President Trump’s border wall will be a yooooge disaster if the situation on Chapel Creek Boulevard in far West Fort Worth is any indicator. This red brick wall approximately 6 feet tall serves as a privacy barrier between the boulevard and the backyards of 15 property owners in the Little Chapel Creek neighborhood. But the wall, built in 1998, is crumbling. Bricks routinely fall to the sidewalk in some places. Some days when we drive by, bricks are lying across the sidewalk and blocking pedestrians from crossing safely. On other days, the bricks have been cleared away.
City staff says the 15 homeowners must come up with the $100,000 needed to tear down and replace the wall. The homeowners say, “Yeah, right. And we should also buy gold-plated bird feeders for our trees.”
This makes us wonder what Americans will say when Trump asks us to pay for a 1,000-mile border wall between the United States and Mexico. Cost estimates are unclear but range somewhere between $12 billion and $25 billion, depending on whether you’re asking construction experts or Trump. Initially, 45 said Mexico would pay for the wall. Mexico said, “Yeah, right. And we should also buy gold-plated sombreros for our siestas.”
The border wall is expected to be built with thick concrete and will surely be tougher than the Chapel Creek Wall. Toughness appears to be an important quality. Among the requirements for the border wall that the U.S. government recently listed as part of the bidding process is that it be “physically imposing” and extend 6 feet underground and be at least 18 feet high. And it must be tough enough to withstand extended attempts to break through it with a “sledgehammer, car jack, pick axe, chisel, battery operated impact tools, battery operated cutting tools, Oxy/acetylene torch, or other similar hand-held tools.”
Oh, and the wall could be as high as 55 feet tall, meaning the cost could soar beyond $25 billion. Oh, and something else Trump forgot to tell us: Building the wall will require taking land from Americans living on the border, using eminent domain in cases where property owners refuse to sell. Eminent domain can be long and difficult and involve lawyers, lawsuits, appeals, and on and on. But if that’s what it takes to make America great again, then the government should start stealing people’s property ASAP!
Tax money generated by Americans, including those who will lose their land to the feds in a rigged appeals process, will pay for a wall that is ludicrous in concept and will remain easily circumvented regardless of its height or thickness.
Closer to home, the Chapel Creek property owners insist the crumbling wall is the city’s fault because of shoddy inspections that occurred during construction all those years ago. The city’s stance is slightly different, or, to be more accurate, the polar opposite: The wall is on private property, and the city is legally restricted from spending tax money on private property.
The deadline for property owners to come up with a plan to replace the wall has come and gone and been extended and gone again. Gary Hogan, president of the Chapel Creek Neighborhood Association, said the replacement costs break down to about $5,000 to $10,000 per property owner, although one resident with a particularly big backyard might have to pay about $20,000. Anyone who doesn’t pay could get a lien put on his or her property, meaning the debt will be extracted the next time the property sells, Hogan said.
The homeowner with the big backyard, Jim Strachan, said the city is tentatively planning to begin demolition in May. Strachan bought his house in 2013 and said he didn’t know the wall was on his property. He figured it was city property. The wall began leaning and falling apart later that year and has been steadily growing worse, he said.
“If things go as planned, my life is going to be miserable,” Strachan said. “They are going to come and tear down the wall. I’m a retired veteran and can’t afford it. Then I’m going to be at their mercy. You wouldn’t believe the stress that’s been put on me for the past year-and-a-half.”