In June, my office hosted a community meeting to hear from TxDOT officials on their plans to move I-45 from the west to the east side of downtown. Construction could begin as early as 2021. As you know, I represent the two communities that will be most affected – East End and downtown – by the relocation of I-45 to the east side. I have made clear that it is of utmost importance to all of us for TxDOT to develop workable options to preserve connectivity between these two communities.
The current plans to close Polk Street and reroute Leeland Street will make it more difficult for District I residents to travel east-west. While I welcome the proposal to lower I-45 and I-69 below ground and eliminate that visual barrier, a physical barrier will remain if residents are unable to connect from one side of the freeway to the other.
Inner city communities have historically suffered as a result of poor planning by transportation agencies. Minority neighborhoods have been isolated or cut off entirely by freeway projects that, far too often, divide communities. That is why I have asked the City’s Planning and Public Works departments to review all east-west connections to ensure east side neighborhoods are not cut off by the proposed realignment. We cannot repeat the same mistakes of the past.
I will continue to work with the City’s Planning Department, Public Works, and all stakeholders to develop solutions to preserve and enhance east-west street connections. I expect to host a follow-up community meeting later this year. For more information on TxDOT’s project visit www.ih45northandmore.com.
Houston Council Member
Gus Wortham Golf Course Restoration Update
On December 31 2015, the Houston Golf Association (HGA) was awarded operations of Gus Wortham Park Golf Course through a contract with the City of Houston. It was through private funds and support from the community, that the HGA broke ground in January 2017 on the restoration construction of the 109-year old golf course, a true crown jewel of the East End.
As the HGA makes progress on phase 1 construction, you can see the transformation of this historic treasure. Drainage work is nearing completion, including a new irrigation lake and irrigation system that has been installed on the majority of the course. The construction team has also started installing new cart paths and the grassing process, having completed several holes so far. Barring any major weather delays, the HGA is working to have the restoration of the golf course completed and a grand reopening for the community by the end of 2017.
To stay up to date on the progress and any news, follow the Houston Golf Association on Facebook and Twitter. You can also see more photos of the golf course here. Fundraising is on-going to complete the project. To learn how you can help or for more information visit www.GusWortham.org
Public Input Requested for Mason Park Master Plan
Councilman Robert Gallegos and the Houston Parks & Recreation Department (HPARD) would like your input in the creation of a master plan for Mason Park.
Park master plans are created and updated to ensure that the vision of the park reflects the changing needs of the community. The master plan guides HPARD on what future improvements should be implemented and provides potential phasing and cost.
“Mason Park has grown to become a heavily used regional park,” Said Councilman Gallegos. “This will be the first master plan in the park’s history, so public comment is essential to this process.”
Two community meetings have already been held to gather ideas and input from park users. A third and final meeting will be held in October. Councilman Gallegos has allocated $85,000 from the District I Service Fund to develop the master plan. Public comments concerning Mason Park can be sent to: email@example.com
Canoe/Kayak Launch Sites Open on Brays Bayou
Houstonians who wish to see our bayous from a different vantage point will now be able to enjoy the beauty that is Brays Bayou from the water thanks to the addition of two new sites from where to launch canoes or kayaks.
The two new launch points are near Fonde Park at 2600 Lidstone St. and Brays Greenway Park at 8001 Hockley St. Last year, the first launch opened near Spurlock Park at 1600 N. MacGregor, and two more launch areas are scheduled to open in the next year near MacGregor Park and Mason Park.
The paddling trail initiative has been made possible thanks to the efforts of District I resident, Amy Dinn. “This project has been a collaborative effort with support from residents from many neighborhoods along Brays Bayou who participated in the planning efforts,” said Dinn. “Additional thanks goes to the Bayou Preservation Association who provided guidance and support on the site placement and construction of the launch sites. Hope to see everyone out on the bayou.”
“This paddling trail allows people to launch canoes or kayaks from multiple points along Brays Bayou,” said Councilman Robert Gallegos who allocated $5,000 in District I Service Dollars to help complete the paddling trail. “This water trail will attract even more residents to our waterways, and make a wonderful addition to the hike and bike trail that has been completed along the banks of the bayou.”
When fully completed, this urban paddling trail will span nearly 5 miles along Brays Bayou, from MacGregor Park to the Ship Channel in southeast Houston.
24th Annual Theater District Open House – August 27
The Theater District Houston will host its 24th Annual TransCanada Theater District Open House on Sunday, August 27, 2017, from noon to 5 p.m.
Marking the official launch of the fall performing arts season, the event is a free, family-friendly festival that takes place at five venues in the Theater District in downtown. Theater District Open House features an array of free programs, performances and activities that highlight the best of dance, music and theater on tap for the upcoming season.
Guests are invited for exclusive behind-the-scenes opportunities including backstage tours, demonstrations, performer meet-and-greets, Taiwanese calligraphy lessons, photo ops and more. Families with children will enjoy the Houston Symphony Instrument Petting Zoo, Storybook Opera with HGOco, arts and crafts with Society for the Performing Arts and creative movement miniclasses taught by Houston Ballet Academy instructors.
For more information visit www.TheaterDistrictOpenHouse.com.
New BCycle Station Set to Open in EaDo – August 28th
Join Houston Bike Share, Council Member Robert Gallegos and the City of Houston’s Planning & Development Department on August 28th at 6:30 p.m. for a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration for a new BCycle station in EaDo! The station is located at 1901 Cullen at the new Gateway on Cullen student apartment complex near the University of Houston.
Visit the Facebook Event Page to RSVP and share!
City Accepting Applications for Home Repair Program
The Houston Housing & Community Development Department (HCDD) is providing home repair assistance through the Home Repair Program. The program provides vital roofing, plumbing, electrical and heating repairs or system replacement to alleviate life, health or safety hazards. Additional enhancements such as scraping, painting, caulking and repairs to exterior sidings, doors, windows and handrails may be made if deemed impactful to habitability.
This program serves low- and moderate-income households and prioritizes households that have a head or co-head of household that is: 1) employed with minor children, 2) elderly, 3) has a disability, or 4) providing full-time care to a household member with a disability.
There are three basic qualifications, all of which are required for program eligibility:
1. Applicant must be the recorded owner and occupy the home as your primary residence.*
2. Property taxes must be current or on an approved payment plan in good standing.
3. Must meet income qualifications.
If approved, the applicant’s home will be inspected to determine the level of repairs needed (additional documents may be required).
To apply, complete the Home Repair Program Application here. The application is available in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese and Vietnamese. Mail the completed application to:
Houston Housing & Community Development Department
601 Sawyer Street, Suite 400
Houston, TX 77007
Attention: Home Repair Program
Or Fax to: 832-395-9660 (Please include your address in the subject line.) You can also email the completed application to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Houston Looking for Artists to Paint New “Mini Murals”
The City of Houston is gearing up to add another 38 artworks to street-side traffic signal control cabinets throughout Houston and is encouraging artists to submit qualifications for the opportunity to create a mural. Known as “Mini Murals”, Houston now has over 170 new original artworks in neighborhoods throughout the city, including several, like those pictured above, in District I.
If you are an artist interested in joining the registry, you can find the Open Call guidelines available here. Artists will need to submit their qualifications, including work samples, a letter of intent, and previous work experience. The deadline to submit your application will be no later than August 11, 2017 and all artists will be notified of results by August 31, 2017.
For more information about the City’s Cultural Programs go to houstontx.gov/culturalaffairs.