Whenever the calendar turns from one year to another, there is celebration, reflection, planning, and anticipation. The Brays Oaks Management District board of directors has had a unique opportunity to plan for the improvement and the future of our community. We’ve had a chance to reflect on and celebrate the accomplishments of the previous year, and we’re ready to dig into 2017, anticipating many more successful initiatives to come.
One of the issues that has riveted our focus has been resolving the drainage and flooding issues that affect the neighborhoods along Brays Bayou. As we have studied the watershed problem––both within our own District and in neighboring areas – we’ve also shared what we’ve learned with the community to arrive at holistic solutions. In 2016, the District created an infrastructure committee to examine the root causes of the flooding problems and hired the civil engineering firm, Cobb Fendley, to propose projects to help alleviate it.
Less flooding more greenspace! The Brays Oaks Management District is supportive of flood mitigation projects on the Brays Bayou Watershed protecting homes and business from flooding. The leadership provided by the management district will continue to advocate for dual use facilities that combined resources from the city, county, state and federal government to prevent flooding.
The Willow Waterhole Stormwater Detention Basin is designed to hold water during heavy rainfall to reduce peak flows in the channel that can cause flooding. Upon completion, the basin will hold approximately 600 million gallons of stormwater. In addition, the basin project will offer 279 acres of usable greenspace for the nearby community. The most recent news is that, in mid-December, the City of Houston approved plans for the construction of the Levitt Pavilion at Willow Waterhole––an ideal venue for music concerts and other performances, scheduled for completion in 2019. The District took a leadership role with the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy (WWGC) on this project which was more than five years in the making and we are extremely proud of our role in helping lead this effort.
While too much water can obviously be a problem for homeowners along the bayou, water is also a desirable and attractive environmental feature. We’re very fortunate to have a place as unique as the Willow Waterhole Greenspace right here in our own back yard. As a destination for nature lovers, birders, hikers, joggers, sports and music enthusiasts, this jewel we enjoy is still virtually unknown to most of the rest of the city––but that’s gradually changing.
The District has been actively involved in helping the Willow Waterhole Conservancy achieve the completion of a $399,999 grant that will fund significant projects. We’ve also helped support tree planting and the development of trails that everyone can enjoy.
Your management district is not only committed to these projects, but also to public safety, education, beautification projects, and economic development, as these are key factors in the continued development of a great community.
We have seen the successful use of security cameras to abate crime in specific trouble spots, and have supported National Night Out events to familiarize neighbors with each other and with local law enforcement.
To help our neighborhood schools, Brays Oaks has supported scholarships, after-school programs, transportation programs, and educational field trips. And in May we celebrated the dedication of the new Houston Community College Brays Oaks workforce center on West Bellfort – a $12 million project offering 28,000 square feet for classrooms, labs, offices, and conference space.
The District has also had a voice at the table during the planning of the Fondren Reconstruction Project, representing the interests of residents and businesses affected by this construction. Meanwhile, our beautification efforts have included lighting projects, esplanade improvements, and identifying markers.
Finally, we’re talking to local businesses and developers about ways to improve our commercial centers, as well as becoming more proactive about recruiting new businesses. We are confident this will help raise the profile of our shopping centers, draw in customers and patrons from outside the area, and help create new job opportunities right here in Brays Oaks.
We hope you are as excited about all these endeavors as we are, and will continue to celebrate the evolution of this unique community in the coming year.
Ralph Rieger, CPA, CGMA
Chairman, Brays Oaks Management District Board of Directors