Dear Residents and Friends of District F,
I want to thank Royal Oaks for inviting me to their annual community and board of directors meeting last month. It was great meeting residents and seeing so many familiar faces. I also appreciate HPD Westside Captain Michael Skillern and his officers attending and sharing information on their efforts to reduce crime in the area.
Bellaire West Drainage Project Underway
Crews began work in the Bellaire West neighborhood last month. The project is part of the Storm Drainage Capital Improvement Plan (CIP), and will improve drainage and reduce the risk of structural flooding in the Bellaire West area. Construction is expected to be completed by early next year.
Bellaire Blvd Reconstruction to Begin This Summer
Despite several delays, reconstruction of Bellaire Blvd from Beltway 8 to Mary Bates is slated to begin no later than August. My office along with Council Member Laster’s office and the Department of Public Works, will host a couple of stakeholder meetings to provide information to residents and business owners who may be temporarily inconvenienced by the work. We will pass more information on these meetings as soon as we secure dates.
UPDATE Keegans Bayou & Westside Trails
City Council approved a $1.5 million joint project with TxDOT for a new five-mile long hike and bike trail along Keegans Bayou. When completed, the 10-foot wide reinforced concrete trail will have two bridges, four under crossings, four on street crossings, accessibility ramps, striping, lighting and landscaping. The Keegans Bayou Trail will run from S. Kirkwood at W. Bellfort (near Cummins Elementary) east/northeast along Keegans Bayou to S. Gessner at S. Braeswood (near Brae-Burn Country club) and connect to Brays Bayou Trail and on to the city’s 316 miles of trails and on-street bikeways.
I am also pleased to confirm that we will be making significant repairs and improvements to the Westside trail. I commend the Eldridge/West Oaks Super Neighborhood for continuing to push and work for these much-needed improvements. The Parks Department will be conducting an assessment in a few months to come up with a plan.
Houston Council Member
PLANT YOUR VOTE FOR ALIEF COMMUNITY GARDEN
The Fruit Tree Planting Foundation and Dreyer’s Fruit Bars are planting orchards across the country in a collaborative program called “Communities Take Root,” and the Alief Community Garden could be next with your vote.
The five entries that receive the most online votes will receive a grant for an orchard. In 2011, several communities across the country won orchards for public parks, community gardens, food banks, homeless shelters, and community centers. Today, these communities are looking forward to reaping the benefits of their orchards – from the beautiful green spaces to the promise of fresh fruit for everyone to share and enjoy.
To vote for the Alief Community Orchard, visit the Communities Take Root website. You can vote once a day until May 30 at 11:59 p.m. PT.
NEW GRANT PROGRAM SUPPORTS STREET BLOCK REVITALIZATION
Nonprofit organizations are encouraged to apply for “Love Your Block” grants to support volunteer-led street block revitalization projects. The grants will support 20 projects that revitalize green spaces, transform blighted areas and advocate for quality open space.
Those selected for the grants will receive a $500 gift card from Home Depot to purchase supplies and equipment necessary to implement the projects. City of Houston community partner Keep Houston Beautiful will support the projects by providing supplies, tools and other resources to offset costs. A grants review committee will provide guidance to align funded projects with existing city priorities.
The grant application deadline is Friday, May 11, 2012. Applicant groups must have nonprofit status. Eligible groups include block, neighborhood and tenant associations as well as community garden clubs and religious-based organizations. Grantees will be notified on Friday, May 25, 2012. Funded projects must be completed between June 1 and December 31, 2012.
To apply for a “Love Your Block” grant, visit www.HoustonService.org. For more information, email LoveYourBlock@houstontx.gov or call 832.393.0971
HPD CAPTAIN TO BUSINESS OWNERS: HELP US HELP YOU
Primarily for businesses south of Westheimer, west of S. Gessner
HPD Westside Captain Michael Skillern has informed Council Member Hoang’s office that, while police continue to see a decrease in almost every part one crime in the area, commercial building (businesses) burglaries remain constant.
Captain Skillern says that of the businesses recently burglarized, 84 percent had no alarm system to alert police of what was happening. This means thieves were able to break in and take their time stealing whatever they wanted and officers had no idea anything was happening until the next morning.
So help HPD help you: If you don’t currently have a monitored alarm system installed in your building/business, you are substantially more likely to be targeted. So consider this small investment – an alarm system would far outweigh the loss associated with a break in.
In addition, consider filing a Trespass Affidavit with HPD. The affidavit allows officers to stop and question anyone on your property after business hours and, if necessary, jail them on a trespassing charge without having to contact you. Captain Skillern says this will go a long way toward preventing loitering and may also stop some of those loitering before they can burglarize your facility.
Simply complete and return the affidavit to the Westside police station at 3203 S. Dairy Ashford (at Richmond) where it can also be notarized. For more information, contact Westside at 281.584.4700.
Council Member Al Hoang
City Hall Annex
900 Bagby, First Floor
Houston, TX 77002