New Spring Branch District Making Progress

Commentary By Representative Dwayne Bohac

HOUSTON - The newly created Spring Branch Area Community Improvement District is making progress toward holding its first board meeting to discuss proposals for its service and improvement plan. In the coming weeks, certified letters will be mailed to commercial property owners announcing the time and location of the initial board meeting, which is expected to take place this fall.

The Spring Branch District is a municipal management district (MMD) that will promote economic development through programs that enhance public safety, mobility, area marketing, image, and beautification. This revitalization effort is aimed at job creation, economic prosperity, redeveloping Long Point Road and recognizing the unique identity of one of Houston’s oldest close-knit communities. The Spring Branch District will work collaboratively with other governmental entities, revitalization groups and neighborhood associations to provide the most organized, coordinated effort to improve our community.

Spring Branch will soon see the kind of economic development found in other parts of Houston that have similar management districts, such as the Uptown/Galleria area, Greenspoint and Westchase. Since the first MMD was created by the Legislature in 1987, more than 20 such districts exist now in Harris County, and these have proven to be an invaluable resource for revitalization and economic prosperity.

During the initial board meeting, the directors will meet with the community to determine how to spend the district's resources. This could mean creating new parks, esplanade beautification and landscaping, new unique street signs for the area, promotion of the arts such as a Spring Branch Museum, transportation improvements, and any number of economic development proposals. Through everything the district sets out to achieve, the goal will be to promote a sense of place - a concept of identity that calls attention to the area’s unique attributes and their special value to the west Houston community.

The service and improvement plan will set forth a vision, mission, goals to be achieved, services to be rendered, and improvements to be made in support and to the benefit of the property owners of the district. In addition, this plan will outline costs and a proposal for funding the plan for the area. All projects will be determined by the board of directors and strive to provide positive returns to the community’s investments, generating higher levels of economic prosperity and a better neighborhood quality of life.

Serving on the initial board of directors with specific terms of office are Ronald Height, Glenn Smith, Catherine Barchfeld-Alexander, Kun C. Youn, Jim Jard, Al Hartman, Johnny H. Baker, Patricia A. Maddox, Pat Currie, Frank Liu, Lance H. Davis, Larry Levine, and Everett P. Jackson. The board represents some of the most active community and business leaders in Spring Branch and will do a fantastic job representing the diverse needs of the district. They will be working together with Spring Branch civic associations, neighborhood leaders and the business community to tailor the district to the specific needs of the area. Although the district was created by the Legislature, the board will have full control once they hold their first board meeting. Future appointments to the board of directors will be subject to confirmation by the Houston City Council.

I am very proud of the history of Spring Branch and believe this district will serve as an invaluable tool for strengthening our neighborhoods and revitalizing the area. The local community will get to decide how to use the district to meet their needs and reach their vision for Spring Branch. Spring Branch deserves to be recognized as a vital part of the city and this will help make the community stronger and safer. These day-to-day improvements, combined with a long-range strategic vision, will insure that Spring Branch is and will remain one of the best places to live and work in the city of Houston.

-Representative Dwayne Bohac (R-District 138)

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