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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.

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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. (more…)

Aldine ISD holds 60th FFA Livestock Show

The Grand Champion Steer was exhibited by Nick Cain, seen at right, and purchased by the First Construction Group for $14,000. (More photos in the print edition.)

ALDINE – A spirited livestock auction was held last Friday night at Campbell Center. The FFA students from all five high schools held their 60th Annual Livestock Show and Sale of Champions, with sales at approximately $180,000, down from last year’s total of $224,000. There were 63 lots, including artwork, buckles, cakes, and the animals that the students raised all year.

The top grand champion steer was raised by Nick Cain, and sold for $14,000. Cain also raised the GC steer last year. The buyer was First Construction Group.

Other notable sales were grand champion pig, raised by Zarius Johnson, and sold for $9000, an increase of $2000 over the previous year. The buyer was the Optimist Club. The grand champion goat was raised by Azaria Jackson, and sold for $5,500. The buyer was the AISD Operations Group.

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Rep. Sylvia Garcia appointed to powerful House Financial Services and Judiciary Committees

Congresswoman Sylvia R.
Garcia (Photo by Allan Jamail)

By Allan Jamail

January 16, 2019 — Congresswoman Sylvia R. Garcia of the 29th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives was recently appointed on two of the House’s most influential committees.

To get appointed on the House Financial Services Committee and the House Judiciary Committee for the 116th Congress is a testament to her many accomplishments as a public servant.

“These assignments are vital to the Houston region, the State of Texas, and the nation. I’ve always fought for working families, and my appointments will allow me to use that experience to continue these efforts,” Garcia said. “It is an honor to serve on two impactful Committees.”

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Northwood Plaza Center on Aldine Mail Rt. sold

Brixmor Property Group Inc., a New York City-based shopping center Real State Investment Trust (REIT) has purchased Northwood Plaza, a shopping center located at 5160-5420 Aldine Mail Rt. and anchored by Food City grocery store. The shopping center sits on 10.9 acres on Aldine Mail Rt and Highway 59. The 136,747 sq. ft. retail center was 91 percent leased at the time of the sale, other tenants include Melrose, Subway, Family Dollar, Pan Riko Bakery, Supreme Beauty Supply, Discount Tire, WingStop, Vision Source, Burger King, High Star Cleaner and other businesses.

Pct.2 distributes food during government shutdown

Precinct 2 staff turned out last Friday morning to help distribute the food.

HARRIS COUNTY PCT. 2 – During the current federal government shutdown, veterans and federal employees impacted were able to get food baskets and resource guides at two Food Fairs held at Precinct 2 community centers.

Pct. 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia partnered with the Food Bank to provide drive-thru style support at the Northeast Community Center, and East Harris County Activity Center. Garcia said the event will repeat in the future if necessary.

East Aldine bond rating upgraded by S&P

EAST ALDINE – David Hawes, executive director of the East Aldine District, reports that Standard & Poors, the nationwide credit rating service, has upgraded its evaluation of the District. The result of this upgrade is that bonds that the District sells will have a lower interest rate, leaving a larger net cash reserve for use in the ongoing community projects that the District is undertaking.

The East Aldine Management District has been given a rating of AA- according to S&P Global Ratings. This is primarily due to: continued expansion and diversification of the district area; a very strong audited sales tax collections through 2017 and debt service coverage (DSC) at 3.5x MADS.

The raters view that nationwide sales tax revenue collections have exhibited relatively low volatility with no history of significant volatility at the local level; and the district’s general creditworthiness partially offsets the above credit strengths of the sales tax bond structure.

Some excerpts from the final S&P rating report follow:

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Commissioner Adrian Garcia visits Castlewood Civic Club

Commissioner Adrian Garcia, left, with Castlewood Civic Club members including President Connie Esparza at last week’s meeting.

Commissioner Adrian Garcia’s visit to Castlewood at Bethel Community Church last Thursday proved productive and informative.

The Commissioner listened attentively to the concerns of its residents such as bayou and ditch cleanup, water drainage from ditches, security issues, excessive gunfire in the area, maintenance of vacant lots and abandoned cars, dumping, problems with septic tanks and its possible conversion and heavy trash pickup.

Commissioner Garcia set priorities for the subdivision, first and foremost he said, is the flood mitigation beginning with identifying the proper sheet flow, stripping of the streets in the area, street repair of pot holes and appropriate lighting in the general area. Particular focus is being dedicated to the water drainage coming from Maya Park through Connorvale and possible repurposing of the area off Aldine Westfield on Gault.

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Richard Cantu holds “Thank You” Reception

RICHARD CANTU was recently elected to the Harris County School Board.

RICHARD CANTU, the Assistant Director for the East Aldine District, was elected in November as a member of the Harris County School Board. To thank all his supporters, he held a Victory reception at Mannie’s Seafood Restaurant last week. Pictured above are Patti Acosta, Connie Esparza, Steve Mead, State Senator Carol Alvarado, Richard Cantu, Art Murillo, and Joyce Wiley, just a few of the attendees at the event.

60th annual Aldine ISD Livestock Show set Jan. 30-Feb. 1

Eisenhower High School FFA student Nick Cain raised the Grand Champion Steer at the 2018 Aldine ISD Livestock Show and Country Fair. This year’s event will take place Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center.

The 60th annual Aldine ISD Livestock Show and Country Fair will be held Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the M.O. Campbell Educational Center.

Project judging will be held on Thursday, Jan. 31, beginning at 8 a.m. and concluding at 4 p.m. in the Campbell Center Arena.

On Thursday and Friday, all projects will be on display to the public throughout the day.

The Sale of Champions, which produced $224,007 in sales in 2018, will be held Friday evening (Feb. 1) at 7 p.m. and will be held in the Arena. In addition to FFA students’ projects being auctioned off, Aldine ISD art students will also have their art work auctioned off.

Prior to the Sale of Champions, the buyer’s dinner will be held at 5 p.m. During the buyer’s dinner, AISD art students will have their art projects on display and individuals will have the opportunity to bid on the artwork.

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