AIA Houston City Landmarks Night by Michael Graves

The AIA Historic Resources Committee, partnered with the Houston Metropolitan Research Center and Preservation Houston's Pier & Beam, is excited to announce an event that provides an opportunity for individuals to participate in preserving Houston’s history.

The City of Houston owns many important public buildings and facilities that are candidates for local designation. However, there is little to no information about the properties, which is how you can help!

The Historic Resources Committee aims to inform individuals about these properties and sign up interested parties to research and write about a specific subject to pass along to the city. If you aren’t interested in writing a report, come anyway! Meet fellow preservationists and learn about how to access the HMRC’s architectural collections for fun or for future projects.

Event Overview:
City staff will give a short presentation on the basics needed for a landmark designation report, followed by an Architectural Orientation of the Texas Room by Architectural Archivist, Samantha Bruer. Come for part or for all.

Download To Calendar
May 10, 2017
6:00 PM - 8:00 PM

Julia Ideson Library
500 McKinney
Houston, TX 77002

Register Online at the AIA Houston web site.

WHCA General Meeting, Tuesday May 9th at 7pm by Michael Graves

The WHCA will have a general meeting this coming Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at 7:00 PM at Hogg Middle School. Please come out to hear updates from your neighbors about what is going on in and around our neighborhood.

In addition to hearing updates from each board member, we will also hear from several guest speakers including:

Please come out to hear about these important topics for our neighborhood as well as the chance to network and connect with your neighbors about any issues or concerns that are important to you and our wonderful neighborhood, the Woodland Heights.

Hope to see everyone there.

HPD: Citywide Positive Interaction Program Meeting by Michael Graves

HPD-PIP.png

Please join HPD on May 9th at 7 p.m. for the Citywide Positive Interaction Program Meeting and meet members of HPD's Mounted Patrol. 

Focusing on the three “C’s” – Crime, Community and Crowds the unit enhances the livability and viability of our great City. 

On any given day you may see members of the Mounted Patrol crushing crime, keeping the peace at protests, interacting with the community during demonstrations, searching for missing persons, and even riding in a parade. 

The Citywide PIP meetings are held at the Houston Police Officers Union, 1602 State Street. 
For more information, please contact Senior Police Officer James Sobota at 713-308-9079 or james.sobota@houstonpolice.org. 

***The Citywide PIP meeting is open to everyone to come and see what the Positive Interaction Program is about; although, we encourage you to join your divisional PIP groups which can be found here http://www.houstontx.gov/police/pip/divisional.htm

TxDOT: North Houston Highway Improvement Project Public Hearings by Michael Graves

The following is from the notice sent by TxDOT to anyone who has expressed an interest or registered a comment about the project.

Join us to provide your input on the proposed North Houston Highway Improvement Project! The proposed North Houston Highway Improvement Project (NHHIP) includes the following improvements:

  • Adding four managed express lanes (also known as MaX lanes) on I-45 from Beltway 8 North to downtown Houston
  • Reconstructing I-45 mainlanes and frontage roads from Beltway 8 North to downtown Houston
  • Rerouting of I-45 in the downtown area to be coincident with I-10 on the north side of downtown and coincident with US 59/I-69 on the east side of downtown
  • Removal of the existing elevated I-45 roadway along the west and south sides of downtown
  • Adding access to the west side of downtown via “Downtown Connectors” that would allow access to and from various downtown streets
  • Realigning both I-10 and US 59/I-69 within the proposed project area to eliminate the current roadway curvature
  • Adding four I-10 express lanes between I-45 and US 59/I-69

Public scoping meetings have already been conducted in 2011 and 2012, as well as a series of public meetings in 2013 and 2015 to present information. The public hearings will present the recommended alternatives and the Draft Environmental Impact Statement for public review:

 NHHIP Public Hearings

Tuesday, May 9, 2017
St. Pius X High School
811 West Donovan Street Houston, TX 77091
Open House: 5:30 p.m.
Public Hearing: 6:30 p.m.

Thursday, May 11, 2017
Houston Community College Central Campus
San Jacinto Building
1300 Holman Street Houston, TX 77004
Open House: 5:30 p.m. 
Public Hearing: 6:30 p.m.

The first part of the meeting will be an open house format so citizens may come and go at their convenience, followed by a formal presentation and comment period. Please note: The same information will be presented at both meetings. The hearing will be conducted in English with simultaneous Spanish translation. Comments must be postmarked or emailed by Tuesday, June 27, 2017, to be part of the official hearing record.

Special accommodations: If you have a disability and need assistance, special arrangements can be made to accommodate most needs. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation to attend this meeting, please call the public information officer at (713) 802-5076 at least five working days prior to the meeting. Every reasonable effort will be made to accommodate these needs.

The environmental review, consultation and other actions required by applicable federal environmental laws for this project are being, or have been, carried out by TxDOT pursuant to 23 U.S.C. 327 and a Memorandum of Understanding dated Dec. 16, 2014, and executed by FHWA and TxDOT.

We also encourage you to see the online meeting notice as well as the I45NorthandMore project website.

Contact Information

Please note: This email is an automated notification, which is unable to be monitored. We're happy to help you with any questions or concerns you may have. Please contact the Houston Public Information Office at HOU-piowebmail@txdot.gov or at 713-802-5076 at any time about this project. 

The I-45 Project – Planning Stage is coming to an end! by Michael Graves

From the Editor - WH neighbor Jim West has made a huge effort to stay abreast of TxDOTs plans for I-45 expansion. What follows is derived from his most recent update posted to NextDoor, reproduced here with permission.


The I-45 Project – Planning Stage is coming to an end! This next meeting is a HEARING - much different from the public meetings that TxDOT has been holding. 

This HEARING is the last meeting where the public will be heard! After a short comment period following the hearing, nothing else will go on record about the project. 

After the Hearing, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) will be completed – estimated to be complete next year – in 2018. Then a R.O.D. (Record of Decision) – also in 2018. And TxDOT will immediately start acquiring Right-of-way where needed and finish designs. 1st phase of construction will begin on Segment 3 (downtown) – estimated to start in 2020. 

There are only 2 HEARINGS scheduled at this time. You may remember that normally there were 3 meetings including one held at Jeff Davis High School (now Northside High School). Northside is currently being renovated so no meeting can be held there. We are asking TxDOT for a meeting that is convenient to Segment 2… but so far, no luck. 

As a quick summary, there are 3 Segments involved in the project:

  • Segment 1 (610 to Beltway 8) 
  • Segment 2 (610 to I-10)
  • Segment 3 (the Downtown Loop) 

We are currently in the final year of an approximately 12-year planning phase. TxDOT has held 4 public meetings – in 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2015. Part of this project, is the re-routing of I-45 at Pierce Elevated and moving it to be coincident with I-10 on the north side of downtown and coincident with US-59 on the east side of Downtown. Directly east of George Brown Convention both US-59 and I-45 will be below-grade.

This is a major project that is estimated to cost between $6 Billion and $7 Billion, WITHOUT right-of-way costs included. 

I am part of the I-45 Coalition, which is an all-volunteer group that was formed to address issues related to the planned construction of I-45 and to work with TxDOT to ensure that the pending construction comply with these 3 tenets:

  1. No expansion beyond the existing right-of-way
  2. Alternative means of transportation must be explored
  3. No negative impact on the neighborhoods quality of life.

We have not been very successful in these 3 tenets...but we have helped improve the project. 

Regarding ROW in Segment 1 – 212 acres of land will be taken; Segment 2 – 19 acres of land and in Segment 3 – 79 acres of land. 

In Segment 2 – the North St. Bridge will be removed. The main roadway of I-45 will be raised to almost grade level at North St. so it is impossible with the current engineering to have any bridge there. 

If you have commented or attended any of the prior meetings before, you should have received, or will soon receive notification via USPS of the 2 meetings locations from TxDOT. 

Hearings: Locations & Dates

Tuesday, May 9th
St. Pius X High School
811 W. Donovan Street
Houston, TX 77091

Thursday, May 11th
Houston Community College – Central Campus
1300 Holman Street - San Jacinto Building
Houston, TX 77004 

Displays will be available for viewing at 5:30 pm, formal hearing starts at 6:30 pm. 

Please review TxDOT’s plan, maps & designs on their website, www.ih45northandmore.com. As of today, the documents that will be shown at the hearing are NOT on the website…but they should be there soon. 

One major concern I have was in the announcement of the public hearing that was on the web-site. It states…”Some of the design changes are not included in the current evaluation of alternatives …. but will be presented at the Public Hearing and included and evaluated in the Final Environmental Impact Statement”. This means that TxDOT could present changes at the Public Hearing that folks will see for the very 1st time. Then we must evaluate all consequences of the change(s) and speak up at the very same meeting…which is the final meeting on the project! 

This seems to be exactly opposite method of trying to build consensus with the taxpayers and stakeholders. There will be a comment period to June 3rd or later (I haven’t seen the official deadline) … but the whole purpose of having meetings for more than 10 years with the community is to develop a project that the public agrees with and supports … last minute changes do not support that concept. 

It seems that now that we are down to the final meeting/HEARING – it is simple wrong to propose design changes that NO ONE HAS SEEN. Hopefully, any changes that TxDOT presents are ones that the community have requested…but it seems like proposed design changes should at least be on the TxDOT web site months before the HEARING! ...not the day of the HEARING! 

It is critical that you attend either Hearing (or both!) This truly is the last opportunity to have your voice heard! Please stay involved or get involved!

WHCA Financial Update April 2016 - March 2017 by Michael Graves

* Some of the money related to the Home Tour (April 2016) was properly recorded in the financial statements for the prior Fiscal Year (April 2015 – March 2016) when it was either received or paid. Therefore, Home Tour Revenues and Expenses shown above for the current Fiscal Year (April 2016 – March 2017) do not include the full amounts earned by the event. In total, Home Tour Revenues were $37,802 and Expenses were $5,288, creating a net inflow of $32,514 for the WHCA.

FWP: Light The Night Event Reminder by Michael Graves

Friends of Woodland Park invites Houston to our celebration of Firefly Field on April 29th from 7pm to 9:30pm at Woodland Park.

This free, family-friendly event is the biggest event we've ever done. We'll have food trucks, face painting, fun activities for the kids, a prize raffle and live music from funk/soul/rock band, Supreme Tabby. It's a Houston-sized party for its second-oldest park.

Visit the event on Facebook. Please let us know you're going and share with your friends.

USPS informed delivery will show scans of customer mail as mail is processed by Michael Graves

You can now see the mail destined for your mailbox before it arrives. The service is called Informed Delivery. It works like this: USPS digitally images the front of mail pieces that run through its automation equipment. An email is generated each day your household has mail that is processed through automation equipment. If no mail is processed through automation that day, you will not get a notice. Package imaging is not available.

Activating Informed Delivery service requires opening an account online at usps.com. Verification of your identity requires you to answer a number of questions. The online verification process is not always successful, so the fallback is to go to in person to a USPS location to sign up. 

The nearest substation to Woodland Heights where you can sign up is River Oaks, 1900 West Gray. However, River Oaks substation is not open on Saturday. The nearest substation to Woodland Heights at which you can get verified in person on Saturday is Oak Forest, located at 2499 Judiway at East T.C. Jester. The Oak Forest substation is open Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 12 noon. It is also open weekdays from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m.

Historic District Design Guidelines Available online and at Heights Library by Michael Graves

Historic Preservation Design Guidelines, a strategy report, is now available online and in hard copy at the Heights Library reference desk, where it will be retained on a permanent basis. There are three copies of the Design Guidelines, but the volumes are for in-library use only. A coin-operated copy machine is available at the Heights Library; black-and-white copies cost 15 cents per page. The report is contained in a three-ring binder, which makes copying easy.

In addition to the Design Guidelines report, videos of earlier Historic District community workshops are available online at the project’s webpage: http://www.houstontx.gov/planning/HistoricPres/Design-Guidelines-Heights.html

The next Community Workshop for Historic Districts is scheduled for Tuesday, June 20, from 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. at the Heights Fire Station, 107 West 12th Street. 

For more information, contact Steph McDougal, project manager, City of Houston Planning & Development Dept., 832-393-6541, or email: steph.mcdougal@houstontx.gov.

Houston Innovation Week 2017 by Michael Graves

Houston Innovation Week 2017 will be at the Leonel Castillo Center May 1st-5th . Classes on Thursday, May 4th will be entirely in Spanish.

Over 30 free, one-hour business and financial education sessions will be offered on leadership, innovation, financial success, marketing, and social entrepreneurship.

People can sign up and get more info on the website:  https://peoplefund.org/iwhou/ 
 
 

The Constable Patrol: Introducing Deputy Hathhorn by Michael Graves

This post is part of an effort to introduce the people who patrol the Woodland Heights as part of the Constable Patrol Program.

As a native Houstonian, Deputy Hathhorn is the night time patrol Deputy for Woodland Heights. While Deputy Hathhorn is new to the Woodland Heights contract, he has been with Harris
County Constable Precinct 1 for six years.

Deputy Hathhorn served for three of those years as a Reserve Deputy. He enjoys serving others. He served the City of Friendswood, Texas as a Fire Fighter and Emergency Medical Technician for six years. In 2016 he was awarded a Bravery Medal
by Constable Alan Rosen. Without regard to his own personal safety, Deputy Hathhorn placed himself in harm’s way to savea citizen.

He has been married for sixteen years and has two children. He loves dogs, raises cattle, and enjoys outdoor life. Deputy Hathhorn believes that community policing has a huge impact
in Woodland Heights. He serves this community as if it were his own community.

Meet The WHCA Board for 2017-8 by Michael Graves

The picture above was taken on March 21st following the WHCA General Meeting that elected the board for the coming year. The new board is (Left-to-Right):

Tyson Greer, President
Melissa Sternfels, VP Membership
Brad Snead, VP Security
Michael Graves, VP Communication
Beth Allen-Brock, Secretary
Matthew Reynolds, President-Elect
Carla Reed, VP Beautification
Craig L Jackson, VP Deed Restrictions
Melissa McKee, Treasurer
Matt Johnson, VP Infrastructure (not shown)

The board meets to conduct the business of the WHCA once a month. In addition, general meetings are held every second month.

 

 

 

WHCA March 2017 Newsletter by Michael Graves

Last week the WHCA newsletter for March was printed and passed to the block captains for distribution. By now most residents should have received one at their door. You can also download a copy by clicking on the image shown here.

This issue of the newsletter contains:

  • The Friends of Woodland Park Firefly Field Day.
  • Details about the Constable Patrol Program for 2017-18.
  • Introductions to our Harris County Deputies.
  • News of changes to the FEMA flood insurance program affecting Woodland Terrace residents
  • A financial update for WHCA.
  • A listing of the newly elected WHCA board of Directors.

This issue places special emphasis on membership renewal and the Constable Patrol Program, which both run from April 1, 2017 to March 31, 2018. We're hopeful that the membership appreciates the benefits provided by the Constable Patrol. Our ability to sustain the patrol coverage depends upon sufficient households supporting the Constable Patrol Program in this new year.

Friends Of Woodland Park Firefly Field Day by Michael Graves

On Saturday, Feb. 25th the Friends of Woodland Park (“FWP”) held Firefly Field Day at Woodland Park.  The event was generously underwritten by the WHCA.  The weather was perfect, and the turnout was tremendous as residents from all over the greater Heights area attended.

As has become a custom for our family friendly events, Bayou City Play brought their crafts, materials, and creativity for the children to build whatever they wished.

Our FWP Master Naturalist and Travis Elementary Garden Instructor, Steve Brennan, was there with his plant, animal and critter materials which are always a huge hit with children of all ages.
The primary purpose of our event was to introduce the neighborhood to the now fully approved Firefly Field sculpture designed by fourth generation Woodland Heights resident, Dylan Conner.  Our sculptor was there and engaged many of the attendees with his concept and design for this incredible addition to the park.  We had renderings prepared by our landscape architectural advisors and advocates, SWA, to show everyone just exactly what the sculpture will look like when installed.  We also had fun giveaways, door prizes and snacks for all in attendance.

We were very proud to introduce our City Council District H Representative and Woodland Heights resident, Karla Cisneros, who provided some very kind words and presented a check for $10,000 as the first donation for the Firefly Field!

But the fun and donations did not end there.  Representatives from Elan Heights/Greystar were also there to present the FWP with a check for $15,000 to fully underwrite the matching fund required to have a B-cycle station installed in the park.  Word from the executive director of the B-cycle program is that our application is being fast tracked and the station will be powered via solar energy so that it can be installed and fully functioning before summer arrives.

Woodland Park was once the destination for entertainment and outdoor fun for Houstonians. With Firefly Field, we hope to return this historic park to some of its former glory. We know the surrounding community will benefit from a rejuvenated park culture full of activity and exploration. Please visit the project’s website and consider supporting Firefly Field (www.fwp.fund).

- Pat Rutledge for Friends of Woodland Park

Historic District Workshop March 30, 2017 by Michael Graves

Workshop will reveal results of Design Survey And take community comments

A community workshop on March 30 will be conducted by the City of Houston Planning & Development Department to present results from a survey of historic districts and to gather feedback. The workshop will take place Thursday, March 30, at Heights Theatre, from 6:00 p.m. until 8 p.m. Address of Heights Theatre is 339 W. 19th Street.

According to its website, the City received 871 responses to a Compatible Design Survey it mailed to owners of 3,486 properties located in six historic districts. The highest survey participation rates were in Freeland (64% of 36 properties) and Woodland Heights (30% of 386 properties). The highest number of responses came from Houston Heights East (237, or 26%) and Norhill (197, or 23%).

The results of the mail survey, as well as input from meetings, were used to develop a Strategy Paper. The Strategy Paper also includes findings and recommendations from consultants.

Copies of the Strategy Paper will be available for review beginning March 16 online (houstontx.gov/planning/HistoricPres) and at the Heights Library reference desk for two weeks prior to the March 30 workshop and for one week afterward.

Anyone unable to attend the workshop may submit comments or questions through Sunday, April 9, online to project manager Steph McDougal at steph.mcdougal@houstontx.gov or via postal mail to Steph McDougal, City of Houston, P.O. Box 1562, Houston TX 77251-1562.

WHCA General Meeting Reminder by Michael Graves

We want to see you there!

The next WHCA general meeting is set for Tuesday, March 21, at 7 p.m. at Hogg Middle School Cafeteria. The key item for the meeting is election of new WHCA Board members for the 2017-18 term.

The following positions are up for election:

  • President (presides over board meetings, oversees all business and operations of the Association)
  • President-Elect (president in waiting for the 2018-19 term)
  • Treasurer (handles the WHCA's accounting, must be proficient in accounting concepts and software)
  • Secretary (prepares minutes of WHCA board and general meetings, maintains books and records of the WHCA)
  • VP, Beautification (responsible for nominating yard of the month, proposing and executing other beautification projects)
  • VP, Communications (responsible for maintaining the website and preparing and distributing the newsletter)
  • VP, Deed Restrictions (responsible for monitoring land use and deed restriction issues in the neighborhood, must be a lawyer licensed in Texas)
  • VP, Infrastructure (responsible for monitoring all infrastructure issues in the neighborhood, such as the recent sidewalk construction and METRO issues)
  • VP, Membership (sign up new members each year, maintain database of members)
  • VP, Security (responsible for managing the Constable program and contracts)

If you would like to nominate yourself, download the nomination form, fill it out, and email it to the nominating committee at pat@flagstonemortgage.com. Nominations must be submitted by Monday, March 20th. Nominations from the floor are not permitted.

Please note: to be considered for any Board position, you must be a paid member of the WHCA prior to election. Thanks!