Construction in Ervan Chew Park

As many of you may have noticed, parts of the park have been cordoned off. According to the Houston Parks & Recreation website, Sections of Ervan Chew Park will be closed while the swimming pool complex is removed and a water sprayground is built to replace it. The project should be finished during September 2010.

April Updates

I have consolidated a few updates into a single post below:

  • I will attend the Neartown Montly Meeting tomorrow, April 27, at 7pm at the Cherryhurst Park Community Center, 1700 Missouri St, Houston, TX 77006.  The meeting agenda will include an update on the University Rail Line and the latest on the HEB Development.  Please feel free to attend as well.
  • A gentle reminder that the next Richwood Place Civic Association general meeting will be held Tuesday, May 11, at 7pm at Zoe’s restaurant on Shephard and Portsmouth.  Please plan to attend.
  • The next Neartown Development Forum will be held Saturday May 15th, 9 a.m – 1 p.m. at St. Stephen’s church Pecore Hall.  I will post the agenda when it becomes available.
  • Swamplot recently posted a HEB development update, including information about the variance application submitted by the new owners.
  • richmondrail.org recently published the METRO operations review findings from Mayor Parker’s transition team task force, which includes some commentary about the University Line as well as a link to a HoustonTomorrow article that provides a summary of the reports.
  • The examiner reports Buffalo Bayou could soon be named a National Heritage Area.  If approved, Buffalo Bayou will be the first National Heritage Area in the State of Texas and the Buffalo Bayou National Heritage Area can receive up to $1 million annually for 10 years.
  • KTRK posted an article about the recent city council vote to raise water and sewer rates.

Neartown Meeting — March 2010

I attended the March 2010 Neartown meeting this evening, hosted by David Robinson, the Neartown president, at the Cherryhurst Park Community Center. Richwood Place is now a member in good standing of the Neartown association. The meeting was attended by members and officers of Neartown Civic Associations as well as representatives from the offices of Council Member Wanda Adams, Council Member Stephen Costello, and Senator Rodney Ellis.

You can expect that minutes will be posted on the Neartown web site, but I have a few notes from the discussion topics:

Capital Improvement Planning

    The Neartown Association is working on a number of CIP requests on behalf of the superneighborhood and the 21 civic associations that Neartown represents. David Robinson, Neartown President, has complained to the city and our council members about the lack of transparency in this process and the difficulty of the request process.Richwood Place has submitted a request to Council Member Adams and I will forward that request to Neartown’s leadership. There are many other neighborhoods in our superneighborhood that are having severe sewage problems and other matters that need to be addressed by CIP as soon as possible.

Carnegie Vanguard High School

    Carnegie Vanguard High School (web site) is a HISD magnet school for gifted and talented students. It is currently located in South Houston and will be relocating to Taft and West Gray in 2012. They will have 600 students in 2012.

    They are currently seeking a parking variance to prevent having to create an excess number of parking spots on a green lot. The city requires they have in excess of 300 parking spots, but they only have 104 in their current location and are requesting a variance to allow 225 parking spots.

HEB

    There has been a lot of talk in the neighborhood, in the news, and on this web site about a proposed HEB on the corner of Dunlavy and West Alabama, which by some is considered the most valuable piece of open property in the city. HEB has purchased the property. They have applied for a re-plat without variances. This does not require a vote before the planning commission.

    The City has encouraged HEB to work with Neartown and the association President has met with HEB’s Director of Real Estate at HEB’s corporate headquarters. He reports that HEB has hired an arborist to assist with the tree-filled property and that HEB is pointing out that a supermarket would create new jobs, be an increase in the tax base, and that they could offer a green plan that is conservation oriented.

    Representatives at the meeting discussed a number of potential layouts, traffic issues, and land use concerns. The property is on the agenda for the City of Houston Planning Committee on April 1st.

There will be a Neartown Development Forum at the end of May for residents to work together and with the city to discuss the development and planning of the Montrose area. I will post an update when there are more concrete details.

Mayor doubts funding for Uptown, University rail lines

From The Houston Chronicle

Mayor Annise Parker cast doubt Wednesday on whether the Metropolitan Transit Authority has the money to pay for two planned light-rail lines that proponents say are critical to the success of the agency’s plans.

Parker said members of her transition team have “drilled down” into Metro’s finances and she now feels comfortable only with the funding plans of three rail lines: the East End, North and Southeast. Construction on those lines is under way.

The University Line would run on Richmond Avenue, just North of Richwood place.

Trees Available From City of Houston

Just got this email from Mark Johnson @ Neartown: The City of Houston Urban Forestry Department has gifted Neartown residents with (50) 15-gallon hardwood trees in the following species: Shumard red oak, Texas Green Ash, Retama (Jerusaleum Thorn), Evergreen elm, Mountain Laurel, Redbud, Red Maple and Mexican plum.

The trees must be planted on the City right-of-way (or other City property such as a park or school) and the new owner will sign a form agreeing to water and feed the tree(s) for a minimum of two years.

These trees are HUGE! A truck is required for transport – and I do not have a truck. For more information or to set up a time to view the trees, contact Kathy Schipper at kathleencanty@sbcglobal.net. Hurry and make a decision as these beauties will go fast!

City services information – trash and recycling

Beginning March 1, 2010 the city of Houston will only accept yard waste in paper bags.  You can purchase these bags at Southland Hardware or Home Depot (does anyone know of a better place?). 

For information on City Services to our neighborhood, call 311 or visit the City of Houston eGovernment Center.

As a quick reference, here’s what you’ll find for our neighborhood:

  • Trash and light yard waste pick-up every Monday
  • Recycling pick-up every Monday (glass and hazardous waste are not picked up and must be taken to the recycling center)
  • Heavy trask pick-up every second Thursday for homes West of Woodhead, and every second Wednesday for homes East of Woodhead.  The heavy trash schedule alternates monthly between tree waste and junk waste.  Tree waste is picked up in months January, March, May, etc while junk waste is picked up February, April, June, etc.  You can legally put your tree waste or junk waste out at 6:00 pm the Friday before your Tree Waste / Junk Waste day.