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Posts published in “Day: February 12, 2019

East Aldine progress report on the Town Center development

AERIAL VIEW of the new East Aldine Town Center as taken by a drone. Aldine Mail Route is in the foreground, Keith-Wiess Park beyond, and on the horizon downtown Houston. The center includes the Harris County 9-1-1 Call Center, at left, the BakerRipley complex at the center, and the Lone Star College-North Harris campus at right, with an Aldine ISD early college program. The cleared land at left will be a commercial development, including a Joe V’s supermarket. The land beyond BakerRipley will have new offices for the East Aldine District, and a public amphitheater and children’s park. (Photo by ev1).

The $100 million East Aldine Town Center project, when complete, will feature a Lone Star College campus, a Harris County 9-1-1 call center, the new home for BakerRipley Community Center (which has already been built), private commercial development, and the headquarters for the East Aldine Management District, and more importantly, it’s about the community having a place to learn, visit, and enjoy.

According to Don Huml the District’s Construction Manager for the development, there have been some unique challenges in getting the project off the ground. Or maybe more accurately, getting the ground out of the way of the project.

When the 61-acre parcel was purchased in 2013, it had been serving as a site to place the extra dirt that the Harris County Flood Control District needed to excavate in order to create the detention basin (lakes) in the adjacent Keith-Wiess Park. Before construction could begin on the town center, that dirt had to be scooped up and hauled away, a task that cost millions of dollars and several years in time.

Total construction will come to approximately 250,000 sq. ft. of commercial and institutional space, of which 100,000 sq. ft. will be commercial retail and office space, 64,500 sq. ft. will belong to Lone Star College’s East Aldine campus (which will include an early college high school), and 24,000 sq. ft. to the management district’s offices and 23,000 for the Harris County 9-1-1 call center. The remaining 33,500 sq. ft. is allocated to BakerRipley and includes a “maker space” to assist in skill and business support for the East Aldine community.

In addition to the institutions the town center will be hosting, there will also be both a retail component and amenities free to the general public, such as splash pads and a central park and playground area. The project will also include a Discovery Green/Miller Outdoor Theatre-style amphitheater with a capacity for 1,500 concertgoers. Area community leaders have formed the East Aldine Arts Council, which hopes to bring visual and performing arts to the Town Center grounds and facilities.

It is possible that the town center will also become the principal gateway to Keith-Wiess Park, supplementing the existing entryway on Aldine-Westfield. A future road access into Keith-Wiess Park as well as several trail connections are planned in order to tie these two world class properties together. A future recreational/nature center is envisioned in the park which would complete the puzzle and put this 500-acre park and town center complex on the map of the Greater Houston region.

Huml says that the retail component will be anchored by a Joe V’s Smart Shop, a community oriented grocery concept operated by H-E-B, and that the town center will eventually be home to restaurants, coffee shops, and more.

Harris County Judge Linda Hidalgo launches Civic Engagement Plan

Harris County Judge

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas – Last weekend Judge Linda Hidalgo kicked off the first Civic Saturday event as part of “Talking Transition: Harris County,” a program designed to promote the public’s involvement in shaping the county’s future.

Talking Transition: Harris County

This initiative of the newly-elect Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo will bring together thousands of Harris County residents from all walks of life to have our voices heard about issues that matter to us—from the education of our children to the fairness of our justice system—to share ideas, and to collectively inform the Judge’s priorities for her first year.

We all know that there are no shortage of good ideas in our communities that can help improve our schools, our hospitals, our courts, and the rest of the the ways that county government affects people’s lives. The goal of this initiative is to make sure that all of us who want to improve our communities understand how county government works—and how we can change it.

It’s not an accident that most people don’t understand the workings of government—it’s not easy or accessible because that’s how those who have traditionally been in power have maintained it. But that’s not how it should be. We want to make county government more open and more accessible to every single one of us that has the desire to participate. In other words, we want to make Harris County live up to the idea that democracy is government by us, for us. –Harris County Judge Office

Upcoming Civic Saturdays

A series of full-day public events will take place on several consecutive Saturdays throughout the County. Each Civic Saturday will consist of:

1. A large gathering organized around a specific theme (examples include education, health, and transportation) that will give people a chance to share new ideas for improving their communities and to hear from others;

2. Smaller working groups for people who have devoted time to specific issues to focus on how to best realize community-driven ideas through county government; and

3. Classroom style lessons on the workings of county government.

Harris County Public Health confirms three measles cases in Harris County

Health authorities recommends individuals to get protected through vaccination

HOUSTON – Harris County Public Health (HCPH) confirms three measles cases in Harris County. The patients, whose identities will remain confidential, are two boys (under the age of 2) and a 25 – 35 year-old woman. All three patients reside in northwest Harris County.

“Measles is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by a virus, which spreads to others through coughing and sneezing,” said Umair A. Shah, MD, MPH, Executive Director for HCPH. “However, it is easily preventable. Parents and caregivers have the power to protect their children and themselves from this disease by getting vaccinated.”

The last confirmed report of a measles case in Harris County was by the City of Houston in 2018. This year, there are currently six confirmed reports of measles cases in the state of Texas. Measles can be dangerous, especially for babies and young children. Measles is an airborne virus that lives in the nose and throat mucus of an infected person. It can spread to others through coughing and sneezing. Symptoms of measles are a high fever, runny nose, cough, red watery eyes and sore throat that is followed by a rash breakout 3-5 days after symptoms begin.

Measles is highly contagious, and if one person has it, 9 out of 10 people around that person will also become infected if they’re not yet vaccinated. About 1 out of 4 people who get measles will be hospitalized. Measles is prevented through the combination MMR (measles, mumps and rubella) vaccine.

MetroNext Meetings lead to new transit plan

New lines to Airports included

METRO is working on the development of a regional transit plan, MetroNext, that will identify major capital investments and other improvements needed to meet the mobility challenges of the next 20 years. As part of this process, METRO held a series of community open houses to give the public an opportunity to share ideas on future transit needs throughout the Houston region. The results of that public input are the foundation for a draft “Moving Forward” plan that they want to get your input on.

In addition to expanded park-and-ride service, METRO is also looking for better public transit access to both major Houston airports.

The MetroNext plan proposes an I-45 North Bus Rapid Transport line downtown to George Bush Intercontinental Airport, which would provide station-to-station service similar to a Light Rail Transit system, while accommodating multiple routes. The plan also includes two proposed Light Rail Transit route extensions to William P. Hobby Airport.