Fiesta Mart expands Houston-area store, continues reopenings in DFW

October 19, 2016 • Continue Reading »

By Jack Witthaus, Houston Business Journal

Houston-based Fiesta Mart LLC is continuing to spruce up its stores with an expansion in southwest Houston and more refreshed stores opening in Dallas-Fort Worth.

The grocer plans to expand its 32,948-square-foot Fondren Southwest Village location by about 12,363 square feet, taking over an adjacent space that Anna’s Linens vacated in July 2015, according to a release from Houston-based NewQuest Properties. Remodeling will begin after the holidays, and renovations are also planned for the 304,000-square-foot shopping center at West Bellfort and Fondren roads.

Read more at the Houston Business Journal

Application deadline for the 10,000 Small Businesses Spring 2017 session is November 1st!

October 18, 2016 • Continue Reading »

  • Learn from the experts. Take a practical hands-on business course and acquire useful business skills such as contract negotiation, finance, and people management.
  • Invest in yourself. Take advantage of this professional growth opportunity to develop your leadership skills.
  • Get customized business assistance. Receive one-on-one business advising and create your own customized business growth plan.
  • Make connections. Learn from the experiences of other small business owners in a collaborative setting.
  • Be poised for business growth. Business owners selected for the program will receive a scholarship, which covers all tuition and program materials.

Please visit our website at or call (713) 718-8348 for more information.

ACT NOW – Application deadline for the Spring 2017 is Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016

Regular Committee Meetings for October 2016

October 11, 2016 • Continue Reading »

All committee meetings will be held at the District office located at 10103 Fondren, Suite 300.

Public Safety Committee
Tuesday October 11th @ 11:30 AM

Environmental and Urban Design
Tuesday October 11th @ 1:00 PM

Infrastructure Committee
Thursday October 13th @ 2:30 PM

We hope you will be able to attend.

Senior Crime Prevention Resource Fair, Oct. 10

October 6, 2016 • Continue Reading »


Citizens Advisory Council Meeting and PIP Meeting, Sept. 20

September 15, 2016 • Continue Reading »


BOMD Head Advisory

August 4, 2016 • Continue Reading »


BOMD’s Chariman C. Fred Meyer Resigns From Board

July 21, 2016 • Continue Reading »

During the Brays Oaks District monthly board meeting in July, current Chairman C. Fred Meyer tendered his resignation.

Download the Resignation Letter (PDF)

Photo 1
(L to R) Brays Oaks Board – Vice Chair, Steve Moore, On-going Chairman C. Fred Meyer, newly elected Chairman, Ralph Rieger, Assistant Secretary, Cindy Chapman and Secretary, Elaine Gaskamp.

Photo 2
(L to R) Brays Oaks out-going Chairman C. Fred Meyer, Executive Director, Richard Rodriguez and in-coming Chairman, Ralph Rieger present a crustal award to Chairman Meyer from the Board of Directors thanking the chairman for his service and leadership to them and the community.

Photo 3
Brays Oaks in-coming Chairman, Ralph Rieger thanks out-going Chairman C. Fred Meyer for his service.

New Executive Director has Ambitious Vision for Future in Brays Oaks Management District

July 12, 2016 • Continue Reading »

Richard Rodriguez - Director of ServicesThe Brays Oaks Management District (BOMD) is very familiar with new Executive Director Richard Rodriquez. Rodriquez served as the District’s Director of Services for more than five years and said he felt the step up into the role of Executive Director was a natural transition.

Since he donned the new title on Jan. 1, 2016, a lot of what he had already been doing for the District has not changed, but only amped up, Rodriguez said.

“It involves a lot more working with the City of Houston administration and other government agencies and organizations to ensure we’re advocating for our district,” he added.

“I think we’ve hit a moment where the engine is well greased and moving forward in an expeditious manner,” Rodriguez said. “The next logical step is to bring focus on improving the visibility of this district.”

That goal will be accomplished with additional signage, wayfinding, branding the area with cultural arts activities, and implementing some projects that the District has been planning for a number of years, he added.
“This is a year of doing, rather than planning,” Rodriguez said.

One of the biggest factors in implementing the District’s plans is funding, he acknowledged.

“We are moving forward cautiously to ensure that we’re leveraging our dollars effectively and to get the most bang for our buck,” he said. Partnerships play an important part in that strategy.

In the first quarter of 2016, the District has already solidified its partnership with the Houston Parks Board and city parks department to implement some trail installations, he said. Other projects underway include the development of a master plan for the Westbury Community Garden (WCG), pedestrian access to the Willow Waterhole Park, and funding for some enhanced lighting for the Fondren Reconstruction Project, Rodriguez said.

When access drives to the garden had been deteriorated by recent storms and flooding, the District was quick to answer WCG’s call for aid by funding new crushed concrete driveways. Rodriguez said the District has also called upon the engineering firm, Asakura Robinson, to help create a new master plan for the garden. The master plan is funded in part by WCG, BOMD, and District K Councilman Larry Green’s district service fund.

In addition to branding and infrastructure concerns, the District is involved in several initiatives that support education and students within the community, such as after school programs and transportation services, field trips, and two $1,500 scholarships for graduating seniors at Westbury High School.

BOMD-Rita Woodward - Flag Dedication“One of the things that’s unique about the Brays Oak Management District is that part of our service and assessment plan includes education as a category,” Rodriguez said. “To my knowledge, we’re the only district in the city that focuses on that category.”

BOMD is now providing after-school bus service for every public school within its boundaries.

In April, the District secured tickets and provided transportation to the Museum of Natural Science for 60 economically challenged students who had never had a museum experience before. Another trip in February involved exposing 80 students to the magic of the Texas Renaissance Festival.

Other activities and events that the District helps sponsor include the 4th annual Music in the Park celebration at Willow Waterhole in April. This event featured 16 professional bands, eight school bands, plus craft vendors and food trucks.

“All of these activities in the park are to prime the community for the eventual realization of the Levitt Pavilion,” Rodriguez said. The Friends of Levitt Pavilion Houston are finalizing their interlocal agreements between the county, the city, the Parks Department, and the Levitt Foundation in Los Angeles, he added. Once these agreements are finalized and approved by City Council, the capital fundraising campaign to build the Pavilion will commence.

When completed, the Levitt Pavilion is expected to offer 50 free music concerts a year as well as providing a state-of-the-art complex for the use of schools and community groups, Rodriguez added.

Additionally, in conjunction with the proposed Fondren Reconstruction Project, the Management District is committed to serving as an advocate to ensure that local residents and business owners have their voices heard with regard to concerns and suggestions regarding lighting, medians, and driveways, he said.

“There’s a lot of new construction in the District, a lot of new development. New investments are coming in,” Rodriguez said. “Things are trending well.”

Public Safety Committee initiatives help fight crime in Brays Oaks

July 12, 2016 • Continue Reading »

BOMD-district-shots-1512Since the inception of the Brays Oaks Management District 11 years ago, the number of crimes committed has diminished by 22 percent, said Starla Turnbo of the District’s Public Safety Committee.

“Our vision is to grow the committee, reduce crime, and promote public safety,” she added.

Initiatives launched by the committee can be credited with helping achieve results, and the results are measurable, as the committee receives regular reports from local law enforcement to compare statistics from month to month and year to year. Capt. Bob Robertson of the Houston Police Department’s South Gessner Division is now one of the committee members, Turnbo said, and he provides the monthly statistics at committee meetings.

One program that has been implemented successfully is the Rental Credit Reporting (RCR) program, now in use at 97 percent of the apartment properties in the District. Turnbo said screening of potential renters covers not only their credit and rental history, but also checks for criminal history, including sex offenses.

The RCR reporting has had the added benefit of ensuring more stability and less mobility among renters so the turnover rate has lowered, she said. Brays Oaks Management District Executive Director Richard Rodriguez said the Houston Independent School District has noted this obvious and positive change regarding its students who live in the area.

Another program that has achieved some results is the District’s participation with the Harris County Attorney’s office to help close down after-hours clubs and game rooms operating illegally. The program has worked well in tandem with the District’s employment of mobile surveillance cameras.

“It moves people from that location and has helped with hot spot abatement,” Turnbo said. “People don’t want to be on camera.”

For example, the cameras have helped focus on a car wash located across from a school that has been a problem and a site of suspected drug activity for the last 20 years, she added.

bomd_MG_9194The District also offers a number of free programs for businesses and residents that help with overall public safety goals, she said. The graffiti abatement program assures that tagging and marking on public or private property will be removed within 24 hours of being reported to the District via a form on its web site. Community members may also report illegal dumping, blighted areas that need attention or trash pickup, or lights that have gone out and need to be replaced, she added.

Another program that has proved helpful is a free after-school bus service that the District started and supports, which currently serves Welch and Fondren Middle Schools and Westbury High School. Although the bus service was designed to transport apartment-dwelling students, others who live within walking distance of the apartments may also ride, Turnbo added.

“We’ve been working with the principals of these schools and they love it,” she said.

Turnbo said the committee is actively seeking input from the community on its initiatives.

“We are looking for more partners for the Public Safety Committee, and we’d love to have other community members participate,” she said.

Delays won’t deter Levitt Pavilion construction

July 12, 2016 • Continue Reading »

Levitt_Pavilions_at_Willow_WaterholeWhile residents of the Westbury neighborhood already enjoy the sounds of nature and birdsong in the Willow Waterhole Park, many are looking forward to the time when music will fill the nights, as well.

Plans for a Levitt Pavilion to host 50 free music concerts a year have been underway since the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy first contacted the Mortimer and Mimi Levitt Foundation in 2012. In 2013, it was announced that Houston would be the site of the eighth in a series of Levitt Pavilions that have sprung from underutilized spaces across the country.

While negotiations and paperwork have delayed fundraising and construction, Howard Sacks, President of the Friends of Levitt Pavilion Houston, remains optimistic that the ball is rolling now.

“We aren’t really able to do full fundraising until we have signed multi-party agreements,” he added. “These are in the process of going back and forth and being revised. We think that we have more of that behind us rather than in front of us and that’s encouraging.”

The construction fundraising goal is $7.5 million, Sacks said, but that phase cannot begin until the agreement is completed.

“When we have a document that the parties agree to, then it has to be approved by City Council, and I’m optimistic that can happen by fall,” he said.

“What’s also cool is that all parties seem to be intent upon the same goal, which is making Levitt Pavilion happen at the Willow Waterhole,” Sacks said.

“It’s taken literally four years––four years since July––that we learned of the opportunity,” Sacks said. “The delays really stopped mattering. It’s almost as if the people who stay the course are the ones with the potential to be rewarded. And there aren’t any shortcuts.”

While fundraising is in a holding pattern, there are already some encouraging signs to help the community envision the music venue to come, he pointed out.

“What’s extraordinary is that the Harris County Flood Control District––in their earth-moving capacity––has prepared, visually, a site for the Levitt Pavilion,” Sacks said.

wwgc-levitt-pavilion-layout“If you take a look west of South Post Oak between Willow and Gasmer, you will see quite a sight that’s already pretty indicative of what the Pavilion is going to look like––the tiered seating and the saddle that’s the midpoint of the seating,” he said. “It’s fairly easy to imagine, along the flat bank, the seating facing west, the Pavilion facing east, and the water behind it.”

Each Levitt Pavilion features open-lawn seating with no benches, high-caliber entertainment from all music genres, and state-of-the-art sound and lighting equipment. The Houston venue is expected to accommodate 5,000 concert attendees.

The first Pavilion was launched by philanthropists Mortimer and Mimi Levitt in Westport, Conn. in 1973, followed by additional pavilions in locations such as the formerly crime-ridden MacArthur Park in Los Angeles, Calif; the brownfields of an old steel mill in Bethlehem, Pa.; and the Memphis, Tenn. park where Elvis Presley once performed; as well as in Pasadena, Calif. and Arlington, Texas. A seventh pavilion in Denver, Colo.’s Ruby Hill Park is expected to be completed by 2017.

Since opening in 2006, the Willow Waterhole Park has hosted a jazz festival and outdoor moving screenings for the Westbury community. The 280-acre park, which also serves as part of a $75 million flood control project with stormwater detention basins, is now a popular destination for picnics, birdwatching, and hiking trails.