It’s been a busy 2018 so far in the Hobby Area District. We held our annual State of the District luncheon, set a date for HobbyFest (April 21) and are fully immersed in a Target Industry Study (more on that below).
With that in mind, we’d like you to know more about the exciting things happening behind the scenes-and in the community-this year.
We’ve worked with METRO and Clark Condon on several bus shelter designs, the first of which you’ll see installed in April. The plan is to have them all completed and constructed by the end of May.
We kicked off the year hosting METRO CEO, Tom Lambert at our State of the District luncheon. We’ve also been formulating our official position, and preferences for what we believe would be in the best interest of the District when it comes to rail lines.
Currently, we’re advocating for a plan that extends the Purple Line beginning at the Palm Center (the current end of the Purple Line) and proceeds along Long Drive, Telephone Road and Airport Boulevard before arriving at Hobby Airport.
After last year’s Livable Centers Study, the District coordinated a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a project we’re calling the Bellfort Station Special Study Area. We asked for firms to help us come up with a bold vision and a series of projects that have the power to transform the Hobby Area and its quality of life.
The project kicked off February 8, 2018, and will be transformational to the intersection of Bellfort Street, Telephone Road and Sims Bayou. Since this is in the early planning stages, expect invitations soon on community engagement and participation sessions. Bellfort Station is a complementary effort alongside our current economic development target industry study, ongoing efforts to improve Hobby area infrastructure and mobility issues and ultimately, creating development in the community to improve the quality of life, work and play.
Target Industry Study
Avalanche Consulting, the firm selected in September to lead the study, jumped right into the project last fall. This study is currently in the discovery phase, with focus groups conducted in November of last year, a series of one-on-one interviews and more on-the-ground research. We recently completed an intensive steering committee meeting with 55 participants from around the community and beyond, in addition to an open house for community input conducted at the Harbach-Ripley Neighborhood Center.
It’s a three-phase approach, ending with a final strategic plan delivered in late spring/early summer of this year. The plan will detail ways to encourage and sustain economic growth in the Hobby area, forecast changes in the demographics of the neighborhood, and identify new investment possibilities and employment opportunities.