Pardon the Dust at Lansdale Park
Residents of the neighborhood surrounding Lansdale Park have been experiencing construction dust these last few days. In many ways the park is in the midst of yet another transition in its many glorious years as a community jewel.
To be more precise, the dust is from demolition of the swimming pool. Joe Turner, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, gave me the news early last year that the pool had begun to leak large amounts of water after decades of vigorous use. The cost of renovations or the construction of a new pool was estimated to exceed one million dollars. Despite the challenges of operating a leaking pool, the Parks Department graciously agreed to my request that the community be allowed to enjoy the 2012 summer swimming season before beginning the demolition process in early 2013. So here we are one year later witnessing the beginning of a new era for the park.
In anticipation of these changes, the past year has provided the opportunity to visit with neighborhood residents about replacement options for the pool. The current hope is to replace the pool as soon as possible with an above ground water spray park. Children of all ages (and adults with youthful dispositions) would be able to run through the water jets to their hearts’ content. A surface water park would also provide a safe play option that would not require lifeguards. We are seeking sources of funding for the spray park. Current estimates are in the neighborhood of $400,000.
Additionally, the coming days will see some changes to the large covered pavilion located just south of the community center. Efforts are underway to re-position the pavilion to serve as a venue for a variety of family friendly uses such as picnics, family gatherings, birthday parties, after church activities and other social events. To be sure, the pavilion needs a good paint job. Current estimates to paint the pavilion are in the $50,000 range. Again, we are looking for those funds too.
As always, the dedicated on-site Parks Department staff of the community center continues to oversee a number of quality programs. The community center will continue to serve as a family resource for after-school and summer youth programs.
Allow me to thank Harris County Commissioner Steve Radack for his ongoing assistance in helping to maintain and operate the park. The community has been well served for the past several years by the joint use and operation agreement between the City and Harris County Precinct 3.
Finally, I would like to thank Joe Turner and all his dedicated Parks Department staff in providing our District J neighborhoods with community parks that we can all enjoy.
I look forward to seeing you and your family soon at Lansdale Park.
– Mike Laster, Council Member – District J
Sobering Center Update
On May 15, 2012, City Council passed Resolution 2012-14, creating the Houston Recovery Center Local Government Commission (LGC) to manage and operate the Houston Recovery Center (aka, Sobering Center). In addition, Council approved a lease agreement for 150 N. Chenevert with Star of Hope as the landlord. Since then, the build out construction process has proceeded both on schedule and within budget; the LGC has hired an Operations Director, Leonard Kincaid, who has begun the process of hiring staff to begin operation of the center.
Manhattan Construction, the contractor, has received the Certificate of Occupancy for the facility. Furniture is in place and the telephone and computer networks are being installed. The City’s General Services Department, Houston Police Department and the landlord’s consultants have provided detailed punch lists and the contractor is quickly completing those items and various minor changes to optimize the facility. The sobering center will also provide offices and training facilities on the 2nd floor for the operations command of the HPD Mental Health Unit, including the Homeless Outreach Team.
The LGC, with input from Mr. Kincaid, is currently developing a comprehensive Operations and Procedures manual. Additionally, HPD is creating General Orders for HPD officers to follow when intoxicated detainees are brought to the center.
The current plans are for the facility to be placed in operation on February 18, 2013.
More info is available at the Center’s web site at
Municipal Courts Announces Amnesty Program
The City of Houston Municipal Courts 2013 Amnesty Program will be available on certain delinquent citations until 11:59 p.m., Saturday, February 9, 2013. Court officials are encouraging anyone with delinquent court matters to take advantage of this opportunity to resolve cases at a discounted rate.
“Now is the time for anyone with a delinquent case to come forward and resolve your court matters because you have the opportunity to save a lot of money, hundreds of dollars in some cases,” stated Director and Presiding Judge, Barbara E. Hartle. “We are available for anyone who has questions; just call us at 3-1-1 if we can be of assistance. There is also information regarding our programs on our website.”
Most traffic and non-traffic citations that were delinquent on or before October 21, 2012 will be eligible for Amnesty discounts. Previously adjudicated cases, capias pro fine cases, parking and Red Light Camera citations are not eligible for Amnesty.
Court officials urge people to take advantage of this program so they won’t be subject to arrest during any upcoming warrant sweeps when cheaper amnesty rates will no longer be available.
For more information about City of Houston warrants or citations, visit the website at www.houstontx.gov/courts
or contact City’s Helpline at 3-1-1 or 713-837-0311 if outside the City of Houston.
ReelAbilities Film Festival 2013
The Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD) is pleased to jointly sponsor the Houston ReelAbilities Film Festival 2013. From February 1 though 13, the festival will feature award-winning films from around the world which promote appreciation and awareness of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with disabilities . ReelAbilities is the largest film festival in the nation, promoting appreciation and awareness of the lives, stories and artistic expressions of people with various disabilities.
Houston Fire Department is Recruiting
The Houston Fire Department is accepting applications for future fire fighters through February 12, 2013. HFD is also hosting an Open House on Saturday, February 2, at the Val Jahnke Training Academy, located at 8030 Braniff, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm.
Register online to apply at www.HFDcareers.org. For additional information, please call 832-394-6600.
Camp Houston Fire is Accepting Applications
The HFD Sirens (Houston Fire Department’s women firefighters) invite area female students to experience what it takes to be a firefighter by attending Camp Houston Fire from March 22 through 24, 2013.
Application Packets are due Friday, February 8, by 4:00 pm and may be mailed to:
EO Laura Hunter
Houston Fire Department
Camp Houston Fire
600 Jefferson, Suite 623
Houston, TX 77002
Gulfton Super Neighborhood Meeting
The District J office would like to remind you that the next Gulfton Super Neighborhood meeting is scheduled for Monday, January 28, at 6:30 pm at the Burnett Bayland Community Center, located at 6000 Chimney Rock.
We encourage all Gulfton area residents, business owners, service providers, and community partners to join us.
Please 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!
- ECHOS Food Fair
- PACA Town Hall Meeting
- Gulfton Super Neighborhood Meeting
- IMD Long Range Strategic Planning Committee Meeting
- Shenandoah Civic Association Meeting
- ECHOS Shredding Event
- Groundhog Day
- HFD Open House
- Braeburn Super Neighborhood Meeting
- Houston ReelAbilities Film Festival 2013 (continues through Feb 13)
- AARP Chapter 3264 Meeting
- AARP Chapter 4418 Meeting
- Yes Prep – Free Tax Preparation