been taking cosmetic hits for three years and Kuehn says for last 25 years, the property has slowly lost it's luster.
"It was really nice, we had beautiful tennis courts, and good clubhouse, lots of activity, great place, unfortunately it's fallen on hard times," he said.
Friday morning's fire didn't help and investigators believe homeless people set the fire on purpose inside the building. Crews were able to put out the hot spots within minutes and sadly Kuehn says he's not surprised by any trespassers.
"Homeless people get in there, in the winter time they'll start a fire and you can see all the brush around there, look at the proximity to the houses to the club," Kuehn said
Worried neighbors say they've taken the safety issues up with city hall and hoping for a solution.
"We've been hounding the city and we're really getting on it hard right now to try to get something done with this," Kuehn said.
Neighbors say the city plans to have crews board up the buildings and clean up the clutter, then send the bill for those services to the property owner, who Kuehn says blames residents for the rundown club.
"He blames the neighborhood for his failures, he says you didn't join the club you didn't support it and that's why I'm going under I can't afford to keep the place up," he said.
Some association members say they occasionally cut the grass and even trim the trees but maybe leveling the place is the best thing for it.
"If nothing more then just take it all down and make a park out of it that'd be better than having this to look at," Kuehn said.
The fire is still under investigation. Officials say luckily there's no electricity running through the building, which may have kept it from spreading. The owner checked out the damage to the property but had no comment.