I want to express my heartfelt thanks to you and all the residents of District I for giving me the opportunity to serve and represent you on City Council! I’m honored and humbled by your trust and the confidence you have in me and our team. I take great pride in our work and all that we have accomplished over the past 6 years, and the work ahead of us.
As we prepare for 2020, and a new term in office, I’m excited to continue working on behalf of the people of District I to address challenges in our community and to secure lasting and meaningful solutions.
Finally, serving the people of District I is a team effort, and I have the most dedicated council team in Celia, Gloria, Joaquin, and Daniel. I sincerely thank them for their passion, energy, and commitment to service. We are looking forward to 2020!
So, on behalf of our entire team, we wish you a merry Christmas, a joyous holiday, and a fruitful new year.
Houston Council Member
Remembering HPD Sgt. Christopher Brewster
On Saturday, December 7, Houston Police Sergeant Chris Brewster was shot and tragically lost his life while responding to a report of domestic violence in Magnolia Park. His loss has touched many of our residents on a very personal level.
Eastside officers are some of the best and most dedicated officers around. Sgt. Brewster epitomized that passion and commitment to service. Those who worked with Sgt. Brewster have said he loved his profession and described him as a shining example of service, selflessness, courage, and honor. He was an inspiration to his friends, fellow officers, and so many across our community.
Sgt. Brewster not only served District I residents, but he also lived in the district. He embraced our community, and we were lucky to call him our friend and neighbor. As we mourn his loss, we pledge to honor his memory, his sacrifice, and the work he did every single day to make our community a better place.
We send our prayers and deepest sympathies to his family, friends, and HPD family. We are forever grateful for Sgt. Brewster’s service and sacrifice.
For those looking to donate to the family of Sgt. Brewster – Assist The Officer and The 100 Club Survivor’s Fund both give 100% of your donation directly to the dependents of fallen officers.
Assist the Officer: www.assisttheofficer.com/support
100 Club Houston: www.the100club.org/give/donate-to-the-survivors-fund/
Additionally, this Wednesday and Thursday (Dec 18-19th), Papa John’s Houston will be donating profits from online orders to the family of Sergeant Brewster when you order online and use promo code: HOUSTONCARES
Facility for Latino Arts – Visioning Survey
The City of Houston in November announced a plan to preserve and enhance Hispanic art and cultural programming in partnership with MECA.
Councilman Gallegos joined Mayor Turner, artists, educators and local leaders to announce that MECA will manage and operate programming at the city’s facility on Jensen, formerly operated by Talento Bilingue de Houston (TBH), after the previous operator ceased operations in September.
“I’m grateful to all the partners, Mayor Turner, Houston First, MECA and Alice Valdez, for working with us and the community. We must continue to support and grow cultural programming, and this is yet another example of the city’s effort to do so,” noted Councilman Gallegos.
The City and its partners are now in the process of developing a long-term plan for the city-owned facility, which is located in the East End Cultural District. The vision is to build on the history of the facility as a home for Latino arts and realize a dynamic and welcoming cultural center serving residents, visitors, and local artists.
As part of this process, the City is collecting input from the community and artists to help inform the decision. The community is encouraged to complete a survey:
English survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/MJLK8NF
Spanish survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/TDPGDSK
Sims Bayou Greenway Hike-and-Bike Trail Update
Houston Parks Board, a local nonprofit organization, is continuing its work in partnership with the City of Houston to create a connected hike-and-bike trail system along Sims Bayou as part of their Bayou Greenways 2020 project.
As District I residents may have seen, Houston Parks Board built a trail from Milby Park to the intersection of Glenview and Deeda, just east of I-45. In preparation for continuing the trail under I-45, they will make repairs to an existing golf cart bridge that was used when the Glenbrook Golf Course was in operation.
The golf cart bridge, which is the closest bridge to I-45, will be updated so that future trail users can cross Sims Bayou to access the trail system. The project includes the replacement of the existing wood decking with new wood and new safety handrails.
Houston Parks Board estimates work to begin January 2020 and finish in the spring. After work is complete, the bridge will remain closed to the public until the rest of the Sims Bayou Greenway is complete.
For more information on the project, contact Houston Parks Board at [email protected] or call their office at 713-942-8500.
More Progress Made in Reducing Age of HFD Fleet
The City of Houston and the Houston Fire Department have been moving to increase the fleet’s capability. Last week, the department placed 4 new fire trucks in service. Three new ladder trucks and one new tower will replace existing trucks with an average age of over 10 years, thus reaching a milestone. Once the new tower is placed in service, all 5 of the departments front-line towers will be 6 years old or less. These trucks represent a nearly $4 Million investment approved by Mayor Sylvester Turner and City Council.
“The Houston fire department has a sizable fleet made up of 88 frontline engine trucks, 35 ladder trucks, 5 tower trucks, 103 ambulances and over 200 light & medium duty vehicles and reserve apparatus. We have been focused on properly resourcing the replacement and maintenance of our entire inventory. There will always be more needs than money, but our goal is to ensure we have appropriate turnover of the fleet. Our firefighters and our residents deserve the best equipment we can provide,” Chief Sam Peña, Houston Fire.
Since July 2018, the department has received
- 18 fire engines,
- 5 ladder trucks
- 2 tower trucks
- 24 ambulances
- 7 Incident command crew cab vehicles and
- 10 emergency rescue/support 4×4 crew cab units
Community Breaks Ground on Park Place Blvd Improvements
Last month, the community broke ground on a major project to improve Park Place Blvd. The $4.5 million project will repair base failures, add new sub grade and pavement for a better driving surface, repair the gutter line, and add new 8-foot-wide sidewalks on both sides of Park Place from Old Galveston Rd. to I-45.
Additionally, new pedestrian signals and decorative lighting will be added to make this stretch safer for pedestrians. “The City of Houston committed $1.2 million toward the project, and I’m grateful to the Gulfgate TIRZ for their $3.3 million commitment as well,” said Councilman Gallegos, who helped initiate the parnership between the City’s Public Works Department and the Gulfgate Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ 8). “It’s another excellent example of how we can address important infrastructure needs when we work together.”
Work began earlier this month and should be completed at the end of 2020. Park Place Blvd. is the primary artery to Houston’s new Botanic Garden, which is set to open its doors to the public at the end of next year.
New Hub for Education, Manufacturing, Job Training to Open in the East End
City Council unanimously approved an agreement to help finance a portion of the costs to develop the new East End Innovation Maker Hub at 6501 Navigation. When completed next summer, the maker hub will provide 250,000 square feet of shared collaborative space to incubate new start-up businesses, provide job training and education for residents in our community and across the city. “I’m grateful to the East End Management District and TXRX for being lead partners in this effort, and all who have worked with us over the years and gotten us to this point,” said Councilman Gallegos.
In addition to the new maker hub facility that will be built on Navigation Blvd, a mini makerspace lab opened its doors to students at Eastwood Academy High School in November. The on-campus lab will help students explore science, technology, engineering, math and art in a fun and innovative environment. The program at Eastwood will also be open to area middle school students during the summer.
“I was proud to partner with TX/RX Labs and to provide $50,000 from the District I Service Fund to develop the new lab, which I’m confident will inspire our young people for many years to come,” added Gallegos.
Contract for Arts and Culture Services Grants Approved
Last month, City Council approved a contract with the Houston Arts Alliance (HAA) to manage and distribute approximately $128 million of Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) revenue for arts and culture grants over the next five to seven years.
The majority of the funding in the contract with HAA will be equally divided for grant applicants with operating arts budgets under $10 million and over $10 million. Additionally, 16.5 percent will be designated to support the Miller Outdoor Theatre.
By state law, municipalities collect a HOT from hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast establishments and use the revenues for the support of the arts to promote tourism and advance the convention and hotel industry.
Arts and culture offerings provide benefits to residents and improve quality of life through lifelong learning, student success, social and civic engagement, as well as significant economic benefits and jobs.
The local nonprofit arts and culture sector is a $1.2 billion industry that employs a wide range of professions, generates local and state government revenue and pumps more than half a billion dollars into restaurants, hotels, retail stores, parking garages, and other local businesses.
HOT-funded groups draw total audiences of about 11 million people per year and over half of the events are free to the public. The new contract ensures residents and visitors will continue to have access to a full range of cultural offerings from the largest institutions to neighborhood-based groups throughout Houston, providing film, choir, literary works, visual art, jazz, dance, theatre, musicals, outdoor sculpture, classical music, opera, murals, poetry, craft, folk & traditional arts, photography, and more.
Houston Arts Alliance administers City-funded competitive peer review grant programs to support the delivery of cultural services through over 300 non-profit arts and cultural organizations, individual artists and special art projects.
Solid Waste Collection and Facility Schedule for the holidays
Tuesday, December 24, 2019 (Christmas Eve-Observed)
Normal Collection Schedule
Wednesday, December 25, 2019 (Christmas Day)
CITY HOLIDAY: NO COLLECTION SERVICES. All Solid Waste facilities are closed. The Neighborhood Depositories/Recycling Centers, Westpark Recycling Center, Environmental Service Center and The Reuse Warehouse are closed.
Thursday, December 26, 2019
Thursday’s garbage collected, Thursday’s B-Week Curbside Recycling, Yard Waste and 4th Wednesday Heavy Trash collected. Neighborhood Depositories/Recycling Centers, Westpark Recycling Center and The Reuse Warehouse re-open.
Friday, December 27, 2019
Friday’s garbage collected, Friday’s B-Week Curbside Recycling, Yard Waste and 4th Thursday’s Heavy Trash Collected.
Saturday, December 28, 2019
4th Friday’s Heavy Trash Collected
Wednesday, January 1, 2020 (New Year’s Day)
CITY HOLIDAY: NO COLLECTION SERVICES. All Solid Waste facilities are closed.
Thursday, January 2, 2020
Thursday’s Garbage Collected, Curbside Recycling and Yard Waste – 1st Wednesday & 1st Thursday’s Tree Waste Collected. The Neighborhood Depositories/Recycling Centers, Westpark Recycling Center, Environmental Service Center and The Reuse Warehouse will be re-open.
Friday, January 3, 2020
Friday’s Garbage Collected, Curbside Recycling and Yard Waste collected. 1st Friday’s Tree Waste Collected. The Neighborhood Depositories/Recycling Centers, Westpark Recycling Center and The Reuse Warehouse open.
For more information, visit www.HoustonSolidWaste.org, or call 3-1-1, the City of Houston’s Customer Service Helpline.
Botanic Garden Reaches $35 Million Capital Campaign
The Houston Botanic Garden announced today that it has achieved its $35 million goal for the Grow Houston’s Garden capital campaign by meeting the deadline for a $750,000 challenge grant from the J.E. and L.E. Mabee Foundation.
“We are extremely grateful for the generous individuals and foundations who responded so enthusiastically to the vision for a magnificent botanic garden in the Houston city limits,” said Claudia Gee Vassar, president and general counsel of the Houston Botanic Garden. “We believe history will hold in high esteem all of those who worked tirelessly to realize this dream. Establishing a botanic garden rivalling the best in the nation will have significant cultural, educational, and scientific benefits for our great city.”
Phase I of the master plan for the Garden, developed by renowned landscape architecture firm West 8, includes elements essential to welcoming visitors to a beautiful space that celebrates the ecoregions and unique identity of the Bayou City, while also laying down critical infrastructure to support future growth.
In anticipation of this important milestone, the following are currently under construction on the Houston Botanic Garden site:
The Susan Garver Family Discovery Garden, centered around a lagoon, which will present opportunities for families to engage with nature in hands-on, direct ways.
The Global Collection Garden, which will demonstrate the wide variety of plants from across the globe that flourish in Houston’s climate.
The Edible Garden, which will showcase Houston’s culinary diversity through fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers, many of which visitors could grow in their own backyard.
Stormwater Wetlands and Coastal Prairie natural ecosystem areas, which will highlight the region’s immense biodiversity and help with flood mitigation and water purification.
Neighbors who travel Park Place Boulevard regularly will also notice significant progress on the Entrance Bridge over the Sims Bayou meander that will serve to connect visitors with the oak tree-lined Botanic Boulevard and direct them toward the Welcome Pavilion and adjacent Parking Forest.
“The Garden will truly be an oasis of learning, discovery, and horticultural beauty, showcasing Houston’s biodiversity in a serene setting only minutes from downtown,” said Nancy O’Connor Abendshein, chair of the Garden’s board of directors. “Visitors will be able to explore all the wonders of nature, participate in informative classes and festivals, and celebrate a variety of life events. This is absolutely a dream come true.”
Formed in 2002, Houston Botanic Garden is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to enrich lives through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.
The Garden broke ground in 2019 on a 132-acre site located a short distance from downtown Houston. The first of several planned phases over the next 30 years is expected to open in fall 2020 as a major addition to Houston’s cultural landscape and growing list of greenspaces. The Garden will provide a place for visitors to learn about plants, conservation, and nature; connect Houstonians across different cultures and ethnicities; and close an existing gap in our world-class city’s collection of amenities for residents and tourists. For more information, visit hbg.org .