2017 was a year full of excitement, opportunities and challenges. In February we hosted one of the greatest Super Bowls in history, helped one another through Hurricane Harvey with rescue and relief efforts, and came together to cheer on the Astros through an incredible World Series and Championship victory. Oh, and what better way to kick off the holiday season than with a historic snowfall in December!
As the year comes to a close, I want to provide updates on three exciting green space projects that we worked on this year and will continue in 2018:
Houston Botanic Garden
Planning and design for the Houston Botanic Garden continues under the direction of West 8, an internationally recognized landscape architecture firm. In 2015 the design process began with community support, with the goal of creating a visionary master plan to serve as a road map for developing the Houston Botanic Garden.
The design for phase one is well underway. This phase will develop the critical infrastructure to support future growth, and includes the essential elements to begin welcoming visitors to a beautiful and informative garden in 2020.
This past October, more than 500 supporters of the garden gathered for the third bi-annual fundraising luncheon where the organization announced it had reached its initial $20 million goal, and continues to raise funds toward the $30 million goal for phase one.
Gus Wortham Golf Course
Like many parts of Houston, Gus Wortham Park Golf Course received an enormous amount of water (around 37 inches) during Hurricane Harvey. While this led to some construction delays, the golf course and driving range are on track to be completed soon thanks to the hard work by Houston Golf Association and its team.
As progress is made on phase one construction, you can see the transformation. 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 installed new concrete cart paths, bridges, and continues the grassing process, having completed several holes so far.
The renovated course is expected to reopen in late spring 2018.
Finally, this fiscal year I allocated District I Service Dollars to develop a master plan for Mason Park, the first in the park’s history. Acquired by the City in 1928, Mason is a 104-acre regional park that serves thousands of Houstonians, including numerous little league sports teams, each year. Mason has been an important gathering place for our neighborhoods and is a source of great community pride.
The master plan was developed over the course of several months with broad community input and support. The plan maximizes park usage by increasing programing and recreational opportunities for all users, and reorganizing and upgrading the sports fields to help meet the growing demand.
Implementing the plan is estimated to cost over $30 million. This would deliver three lit football/soccer fields, three baseball fields, concession space and restrooms for the sports fields, a renovated community center, new pool, playground and sprayground, as well as additional parking.
We have also continued to support efforts to connect both the north and south sides of the park with a new pedestrian bridge over Brays Bayou, currently under construction. This was another great project for which I was proud to commit District I Service dollars. I look forward to its completion and grand opening in the spring.
I will continue to work with Mayor Turner and community leaders to identify funding for the transformation of Mason Park, and remain on track with the creation of the Houston Botanic Garden and restoration of Gus Wortham Golf Course.
Houston Council Member
Curbside Recycling has Resumed
The City’s Solid Waste Management Department has resumed the regular curbside collection of household recyclables. Residents can place their GREEN CART at the curb between 6 p.m. the day before and 7 a.m. on the scheduled collection day. You can check your service date by visiting Solid Waste’s service schedule page.
As curbside recycling collection reboots, customers are encouraged to place only the following items in their green recycling carts: paper, cardboard, clean food cartons, plastic containers #1-5 and #7, aluminum cans and bimetal cans. Residents are also reminded that glass is not accepted in the curbside containers, but can be recycled at all City recycling drop-off locations, which are open 7 days a week with extended hours:
North – 9003 N Main 77022
Northwest – 14400 Sommermeyer 77041
Northeast – 5565 Kirkpatrick 77028
Southeast – 2240 Central Street 77017
South – 5100 Sunbeam 77033
Southwest – 10785 SW Freeway 77074
More NTMP Requests Funded with Service Dollars
This fiscal year, Councilman Gallegos allocated District I Service Dollars to the Neighborhood Traffic Management Program (NTMP) to help fund several community requests that had been pending for years.
The Department of Public Works leads the NTMP-Speed Cushion program, which assists neighborhoods minimize or eliminate traffic congestion, cut-through traffic or other traffic-related problems in neighborhoods with the installation of traffic calming devices. The NTMP process is citizen initiated.
Over the past years, the District I Office identified and provided funding for several NTMP projects that had been pending for over 5 years. As a result, traffic calming devices have been installed in: Eastwood, Idylwood, Glenbrook Valley, OST Acres and Manchester (south).
Tropicana Village and Houston Country Club Place will be completed in early 2018.
New ‘Turtle Soup’ Mural Unveiled in Magnolia Park
The Magnolia Park community unveiled a new 260-foot long mural in December near the 7400 block of JW Peavy Drive on a retaining wall facing Peavy.
The mural, painted by graffiti artist Pilot FX, depicts an ocean scene with a giant sea turtle, dolphins and fish. The initial design was created by East End artist, “Magnolia Grown” Jesse Rodriguez.
The project was led by the East End Management District and made possible through the generous sponsorship from various area companies, including: NuStar Energy, L.P.; Shell Oil; Frost Bank; Space City Credit Union; Sesco Cement; and Port of Houston; with support from TIRZ 23. In addition, Councilman Gallegos committed District I Service dollars to help fund the project.
New Dog Park Opens in EaDo
District I’s newest dog park in EaDo is officially open! The “EaDog Park” measures approximately 7,700 square feet in size, divided into two sections – one for big dogs and one for smaller dogs.
Both sections feature shaded/covered areas, trees, trash receptacles, benches, lights, and drinking fountains. Located at 2216 Polk, the park is easily accessible from the Polk Street bike route and nearby Columbia Tap Hike/Bike Trail.
Funding for the green space was provided by the District I Service Fund, EaDo TIRZ and EaDo Management District. This is the first of 3 dog parks in the works in District I. “I’m happy to be able to provide funding for such public amenities,” said Councilman Gallegos.
In December, the city also awarded another contract to begin work on a dog park at Fonde Park. The Fonde dog park is expected to be completed in late spring of 2018.
Debris Removal Continues
Residents are asked to continue moving their debris curbside for collection as quickly as possible. Place all storm-related debris out on the curb for collection, regardless of the size of the pile. Do not keep your piles in your backyard or inside your home. This action could lead to personal health problems on your property.
What can be placed on the curb:
- Material from leaking roofs or damaged outdoor property improvements such as furniture, carpet, or perimeter fencing
- Construction & Demolition – building materials, carpet, drywall, furniture
- Green waste generated by fallen/broken trees or vegetation
Make a positive impact and lend a helping hand to your neighbors. Help the elderly and people with disabilities with house clean-out and moving their debris to the curb. You can also help by reporting uncollected storm debris to the City of Houston 3-1-1 service line.
Lamar Cycle Track Extends into EaDo
In 2015, Houston introduced the city’s first two-way physically separated bicycle facility in downtown Houston along Lamar Street. Painted bright green, this first phase of the cycle track implementation spans from Discovery Green to historic Sam Houston Park, offering cyclists a safer way to get across downtown.
At the beginning of 2017, the track was extended from Sam Houston Park to the trail system along Buffalo Bayou Park. In October 2017, the City began a new extension eastward from Discovery Green (along Crawford and Polk) into EaDo. The track will be further extended east in early 2018 along Polk to Emancipation Avenue.
The track was designed and implemented by the City’s Department of Public Works and is expected to be completed spring of 2018.
Home Repair Tips from the Houston Permitting Center
Consumers should be on alert for potential scams. For any repair work, it is recommended to get three bids and review each bid carefully.
LICENSED VS. UNLICENSED CONTRACTORS
General contractors are not required to be licensed. Check with the Better Business Bureau or other similar sites for reported scams and complaints.
Electrical, mechanical and plumbing contractors must be registered with the City of Houston and licensed by the State of Texas. Out of state licenses are not accepted except for those under the State of Texas’ reciprocity agreement.
Visit the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation to verify licenses or to view complaints against Master Electricians and HVAC technicians and/or Texas State Board of Plumbing Examiners to verify licenses or to view complaints against Master Plumbers.
Electrical, mechanical and plumbing contractors making repairs must purchase a permit. Visit the Sold Permit Search to check if a permit has been purchased.
All electrical work must be completed by a licensed electrician.
Permits are NOT required for:
- Replacing wooden or metal fences (less than 8 feet in height)
- Painting, papering, tiling, wood flooring and carpeting
- Replacing cabinets, countertops and similar finish work
- Repairing damaged sheet-rock or drywall (except when part of a shared wall in a townhome/condo)
- Replacing bathroom or kitchen faucets
Property located within the floodplain (i.e. Special Hazard Area,100-year floodplain or floodway) may require a Floodplain Development Permit. Contact the Floodplain Management Office prior to starting any repairs at firstname.lastname@example.org or 832-394-8854.