Happy New Year and welcome to Hobby 2017!
The Hobby Area Management District board’s 2016 improvements included making the community more attractive, safer and easier to navigate. The ultimate goal is and always will be improving economic development and quality of life for residents as well as business and property owners. I was lucky to spend last year as the District’s executive director helping to achieve the board’s vision.
Together, with your help, we increased security, public outreach, beautification, and added more litter abatement, removing illegally dumped trash, and working with Scenic Houston – and many private donors – to beautify the Broadway corridor.
One major change was the board’s decision to transition to a core management team of District employees rather than a consultant team, as had been the case since the formation of the Hobby Area Management District. A full-time District staff will take the helm effective as of January 1, 2017 to provide a stable, committed presence for the long haul.
I am very pleased to have been chosen as the District’s executive director, and that the board approved funding for two additional, and in my opinion, very important, professional staff members.
Toby Stephens has joined us as the director of economic development and constituent services.
We are also pleased to announce that Gabrielle “Gabby” Dirden, formerly of the Houston Airport System, will act as director of communications, public affairs and support services.
Along with the transition to a core management team, to better serve the Hobby Area, the District will open its first office at 8121 Broadway in early January. An open house will be scheduled as soon as we are settled.
And now, a look ahead at what’s in store for the coming year:
- We will expand upon the great service we receive from SEAL Security Solutions by adding an important tool to their program by including HPD police officers to enhance the partnership. HPD will have specially marked police vehicles and will offer high visibility patrol.
- We are adding two additional security cameras to our system which has shown to diminish criminal activity at various areas of the District. These cameras are regularly moved around the district. Live feeds and quick capture video help our law enforcement and security teams arrest as well as preventing potential crimes.
Beautification and Image
While Broadway is our benchmark corridor, many of the various elements you will see completed in early 2017 will be used along other major corridors.
- Identity markers will be installed to let people know they are in the Hobby District. The signage employs exchangeable panels which may also be used for promoting events like the Super Bowl or HobbyFest.
- Bus shelters are being redesigned along Broadway, with additions of smaller shelters where there are only uncovered shelters now.
- The Broadway Enhancement Project in partnership with Scenic Houston will be completed in January and maintained by the District going forward.
- Major Corridor Clean-up – we will continue removing litter, dumping, and bandit signs as well as:
- Grooming trees, existing sidewalks and edging curbs, with the areas “between the sidewalks” cleaned up.
- The streets will be vacuumed and swept twice a month.
- More public art with the MiniMural program coming to fruition.
- Neighborhood Identity Signage – to help match the needs of the District and various Hobby neighborhoods with attractive identifying signage. A new matching grant program will go into effect this year.
- Redesigning street signage – to be more attractive and easier to read and follow.
- Preliminary plans are being made for additional trails and amenities along Sims Bayou for the enjoyment of the community to experience the area’s natural features.
Economic and Business Development
- Business Ambassador Program – will be restructured and expanded.
- Livable Centers Study – receive and review program to identify short and long term objectives and to determine what other studies are needed to develop a strategic plan to help guide the Economic Development program.
- Business Retention and Expansion program – identifying the strength and challenges for our existing companies to develop strategies to address or reduce them to create an environment for success.