This past spring I allocated over $70,000 from the District I Service Fund to increase police overtime to target drug and prostitution hotspots in our community.
The overtime initiative was primarily focused along the Gulf Freeway corridor and areas where the community and police have seen an increase in criminal activity. The four-month initiative was highly successful and resulted in the arrest of 96 suspects charged with various crimes including open warrants, drug possession, and prostitution. Along with many of these arrests, officers seized 3 guns, 87 grams of LSD and 28 grams of PCP.
While the overtime initiative aimed to crack down on criminal activity, officers also made contact with individuals in transient camps underneath our freeways, and issued dozens of warnings to aggressive panhandlers.
As you may know, there is pending litigation before federal court which has limited the City and HPD’s ability to fully enforce the anti-encampment ordinance. The suit, which was filed by the ACLU, alleges that the City’s ordinance to prevent transient camps on public property infringed on the rights of the homeless.
As a result of the ongoing litigation, communities all over the city have seen more and more encampments pop up underneath freeways, along bayous, in parks and other public spaces. While the City is limited in its ability to remove these camps, we are cleaning up the sites when they present health or safety concerns. In fact, we have worked with TxDOT, HPD and Solid Waste Department to coordinate more cleanups.
In addition, several service providers and community partners have visited campsites to assess individuals for housing, medical, mental and substance abuse issues. Encampments are not safe or healthy environments, and we should continue to help those who need assistance. At the same time, we must balance the rights of those in these camps with the rights of residents who deserve to live in safe and clean communities.
As we await the judge’s ruling in this case, I encourage you and your neighbors to continue to call HPD any time you see criminal activity. I will continue to work with HPD and provide additional Service Dollars again this fall for overtime.
Houston Council Member
Buffalo Bayou Partnership Seeks Public Input on East Sector
Building upon recent Buffalo Bayou East Sector community engagement events held in the Fifth Ward and East End, the Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) invites you to attend two final gatherings.
Share your priorities as the BBP develops the five-mile stretch of the bayou from US 59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. How do you want BBP and its partners to invest their time and resources – in parks, in trails, in affordable housing? How important are sites for recreation, festivals, community gardens? This is YOUR opportunity to let the BBP know which features and activities you value the most.
Please make plans to attend these meetings to help shape the future of Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector:
Wednesday, September 12
6 to 8:30 p.m.
The DeLuxe Theater
3303 Lyons Avenue
Thursday, September 13
6 to 8:30 p.m.
BakerRipley Community Center
4410 Navigation Boulevard
For additional information and to RSVP email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 713-752-0314.
Come Celebrate New Mason Park Pedestrian Bridge – Sept. 22
Join us to celebrate the grand opening of the Mason Park Hike/Bike Bridge on Saturday, September 22! The Grand Opening event will be full of family-friendly activities including a FREE 5k Fun Run/Walk at 8 a.m., sports activities, live music, food trucks, and more. Be sure to bring your picnic for the group picnic at 10 a.m. in the park following the race.
Saturday, September 22
541 South 75th St., 77023
8 a.m. FREE 5K RUN/WALK
Family-friendly race. All runners, walkers are welcome and jogging strollers are allowed. Professional chip timing available for all who register: www.bit.ly/MasonPark
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. PICNIC IN THE PARK & RIBBON CUTTING
Bring your own picnic, or enjoy a snack from the food trucks.
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. LIVE MUSIC
with Nick Gaitan and Tejas Got Soul System
10 a.m. – 1 p.m. KIDS ACTIVITIES & FAMILY GAMES
including soccer with the Houston Dynamo
OPEN HOUSE: Preview Gus Wortham Golf Course – Sept. 29
The First Phase of the Gus Wortham Golf Course restoration project is nearing completion! To mark this milestone, we invite the entire community to preview the restored golf course during an Open House on Saturday, September 29. Golf cart tours will be available, along with free breakfast tacos and refreshments, live music and entertainment!
Saturday, September 29
9 a.m to noon
7000 Capitol Street (entrance off Wayside)
Phase One included the restoration of the golf course, including new cart paths, bridges, overhauling the irrigation system for better water conservation, adding a new irrigation lake for storm water retention, and reestablishing creek banks, as well as extending the driving range. The second phase, expected to begin in 2019, will include a new clubhouse with reception hall, as well as maintenance and cart storage facilities.
Councilman Gallegos has also allocated funding to widen the public sidewalks around the golf course on Lawndale and Wayside. When completed, the 8-foot wide sidewalks will loop around the golf course and connect to the Brays Bayou Hike and Bike Trail. The sidewalk project is tentatively scheduled to begin this fall.
The Open House is not a golf tournament and you do not have to be a golfer. The course is scheduled to re-open for golfing in October.
District I Town Hall on Upcoming City Referendum Elections – Oct. 4
Councilman Robert Gallegos invites all District I residents to attend an impotant townhall being hosted by Mayor Turner on October 4 to inform the public about two Propositions voters will be asked to consider this November.
Thursday, October 4
6:30 to 8 p.m.
EB Cape Center
4501 Leeland, 77023
Proposition A – ReBuild Houston
A “do-over” vote to approve the City’s existing Rebuild Houston street and drainage program. Voters are asked to re-establish a lockbox around the revenue from the drainage fee and restrict use only for flooding, drainage and street improvements.
Proposition B – Fire Union Petition
Proposition B is a vote to tie firefighters’ pay to police officers without additional requirements on education or work schedules. The vote would require the City to give firefighters a minimum 25% pay raise the first year and additional raises equal to police (on top of the 25%). The 25% raise would cost the city of Houston at least $98 million per year, which the city cannot afford.
New Jody Miller Dog Park to Open on Oct. 13
Repairs to be Completed on Broadway Blvd.
The District I Office has been working with Houston Public Works to address the construction quality issues motorists have experienced while driving on Broadway Blvd., the stretch that was reconstructed by the City’s contractor, JFT Construction, in 2017.
The contractor is expected to begin pavement repair on north bound lanes of Broadway from Bellfort to Santa Elena on September 18, 2018. The repair work will take approximately 60 to 90 days, weather permitting. Residents may experience traffic rerouting and temporary driveway closures while the repair work is underway.
Residents are encouraged to contact 3-1-1 to report any issues related to the repair work, or contact JFT directly for any project related questions or to report issues:
Contractor’s contact information:
Mr. Isamael Hernandez, Superintendent: 832-274-1726 (Cell)
Mr. Joseph Tahtouh, Project manager: 281-250-7733 (Cell)
JFT’s Office: 281-920-0150
Reconstruction of Bridges along Brays Bayou Underway
In July, Houston City Council approved a funding agreement to expedite the reconstruction of 8 vehicular bridges as part of a major flood control project along Brays Bayou.
Under the approved agreement, the Texas Water Development Board will provide to the city a $43 million zero-interest loan to expedite the project. The city will give the money to the Harris Country Flood Control District to replace the 8 bridges. As the bridges are completed, Harris County will repay the loan.
Of the 8 bridges covered under this agreement, 4 are located in District I. Reconstruction of the Forest Hill bridge began in August, construction of Lawndale and Telephone is expected to begin in August 2019, and 75th Street bridge is expected to be reconstructed in August 2020. The bridges span over Brays Bayou and are being re-built to improve the flow of stormwater during heavy rains.
The bridge replacements are part of the Project Brays Plan. Other parts of the plan include widening sections of the bayou upstream, adding detention basins that can hold billions of gallons of water, and removing structures from the 100-year flood plain.
Flood Control Begins Project to Reduce Flooding Along Greens Bayou
In July, the Harris County Flood Control District began excavation of the Lauder Stormwater Detention Basin, a project that will help reduce flood risks in the Greens Bayou watershed of north east Houston and District I.
In May 2018, Harris County Commissioners Court awarded a $3,730,268 construction contract for an intermediate phase of excavation at the 90-acre Lauder site near Lauder Road and Aldine Westfield Roads in north Houston. Construction will take about six months. The project will involve the excavation of approximately 343,280 cubic yards of soil. It is one of several planned and ongoing projects included in the Flood Control District’s umbrella effort known as Progress Greens.
Formally identified as HCFCD Unit P500-06-00, the Lauder basin has been partially excavated in previous excavation and removal agreements. Future phases of the project will involve excavation of additional land as it is acquired by the Flood Control District. Property acquisition and environmental permitting is underway.
The final basin design includes a permanent pool, island and other features to improve stormwater quality. The design preserves a 200-foot-wide wooded area along Greens Bayou, a tree buffer along the east side of the site, and a remnant channel or oxbow.
When complete after additional construction phases, the basin is expected to hold at least 1,200 acre-feet, or more than 391 million gallons of excess stormwater that otherwise might flood homes and businesses. Stormwater detention basins reduce flooding risks during heavy rain events by safely storing excess stormwater and slowly releasing it back to the bayou when the threat of flooding has passed.
The Lauder basin project is part of the Greens Bayou Mid-Reach Flood Damage Reduction Plan, which includes construction of four stormwater detention basins, improvements to 11 miles of channel between John F. Kennedy Boulevard and Beltway 8, and modifications to 19 bridges. The Kuykendahl and Glen Forest basins are currently under construction; the Aldine Westfield basin is in design.
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