The District J Journal – October 5, 2012

October 8, 2012

From the Office of Council Member Mike Laster
Official Newsletter of Houston City Council District J

Mike Laster - Flipped
832.393.3015

City Hall Annex
900 Bagby

Houston, TX  77002

PO Box 1562
Houston, TX 77251-1562

Leah Olive-Nishioka
Communications Director

Matt Brollier
Constituent Servi
ces Director

Jeremy Brown
Agenda & Policy Director

Sharon Shanahan
Administrative Services Director

 

BULLDOZERS, BACKHOES AND BONHAM PARK

During the past two weeks your District J office has received numerous phone calls inquiring about the construction activity in Bonham Park. The park is located in Sharpstown, at the corner of Carew Street and Brae Acres Road, immediately west of Bonham Elementary School, and several blocks northwest of Sharpstown High School.

Under Construction

Before I describe the nature of the park construction allow me to note that it is very gratifying to know that so many residents of District J are mindful and observant of what is happening in their neighborhoods. We appreciate your calls about activities in our community. Our residents serve as the eyes and ears of the District, so please call us whenever you have a question or you see something we need to know about.

The construction in Bonham Park is scheduled to continue for the next several weeks and will include the excavation of a new “neighborhood green” grass playing field, the installation of an underground storm drainage pipeline, and construction of nearly one quarter-mile of concrete sidewalks that will create two walking path loops within the park. Once completed, the newly sodded neighborhood green will have gently sloping sides designed to provide a natural barrier to wayward soccer balls that might roll out into oncoming traffic, as well as provide a comfortable spectator area for families to gather and watch sporting events. The concrete walkways will open the park to more extensive “mud free” usage by walkers, joggers, skaters, kids on bikes, or the watchful eyes of moms pushing baby strollers.

These park improvements are being installed and paid for by the Midway Companies, Inc., as part of that Houston-based company’s re-development of the old Bissonnet Garden Apartments site. You may recall Bissonnet Gardens, which was located across from Sharpstown High School at the corner of Bissonnet and Bonhomme Road, as being a notorious drug infested and crime ridden eyesore. Midway acquired the site in 2011 and immediately began plans to revitalize the property under the re-branded name of “Braeburn Village”. The new construction at Braeburn Village not only will remove the significant urban blight and decay too long found on that site, but also will add over $18 million dollars in new living space and related amenities to that corner of District J.

Midway’s construction work in Bonham Park is being undertaken as part of its required compliance with the flood plain mitigation rules and regulations administered by the City for new developments. The City of Houston Parks Department negotiated an agreement for these extensive improvements to the park and is overseeing their installation. Midway is funding the construction of the improvements at a cost in excess of $150,000.

In keeping with the City’s requirements, the construction of the new Braeburn Village and the improvements to Bonham Park received the support of the Greater Sharpstown Management District, the Sharpstown and Braeburn Super Neighborhood Councils, and the Sharpstown Civic Association.

Once the improvements are completed your District J office would love to work with the neighborhood community surrounding Bonham Park to create a “Friends of Bonham Park” association to advocate and raise funds for further improvements to the park. If you are interested in helping with that endeavor let us know.

I look forward to seeing you in our newly updated Bonham Park soon.

Mike Laster - signature

– Mike Laster, Council Member – District J

PIP Meetings Are Back!

HPD seal The Houston Police Department’s Positive Interaction Program, or PIP, holds regular PIP meetings featuring speakers from different divisions of HPD (Burglary and Theft, Homicide, K-9, Helicopters, etc.) explaining how their division operates. This is done so citizens will know what to expect, should they ever need the police.

After taking a brief summer break, the PIP meetings in District J are back:

  • Braeburn PIP – 3rd Tuesday of the month
  • Gulfton PIP – 4th Tuesday of every other month
  • Midwest PIP – 3rd Wednesday of the month
  • Westside PIP – 3rd Thursday of the month

For exact times, locations, and topics, please see our Community Events Calendar on our District J website.

Houston’s Citizen’s Police Academy

The Houston Police Department’s Citizen’s Police Academy (CPA) is preparing to start classes again and is accepting applications.

CPA provides citizens with sound and accurate information about HPD and the criminal justice process so citizens are able to make informed decisions regarding issues and matters involving the police department and/or police activity. Participants will be able to share their experiences and learned information with family, friends, co-workers, and their community to further improve and strengthen community-police relations.

This free class starts October 11 and typically meets twice a week through December 13.

For more information and to apply, please visit the CPA web page. We strongly encourage District J resident to participate!

*This is not an application to become a Police Officer

District J Spotlight: Sharpstown Community Center has a new PA System!

Many District J residents are very familiar with the Sharpstown Community Center and Park.

It serves as a head-quarters for many District J activities thanks to its pool, wide variety of programs for all ages, tennis and golf courses, and meeting facility. At the request of Council Member Laster, the Parks Departments has purchased a much needed upgrade for the public address system in the community center. Funds for the public address system were provided from the return of $29,000.00 of unused surplus funds from the District J 2012 Fiscal Year Office Operations Budget. The one-time surplus was split evenly between the Parks and Recreation Department and the Library Depart. Council Member Laster has requested that those monies be spent in addressing the needs of District J’s parks and libraries. Thanks to the Parks Department for providing this much needed upgrade to the public address system.

National Night Out – A Great Success!

National Night Out 2012The District J office offers hearty praise and thanks to the many communities, neighborhoods and organizations that hosted National Night Out gatherings this past Tuesday.

National Night Out began in 1984 to generate support for and participation in local anti-crime programs, heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, strengthen neighborhood spirit and police-community partnerships, and send a message to criminals letting them know that neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.

We hope District J continues to show support for National Night Out in the years to come.

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month and the Harris County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council announced they have recently completed a yearlong Community Safety Assessment of Law Enforcement’s Response to domestic violence by asking the question “How is Law Enforcement in Harris County responding to domestic violence in ways that enhance or diminish victim’s safety and offender’s accountability?”

The process of implementing the recommendations has just begun. The support of the Harris County Sheriff’s Office, the Houston Police Department, and the Pasadena Police Department has been tremendous. Without their cooperation, this Safety Assessment, the largest one undertaken in the country, would not have been possible.

According to the Texas Council on Family Violence 35 women were killed in Harris County in 2010 by their intimate partner, ranging in age from 18 to 66. That is 35 women too many. The Safety Assessment is one tool used for a Coordinated Community Response to domestic violence. All citizens of our community need to pledge to improve the response of different institutions and agencies to end violence against women. As so eloquently stated by Helen Keller, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.”

Houston has always had a rich heritage of neighbors helping neighbors. Let us continue that tradition by committing to improving victim safety and holding perpetrators of domestic violence accountable for their actions against individual victims and our community as a whole.

Don’t Leave the Leaves!

Fall is upon us, and for many Houston residents, that means fallen leaves. We encourage District J residents to consider adressing leaves as part of their Fall lawn and yard maintenance. Leaves can collect in the roads, blocking storm drain openings and slowing or clogging the drains’ ability to quickly remove rain and flood water.

Many people choose to use a lawnmower to mulch leaves into their lawns, which also provides free fertilizer and organic material to feed lawns. Others choose to rake leaves to bag up for trash pick up (remember to use biobags!) or move into a compost bin.

Upcoming Events

 

Calendar2Please refer to the Community Events Calendar on our website for time, location and other event details.

New events are added every week. Be sure to check in often!


October 5

  • 46th Annual Greek Festival (through 10/7)

October 7

  • 1000 Lights for Peace

October 8

  • Columbus Day
  • GSMD Business & Economic Development Committee Meeting
  • IMD Long Range Strategic Planning Committee Meeting

October 9

  • Last Day to Register to Vote!
  • AARP Chapter 50 Meeting
  • International Business and Land Use Committee Meeting
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club

October 10

  • Sharpstown Super Neighborhood Council Meeting

October 11

  • Asian Chamber of Commerce October Luncheon
  • Festa Italiana (through 10/14)
  • Mobile Eye Clinic at India House Houston

October 13

  • 22nd Annual Turkish Fest (though 10/14)
  • Alief Orchard Planting

October 15

  • Braes Bayou Association Meeting

October 16

  • Braeburn PIP Meeting
  • Memorial Hermann SW: Girls Night Out
  • Sharpstown Rotary Club

October 17

  • Midwest PIP Meeting

October 18

  • Westside PIP Meeting

October 20

  • 2012 Houston Fire Fest
  • Houston Area Woodcarvers
  • Houston Habitat for Humanity: Bike to Build 2012