Urban Land Institute Panel Determines “Astrodome Can and Should Live On”

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, center, and HCSCC Chairman Edgar Colón, third from left, with ULI panelists. Photo by Stephanie Ann Jones.

Harris County Judge Ed Emmett, center, and HCSCC Chairman Edgar Colón, third from left, with ULI panelists.
Photo by Stephanie Ann Jones.

An advisory panel from the Urban Land Institute (ULI) has recommended repurposing the Astrodome as a multi-use facility and public park. After spending a week in Houston, the group of ten real estate professionals presented its findings Friday morning during a public meeting at NRG Center.

The panel included urban economists, developers and designers from across the country. In developing their recommendations for the county-owned stadium, the panelists interviewed more than 80 community leaders and stakeholders, included representatives from the Houston Texas NFL football team and the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, the two major tenants at NRG Park.

Los Angeles developer Wayne Ratkovich, the panel’s chair, said that redeveloping the Dome would require the same type of bold leadership that built the world’s first climate-controlled stadium. He noted that Houston was known as a city of “grand ambitions and grand achievements” and stated that a revitalized Astrodome could continue to host historic events and activities that enhance the quality of life for all Houstonians. Panel member and former Pittsburgh mayor Tom Murphy challenged Harris County residents, saying they had “an intersection of choices: bold or timid and common interest vs. self-interest” to create an exciting civic experience.

The centerpiece of the project would be an indoor park featuring a variety of cultural and recreational destinations, including a public viewing area and running track on one of the former seating tiers near the top of the Dome. The park would have removable turf to provide a solid floor for special events such as Super Bowl LI in 2017, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo, and Offshore Technology Conference. The park would be constructed above a two-level parking garage with 2000 spaces that would provide one potential source of revenue for the project.

The panel envisions a natural gathering place with individual programmable spaces. In a nod toward energy efficiency and reduced maintenance costs, the panel suggested building four open-air portals to provide natural ventilation and give the space “an indoor/outdoor character”; smaller climate-controlled buildings would be constructed within the Dome for public programming and to provide rental income.

The recommendations go beyond the stadium’s interior and would surround the Dome with green space. A major feature of the plan is a park and live oak allée connecting the historic stadium with the MetroRail station. The proposal also calls for shaded connectors between the Astrodome, NRG Stadium, and NRG Center.

The panelists suggested creating a public/private partnership to move forward with the project. They emphasized the remarkable history of both Harris County and the City of Houston in getting things done and cited Discovery Green, the recreation areas along Buffalo Bayou, and BBVA Compass Stadium as successful models for the proposed Dome partnership. The panel also noted the important role that tax credits could play in the project, including state and federal historic preservation incentives.

The panel’s work was sponsored by the Harris County Sports & Convention Corp. (HCSCC) with support from the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Preservation Houston’s national partner. Friday’s presentation is on the HCSCC website. The panel’s written report will be completed in the next 60 to 90 days.

Preservation Houston will continue to serve as a resource in the redevelopment efforts for the Astrodome and will keep its members apprised of any updates related to the ULI study

Santa Arrives Early for Family in Need

The Rodriguez Family recently lost their home in Pasadena to a fire. Jumping at a chance to bring some holiday cheer to a family in need, the Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary “adopted” Joe and Esther, along with their three children. The family received $500 to help with rent, a stack of gift cards, and toys and bicycles for the kids.

Family Adoption

Joe and Esther Rodriguez, with 3-year-old Joshua, and Gift Shop Team Leader Fran Wright of Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital Volunteer Auxiliary

Firefighter Proposes to Queens Intermediate Teacher During Surprise Fire Drill

Rusty Ryan turned an ordinary school day into one Amanda Williams, Queens Intermediate teacher, will never forget.

On Dec. 17, Ryan, a Pearland firefighter, popped the question to his girlfriend during a fire drill at Queens Intermediate – and she said, “Yes.”

“I thought he was going to do something low key,” Williams said amid the excitement. “I was not expecting this.”

Ryan, who coordinated the surprise with Queens staff, proposed in front of students, staff and his fellow firefighters who tagged along to show support.


Silvercrest PTA News – January 2015

Silvercrest PTA

We hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season, we are looking forward to a brand new year full of great school activities here at Silvercrest, here’s to a fantastic 2015! Go Stallions!

PTA General Meeting

Please take note that our next general meeting will take place on Thursday, January 15th at 6.30pm in the school cafeteria. Our PTA does great work and we look forward to seeing old friends and new, so come along and find out how the PTA works on behalf of our school.

PTA Membership

Make one of your new year resolutions to join our PTA! We are so proud of the number of parents who get involved, but there’s always room for more! If you would like more information, please contact Allison Byman at adbyman@yahoo.com. At Silvercrest we enjoy being part of the local community and we also welcome any community members who would like to participate in our PTA. Please visit the PTA website, silvercrestpta.org for more information. To join, simply stop by the front office at Silvercrest or contact Allison for details on joining by mail.

Magazine Drive

The Silvercrest Environmental Committee is happy to announce the second year of our magazine drive!! Now is the time to save your magazines for the collection dates at school in the spring (these dates will be announced via flyers and in print).

The magazine recycling project is a reuse effort in which used magazines are donated by Silvercrest students to the patient areas of the Baylor College of Medicine Clinics in the Texas Medical Center. Last year, BCM in return donated doctor’s coats with old logos to our school to be used as smocks in the art classes.

Magazines should be no more than 3 months old and you MUST remove or color out your name and address information. A prize will be given to the class with the most participation.

Please encourage your student(s) to help save magazines from filling the landfills. Thank you for your participation in this great project!

Any questions, please contact Stacy at smjhvaughn@gmail.com.

Food Drive

The Silvercrest PTA Community Outreach Committee’s fall food drive benefiting the Pearland Neighborhood Center ended on November 14th. We collected 1860 items weighing 1487.3 pounds! That is a fantastic result and shows what great students and parents we have here at Silvercrest!   The third graders brought in the most items this year, a big congratulations to them. They will be enjoying a healthy snack to recognize their achievement.

Way to go Silvercrest students and families! Thank you to all who participated in this wonderful way to give back to our community. Thank you also to all who volunteered their time during the food drive!

Third Grade Students of the Week With Food Drive Items

Stallion Stampede

Mark this on your 2015 calendars – we are excited to announce that our Stallion Stampede will be on Saturday, April 25th 2015.   This is always a great event and includes a Fun Run, pancake breakfast and silent auction. More details closer to the date, but we know so many of you support this fantastic fundraiser for our school each year and we want to make sure you keep the date free!

Guest Editorial: Prescription for a Safe Holiday Season

Written by: Dannielle Meyer, Brazoria County Community Coalition Coordinator, BACODA

As you prepare for your holiday celebrations, there is so much to do. As you make your lists, and check them twice, there’s one important detail that you may not think of addressing: Where are you keeping your medicine?

It’s certainly not the first thing you may think of while cooking with family or trimming the tree, but your holiday cheer could be ruined if you need to rush a child to the ER after they’ve eaten Grandma’s medicine. And remember those painkillers you got after your root canal last year? Those might be a source of temptation for a curious teenager or someone struggling with an addiction. More than 50% of prescription drug abusers got the drugs from family or friends for free, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

Keep your family safe this holiday season with these simple tips:

  1. Remove your medications from the medicine cabinet and lock them out of sight in a secure location.
  2. While you are moving your medications, do an inventory and check for prescriptions that have expired or are no longer needed.  These medications can be safely disposed of through the Brazoria County Prescription Drug Return Program. Prescription Drug Drop Boxes are available at the Police Departments in Alvin, Angleton, Clute, Freeport, Lake Jackson, and Sweeny. The Drop Boxes are located in the lobby. All pills and patches are accepted. This service is provided to the community for free and no questions asked.
  3. Inform your guests about the need for storing medicine safely with children around and offer a secure, out of reach place to keep them during their stay.
  4. Just in case, have the American Association of Poison Control Centers’ number programmed into your phone, 1-800-222-1222.

This year, Brazoria County has made great strides in preventing prescription drug abuse. Six permanent prescription drug drop boxes are in place across the county, and since February, 1,017.8 pounds of drugs have been collected. On behalf of the Brazoria County Prescription Drug Abuse Task Force, we thank you for protecting our youth, our community, and our environment by ridding your homes of unneeded medications.

Lake Jackson Chief of Police Rick Park emphasized the importance of the Drop Boxes, saying, “The Lake Jackson Police Department Prescription Drop Box provides our citizens with a safe means to dispose of medications which might otherwise find their way into the hands of our children, or end up in our wastewater systems or landfills. The simple existence of a “no questions asked” location for disposal of these potentially dangerous substances has been quite successful in encouraging the public to partner with us in making a safer environment for everyone. It’s a win-win situation for our agency and the community we serve.”

For more information on prescription drug disposal or preventing prescription drug abuse, contact Brazoria County Community Coalition at coalitions@bacoda.org or visit www.bacoda.org.

Pearland Council Considers Zone Change, Submits Projects for Funding

Former City Councilmember Larry Marcott opposes the proposed rezoning application.

Former City Councilmember Larry Marcott opposes the proposed rezoning application.

Pearland City Council met early at 5:30 p.m. for its regular meeting Monday (Dec. 15) at City Hall (3519 Liberty Dr.) to make time for two public hearings afterward.

Two citizens took the time to attend the meeting to address concerns with the staff and the state of the natatorium. A third resident expressed concern about the one-way nature of City social media communication.

Council voted unanimously to have a second reading of Ordinance 2000M-128, which would change the zone rating of approximately two acres located on Broadway St. near Southern Trails from Planned Development (PD) to General Business (GB) with certain restrictions.

This land was originally intended for a fire station, but is now not going to be used as such. The owner of the parcel, CL Ashton Woods, L.P., would like to put retail businesses on it, as a CVS store already exists there.

Restrictions would include auto repair and service, animal services, storage units, stand-alone and drive-thru restaurants and “big box” department stores.

Council will hold the second reading of this ordinance on Jan. 12 after reviewing the types of restricted businesses to determine if any would bring a positive impact to the area.

Councilmembers also unanimously voted to approve the submission of five project applications to the Houston-Galveston Area Council (HGAC) for funding from the 2015-2018 Transportation Improvement Plan (TIP).

These projects consist of starting construction of the right-of-way for Hughes Ranch Rd. (CR 403) to allow it to become an access point to the future Hwy 288 toll lanes; improving and extending Mykawa Rd. from the Beltway frontage road to FM 518; making Safe Routes to School improvements around Pearland Junior High South, Cockrell Elementary and Carleston Elementary, which would provide more ways for children to walk or bike to school safely; extending the Clear Creek Trail from the Riverstone Ranch development to the UHCL Pearland campus; and creating a northbound feeder road on the east side of Hwy 288.

HGAC reviews and hands down decisions about submitted applications in May.

At approximately 6:40 p.m., the public hearings began, concerning the proposed annexation of approximately 11.5 acres of land located on the west side of CR 48, west of Southern Trails and south of Broadway St. into the city limits. Should the annexation proceed, the owner would like to combine it with the 20 acres to the west of this property and rezone it to Single Family Residential 1 (R-1) for a Cluster Plan Development of low-density housing (0-4 houses per acre).

Former City Councilmember Larry Marcott spoke out against the rezoning, saying that large homes would not be consistent with existing structures.

Councilmember Gary Moore pointed out that R-1 zoning would not allow for large homes.

Following state and federal guidelines, the Reading of the Annexation Ordinance will take place on Jan. 12 and the Pre-Clearance (Justice Department notification) will take place on Feb. 26.

Staff recommendation was to approve both the annexation and the rezoning.

Brazoria County Sheriff Dog Retires with One Last Huge Marijuana Bust

622x350A Brazoria County Sheriff dog responsible for countless drug busts in his six years of service had one last hurrah before he retired Friday.

Erko, the police dog, who has been with Brazoria County Sheriff’s office since around 2008, chose the day before he hung up his harness to nab a suspect for $22,000 worth of hydroponic marijuana.

The 8-year-old Belgian Malinois has sniffed out a total of 5,000 pounds of marijuana, five pounds of methamphetamine, five kilos of cocaine and half a million dollars in cash during his career.

It appears he was saving one of the best busts for last.

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Finding Our Voice: Moody Sets Tone from Day One

He stands watchfully on the sidelines at games, applauds from the dark audience at theater productions and knows what to say in all kinds of situations. His voice may be better known than his face, and when projected from the school intercom system,  can quiet even the chattiest classroom.

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