With summer around the corner, remember that the City of Houston offers a number of free programs to keep our kids and young people productive over the summer break!
Summer Jobs – This summer, city departments are opening their doors to provide job opportunities for young people (ages 16 to 24) to earn while they learn about what it takes to serve the residents of the nation’s 4th largest city. Most positions will pay at least $8 per hour, 32 hours per week.
To be eligible to participate in the summer jobs program, applicants must be between the ages of 16 and 24, and live in the City of Houston. There are several upcoming hiring events open to applicants, and will include employers who can hire on the spot! The next hiring event is scheduled for Saturday, May 19 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at Ripley House Neighborhood Center at 4410 Navigation Blvd.
These hiring events are open to young people between the ages of 16 and 24 and do not require applicants to pre-register or be pre-screened. For more information, visit www.HireHoustonYouth.org.
Youth Sports & Summer Enrichment Programs – The Houston Parks Department provides programming and recreational sports opportunities for children ages 4 to 18 in a safe, secure and supervised environment. Participants receive equipment, uniforms, facility usage and expert coaching free of charge. League play is organized and directed by experienced youth sports professionals. Parks Department staff and volunteers provide coaching assistance, encouragement and support to the children participating in the programs. Visit your neighborhood Park Community Center to learn more, or call the department at 832-394-8805 to ask about summer programming.
Pools – The Parks Department pools will reopen on Saturday, May 26, in time for the Memorial Day weekend. The department operates 37 outdoor pools and 29 water spray grounds that are open free of charge during summer months. To find a pool or spray ground near you visit www.houstontx.gov/parks/pools. All pools begin full summer operation on June 2 through August 12. Regular summer operating hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. All pools are closed on Monday for regular maintenance.
Summer Food Program – The city’s Summer Food Service Program provides nutritious meals at Houston community centers and many other sites from June 4 through August 10. The Parks Department hosts the Summer Food Service Program to provide meals for children who depend on the free and reduced meal programs offered by schools during the regular school year. Children ages 1 through 18 across the Houston area can receive FREE lunches and snacks at locations across the city. No registration is required, just stop by a Parks site near you. For more information call 713-676-6832 or 2-1-1.
Houston Council Member
Houston Botanic Garden to Host Community Tree Planting Event – May 19th
The Houston Botanic Garden and Trees For Houston are looking for volunteers to help plant and develop the garden’s tree farm! There will be food and fun for the whole family!
Saturday, May 19th
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Houston Botanic Garden
8205 N. Bayou Drive
Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 16
Interested in other volunteer opportunities or have program ideas? Take the Botanic Garden’s survey and share your ideas: www.surveymonkey.com/r/HBGCommunityGarden
On-the-Spot Hiring for Youth Summer Jobs
Know of a young person who will be looking for a job this summer? The City of Houston has partnered with a number of organizations and companies to offer summer jobs to thousands in our community. There are several hiring events open to all youth ages 16 to 24. Many of these events include employers who can hire young people for summer jobs on the spot!
May 19, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Ripley House Neighborhood Center | 4410 Navigation Blvd.
June 2, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
HCC – Acres Homes | 630 West Little York Rd.
June 9, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
George R. Brown Convention Center | 1001 Avenida De Las Americas
June 16, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Southwest Multi-Service Center | 6400 High Star Dr.
The Hire Houston Youth program will provide young people ages 16 to 24 with a 7 week summer job, earning at least $8 an hour. Most jobs will begin June 11, 2018, and end in August.
New Restroom Building Installed at HFD’s Training Academy
Councilman Robert Gallegos worked with the Houston Fire Department (HFD) command staff to identify and secure funding to complete the purchase and installation of a pre-fabricated, stand-alone permanent restroom facility at the fire department’s Val Jahnke Training Academy. Councilman Gallegos allocated $140,000 toward the $250,000 restroom building project.
“I’m proud to have provided District I Service Dollars to help complete the new restrooms at HFD’s Val Jahnke Academy,” said Councilman Gallegos. “The new restrooms are conveniently located in close proximity to the simulated training course on the academy campus where our cadets and firefighters train.”
Several years ago the fire department had identified a need for a stand-alone permanent restroom building in close proximity to the obstacle course on the academy campus. The restroom building includes multiple stalls for men and women, as well as wash stations were cadets and firefighters can clean up after fire drills that sometimes include exposure to hazardous chemicals.
The new restrooms will provide the HFD training academy something essential to the training operations for years to come.
Bike to Work Day – May 18th
The City of Houston will celebrate Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 18, 2018 with a 20-minute, 3-4 mile bike ride beginning and ending at Hermann Square in front of City Hall at 901 Bagby. The ride will head east through downtown and EaDo, utilizing the Columbia Tap’s off-street paved pathway, then west, utilizing the Lamar Cycle Track.
Festivities will kick off at 7 a.m. with opening remarks and safety tips. The bicycle ride will start at 7:20 a.m. Activities will take place in Hermann Square during and after the ride.
FREE Home Repair Assistance
Summer Food Program
Council Adopts Stronger Rules for new Development in Flood Plains
Houston City Council has adopted stronger rules (revisions to Chapter 19) to ensure new development is built high enough to save lives and property in the event of flooding. The rules will require all new construction of homes and buildings in flood plains to be built 2 feet above the 500-year flood-plain. Additions larger than a third of the home’s original footprint also will need to be elevated.
Before the adoption of the stricter rules, Houston’s code only applied to property in the 100-year floodplain. The new rules include property in the 500-year floodplain and will protect 2 feet of 500-year flood elevation.
The 100-year floodplain is land that is predicted to flood during a 100-year storm, which has a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. The 500-year floodplain has a 0.2% chance of occurring.
The new rules for future construction of homes and buildings in flood plains will take effect September 1, 2018.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Does Chapter 19 impact anyone outside the 100-year or 500-year floodplain?
This Ordinance does not apply to areas outside the 100-year or 500-year floodplain.
Would changes to Chapter 19 impact my existing property?
Changes would NOT impact existing property in the 500-year floodplain unless an addition exceeding 1/3 the total footprint of an existing dwelling is added. Changes would NOT impact existing dwellings in the 100-year floodplain unless the dwelling is substantially improved, an addition of any size is added, or the dwelling is substantially damaged in a future flood event.
Is my property located within the floodplain?
Use the Harris County Flood Control District’s Flood Education Mapping Tool to help identify the location of a property: www.harriscountyfemt.org
Why two feet?
The City analyzed data from 32,000 homes to determine the right requirement for homes built in the future. The study found 72% of those homes would have been protected if they were built at the 500-year floodplain level plus one foot. Another 12%, or 84% total, would have been protected if built at two feet. But only 8 more percent would have been protected at three feet. The data clearly pointed to two feet as the optimum balance of benefit versus cost.
Will this impact the overall cost of new homes in the future?
Elevation of new construction is estimated to cost slightly more than traditional slab on grade. Building higher means construction would cost slightly more, but the potential cost for future damage from flooding would be much higher.
Will this impact the cost of flood insurance or value of existing homes?
Proposed changes will not impact the cost of flood insurance for existing homes. According to the FEMA Flood Insurance Manual, elevating a new home to the 500-year flood elevation +2 feet as compared to the 100-year flood elevation +1 foot will save about 30% on flood insurance premiums.
Watch Your Speed!
Councilman Robert Gallegos allocated District Service Dollars to purchase two new speed trailers that are now in service in District I. The speed trailers visually display a vehicles’ real-time speed compared to the speed limit. When it detects a vehicle has exceeded the speed limit, it flashes to warn the driver to slow down.
“These are the type of effective public safety tools we are able to purchase thanks to council service funds,” Said Councilman Gallegos. “They will help encourage safe speeds and driving on our streets, especially around our schools.”
The trailers also have the capability to collect traffic count data and speed data throughout the day, which can be used to identify the most dangerous traffic times and inform officers when more enforcement is needed.
“Adopt-A-Drain” Program Aims to Help Remove Debris & Reduce Street Flooding
The City of Houston and Keep Houston Beautiful have launched the City’s new Adopt-A-Drain Program, a partnership between Houston Public Works, Keep Houston Beautiful and community partners. This program hopes to help prevent future flooding, save taxpayer money and keep our neighborhood storm drains clean and litter free.
The city is addressing its flooding challenges on many levels, and spends $13 million each year on storm drain maintenance, inspection and repairs. As it plans for regional detention and large-scale drainage improvement projects to make our city more flood resilient, it also recognizes that all Houstonians can individually contribute in the efforts to reduce local street flooding.
Community partners – residents and civic groups – can adopt at least one of the 115,000 available storm drains. As Adopt-A-Drain partners, program participants are asked to keep their drain clear of leaves and trash by cleaning it at least four times a year (especially before it rains), clean 10 feet on both sides of the drain, and compost or dispose of leaves and trash properly.
By adopting a drain, partners will receive information and tips from the City of Houston and Keep Houston Beautiful and notification of upcoming Houston Adopt-a-Drain events. To adopt-a-drain in your neighborhood, visit: www.HoustonAdoptaDrain.org.
Jones Plaza to Undergo Major Redesign
Houston First Corporation (HFC) last month unveiled plans for the redevelopment of Jones Plaza, located in the heart of downtown’s Theater District. The redevelopment will aim to revitalize the plaza into a vibrant public square for all visitors. The project will begin in May 2018 and is slated for completion in November 2020.
The project is a result of a partnership between the City of Houston, HFC, and the Downtown Redevelopment Authority. The project was first outlined in the 2015 Theater District Master Plan, intending to create an “immersive arts and culture environment where the vitality of the performing and visual arts spill into the streets, sidewalks and public spaces.”
“When completed in November 2020, the re-imagined public space will serve as a gathering place for all Houstonians, residents, employees, theater patrons, and visitors,” said Councilman Robert Gallegos, whose District I includes Jones Plaza.
Participating firms were tasked with developing a programmable venue that can be used both day and night. Submitted designs were encouraged to consider both visual and physical attributes, such as easy access from all sides of the plaza; strong connections to the surrounding facilities; shade features like trees or structures; moveable seating and tables; a water element; an informal, flexible performance space; lighting elements and state-of-the-art technology; as well as the ability to incorporate artful elements into physical plaza features.
In addition to outdoor elements, HFC envisions the Plaza to incorporate a 4,000-square-foot dining facility that offers a fast-casual counter and seated, upper casual service for breakfast, lunch, early, pre-theatre dinner, as well as post-theatre dessert and drinks. The facility will feature a transparent building skin with indoor and outdoor seating, a shared kitchen facility and restrooms, as well as private event spaces that can be rented to the public.