Survey Positions Area for Flood Funds, Projects

The District has a new study that will help in advocating for projects and funding to reduce flooding. Commissioned by the District and performed by Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam, Inc. (LAN), the study provides the technical details needed to pinpoint specific projects and compete for federal funds.

“Texas will be receiving $222 million in funding to help with relief efforts and the District is meeting with elected officials and governmental agencies to ensure some of that money makes its ways to our area for improvement projects,” said Robert Fiederlein, the District’s vice president of strategic planning and development.

LAN modeled the April 2016 floods using state-of-the-art technology to determine how the flooding occurred in the North Houston District and why. The study identifies the area’s close proximity to Greens Bayou and the capacity of current drainage infrastructure as key factors in the flooding experienced last year.

Potential improvement projects have been identified for the area as a result of the study including drainage improvements along West Hardy, Greens Road and Imperial Valley Drive. In addition, detention needed to support these projects may require the purchase of existing property in the floodway, which could open opportunities for more parks or greens space in the area.

Construction Begins at Jack Drake Park

Pathways have been marked and clearing has begun at the site of Jack Drake Park on Bradfield Road at Hedgecroft Drive.

The park’s trail will become the beginning of an existing four-mile system along Greens Bayou that runs through Thomas R. Wussow Park, at 500 Greens Road, and Cityview Park at 16822 CityView Place.

The construction of this park is different from others in the area’s portfolio. Bart Baker, the District’s Executive Vice President and COO, who is in charge of planning and infrastructure projects, explained that while different elements such as parking, seating and lighting are being incorporated, the primary focus is conserving the park for native species.

“It has been an extremely detailed process to make very deliberate decisions about what vegetation will work best. In the end, we will be rewarded with a park that is not only a beautiful site for visitors to walk, but that provides a secluded, natural habitat for several species in the middle of suburban north Houston,” Baker said.

Greens Bayou Coalition received a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife for the construction of the park is partnering with the District on both the clearing and design of the area. Trees for Houston, a non-profit dedicated to preserving woodlands, has also donated several species of trees for the park including Texas and Oklahoma Redbuds, White Fringetree, American Sweet Gum, Water Oak, Southern Live Oak and Texas Mountain Laurel.

Jack Drake Park is expected to be open to the public in early summer.

Partners Recognized at Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon

The North Houston District recently celebrated community and corporate partners who contribute to the area’s growth and success. North Houston District President Greg Simpson highlighted the importance of the honorees by saying, “Our ability to continue building this community is closely tied to our partnerships and volunteers.” Melody Douglas, vice president of finance and administration for Morganti Texas, Inc. and vice-chair of the District’s board, joined Simpson in awarding outstanding community servants for 2016.

Hardy Properties at Intercontinental was recognized as Company of the Year for its substantial investment in a 34-building business park along West Hardy near the Sam Houston Parkway. Improvements at their business park changed the landscape of the District in that area.

The Harris County Sheriff’s Office took home the award as Partner of the Year for the commitment and dedication of the Harris County Task Force. Launched in March of 2016, the task force has contributed to an overall reduction in crime. Furthermore, their efforts to build relationships with area residents, especially youth, are changing the dynamic between the law enforcement and the community.

As Volunteer of the Year, Tom Wussow, a longtime District board member, was acknowledged as a leader whose vision and insight continues to be an integral part of the organization’s progress. Credited with being the District’s founder, Wussow still offers guidance that helps the area address tough challenges. Following the 2016 Tax Day Flood, Wussow led efforts for an engineering study that puts the community in a position to compete for federal funds for flood mitigation projects.

Three Community Spirit Award recipients were honored for the critical roles and resources provided to support flood recovery efforts. Aldine ISD helped rescue families and safely transport them to shelters. Its M.O. Campbell Educational Center served as the primary shelter for District families displaced by the flood. Harvest Time Church became a primary donation drop-off and distribution point in the heart of the community, offering hot meals and supplies within walking distance of many of the hardest hit apartment communities. The City of Houston worked tirelessly to expedite recovery efforts. A team met weekly with property owners to assist with critical needs, like permitting for repairs, debris removal, additional law enforcement and providing housing options and resources for displaced families.

North Houston District board members are also recognized for their service. Donna Volkerding, area business travel manager for Interstate Hotels and Resorts, was recognized at the luncheon for one year of service.

The volunteer appreciation event began in 1992 as a way to acknowledge individuals and organizations whose partnership and efforts significantly enhance or expand programs in the North Houston District service area.

To view an album of photos from the luncheon, visit our Facebook page.