Dear neighbors, business owners and friends of the Hobby Area District,
It’d be an understatement to say that 2017 was a roller coaster of a year. It started with Super Bowl 51 right here in our own backyard, which was a great debut for Broadway’s streetscape makeover (courtesy of many local and state organizations). As caretakers of the new look, we take our jobs seriously to continue to nurture these areas, and ensure they stay green and beautiful for years to come.
Additional visual improvements in the area included a series of MiniMurals representing the history of aviation in the neighborhood, facilitated by Up Art Studio, featuring multiple artists.
We also implemented a matching grant program to help area neighborhoods put up identity signage, starting with Glenbrook Valley’s Mid-Century-inspired signs located on Broadway street in between Santa Elena and Sims Bayou.
To that end, we also worked with METRO to design new safer, more attractive bus shelters in the corridor to better serve our residents and businesses. Look for these to be installed in the very near future.
The 25th annual HobbyFest in April was yet another reminder of how vibrant and active the Hobby community is, with high attendance and enthusiastic participation from local businesses. Mark your calendars: 2018 HobbyFest is set for April 14. Now accepting sponsors, exhibitors and more.
Behind the scenes, there were lots of changes going on in the Hobby District. We went from mostly consultant-run to having a full-time, dedicated staff, myself included as well as a new Director of Communications, Public Affairs and Support Services, Gabrielle “Gabby” Dirden, formerly of the Houston Airport System and Toby Stephens, Director of Economic Development and Constituent Services.
In addition to new team members on staff, we ramped up security patrols in the neighborhood, added security cameras and well, to put it bluntly, we picked up a whole lot of trash.
In exact measurements, our special projects crew gathered 29.3 tons of trash along 211.4 miles of right-of-way, removed 233 bandit signs and mowed 52.4 miles of grass. There were 5.8 tons of trash and clippings removed from the medians along Broadway alone.
In the economic development efforts, we’ve improved our Business Ambassador program, with measured outreach. Mario Ramirez is our eyes and ears in the business community, our boots on the ground, and was able to verify 1,185 companies from our existing list, developing over 300 face-to-face contacts in the region. Through our Business Retention and Expansion program (of which the Business Ambassador role is a part), we researched over 3,000 businesses, communicated directly with almost 500 and had 56 onsite visits.
More on the economic front, we’ve contracted with Avalanche Consulting and are currently in the discovery phase of an economic development strategy, with an upcoming steering committee meeting scheduled for February 13.
And, of course, a 2017 year-in-review would not be complete without mentioning Hurricane Harvey’s impact on the City of Houston as a whole, as well as our local community.
The total rainfall for the Hobby area measured 27.88 inches from August 24 at 8:00 PM to August 30 at 9:00 PM. We are happy to report that Sims Bayou was not flowing out of its banks; however, on-street flooding did cause limited damage to businesses and residences in the area.
Our staff worked with SEAL Security to increase patrols after the storm, while also coordinating with Mr. Sweeper and SMC Logistics to execute cleanup as soon as they could get crews in.
We truly value and thank you for your support. We are honored to serve our mission of improving the quality of life and expanding economic opportunity in the area, and have some exciting things planned for 2018. Check our social media accounts for new information when it’s published on upcoming initiatives in the near future.
You can find us on Facebook and Twitter, and we hope to see you all at our annual State of the District luncheon, featuring Thomas C. Lambert, president and CEO of METRO, February 8. Tickets available now!
Hobby Area Management District