The Houston Heights Association, Inc. (HHA) was founded in 1973 when a group of concerned business owners and homeowners came together to discuss the problems of deterioration and the gradual loss of the neighborhood stock of turn-of-the-century residences. Today, HHA has more than 1,000 members and is steadily growing. Below is a list of accomplishments:
- Hired a preservation consultant to conduct a survey of its structures. It was determined that the area could be eligible for National Register status. HHA volunteers raised $30,000 over five years to document the Heights application.
- Took over responsibility for the Houston Heights Woman's Club - the oldest remaining women's clubhouse in Houston. HHA volunteers worked to renovate the building over a period of ten years. Today, it is the meeting place for the original Houston Heights Woman's Club, founded in 1900.
- Preservation efforts extended to persuading the City of Houston not to demolish the Houston Heights library, a historic building, but to preserve it. Working together, the building was preserved and two contemporary wings added. HHA raised money to benefit the library, not only for its preservation, but to enhance its stock and services. HHA also worked with the City to save existing trees around the library building.
Houston Heights was designated a Historic Multiple Resource Area by the National Parks Service and listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
Through its Historical Committee, HHA continues to identify important structures and to nominate them for National Register status.
Today, more than 100 structures are listed on the National Register.
- To commemorate Houston Heights' centennial birthday, raised $24,000 to restore the White Oak Bayou bridges on Heights Boulevard and Yale Street, complete with replicas of the original lamp posts. As a result of this project, HHA received a "Good Brick Award" from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and a City of Houston Proud Partners award.
- Received a registered Texas Historic Landmark designation for Houston Heights, dedicated on its official 100th birthday of May 5, 1991.
- Hired a preservation group to update the historical survey of Houston Heights completed in 1978.
- Partially funded a new Montessori program at Love Elementary School.
- Obtained a 30-year lease from the City of Houston for Fire Station No. 14, Houston Heights' original city hall, jail, and fire station.
- Completed a $100,000 renovation of Fire Station No. 14. This 7,000 square foot building, built in 1914, has changed little since its construction. Renovation included installation of a catering kitchen, chair lift and restoration of the original tin ceilings and pine floors.
- Played an instrumental role in working with the City of Houston and the Texas Department of Transportation to oversee the complete reconstruction of the Heights Boulevard Bridges over White Oak Bayou. The overall structure and balustrades were preserved, reflecting the original 1922 appearance.
- Successfully petitioned the City of Houston to pass an ordinance declaring Heights Boulevard as a Scenic Right of Way. The ordinance regulates signage and protects aesthetics for this scenic and historic thoroughfare.
- Constructed and continues to maintain two parks on Heights Boulevard - Donovan and Marmion Park. Marmion Park is shaded by mature trees and contains a pavilion. The park won three awards in 1985 from the Texas Society of Architects, The Houston Chapter of the AIA, and City of Houston Environmental Improvement Award. Donovan Park was developed from land which had been purchased in 1979 by a local entrepreneur who planned to use it for a trailer-tractor repair facility. Not only was the site in the heart of the residential area, but the use would have created a dangerous situation for neighborhood children. After six months of negotiations, HHA, through a grant from Houston Endowment, purchased the site. The same grant was also used to purchase the site for Marmion Park at 18th and Heights Boulevard. HHA rallied the neighborhood and organized a major fundraising campaign to complete the two parks. From 1979 to 1986, through various grants from local foundations, corporations, and the business and residential community, HHA raised $815,000 to purchase and complete the two parks.
- Completed a perpetual maintenance fund of roughly $125,000 to maintain Marmion and Donovan Parks forever.
- Raised $15,000 and planted more than 300 curb live oak trees on Heights Boulevard to kickoff the restoration/beautification of Houston Heights' grand boulevard, Heights Boulevard.
- As part of Heights Boulevard beautification efforts, raised $30,000 to construct a Victorian Rose Garden, complete with over 100 turn-of-the century roses (Heights Boulevard at 20th Street.)
- Raised $45,000 from community businesses and residents to install 155 decorative streets lights on 55 Heights blocks as part of the mayor's community development program. Partially funded a new Montessori program at Love Elementary School.
- Constructed a permanent entrance sign at Heights Boulevard and I-10.
- Award small cash prizes to recognize sixteen outstanding area teachers. Implemented "Phase II" of the Decorative Street Lighting Project replacing standard lights with decorative lights on 35 more residential blocks, and began fund raising for Heights Boulevard.
- Sponsored the "Heights Playground", built in Donovan Park and completely designed, funded and constructed by the people of the community.
- Completed and installed decorative street lighting on Heights Boulevard. In total, the Houston Heights neighborhood spent more than $150,000 on decorative lighting for 88 residential blocks and Heights Boulevard. HHA contributed $60,000 to the project. 1998-2001 A major project of HHA includes improvement of Heights Boulevard, complete with reforestation, the "Gateway Project" formal entrance project and much more. See Boulevard Committee for more information.
- Brought the Private Sector Initiative Program (PSI) to the Houston Heights. The PSI program is a public and privately funded organization that provides for the repair and painting of owner-occupied homes of low to moderate income families. Over 100 homes were repaired and painted through this program.
- Completed construction of a jogging/walking trail which winds down the 1.5 mile esplanade of Heights Boulevard. This jogging trail was completely constructed by community volunteers.
- Donated $5,000 to the Montessori Dual Language program for the 1994-1995 school year at Love Elementary School.
- HHA receives $5,000 grant from Cultural Arts Council of Houston for an art exhibition and artist studio tour. The exhibition consisted of a gallery exhibit of 43 Heights artists and artists' studio tour.
- Gave five $1,000 grants to area elementary schools in support of math, science, or art projects.
- Donated funds to help restore the Heights Community Store Front on 19th Street.
Award small cash prizes to recognize sixteen outstanding area teachers.
Implemented `"Phase II" of the Decorative Street Lighting Project replacing standards lights with decorative lights on 35 more residential blocks, and began fund raising for Heights Boulevard.
Sponsored the "Heights Playground" built in Donovan Park and completely designed, funded and constructed by the people of the community.
- For Marmion Park, three awards included the Texas Society of Architects, The Houston Chapter of the AIA, and City of Houston Environmental Improvement Award.
- For completion of Marmion and Donovan Parks, HHA was the City of Houston's choice for the National Neighborhood of the Year 1990 award.
- For restoration of White Oak Bayou Bridges, HHA received a "Good Brick Award" from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance and a City of Houston Proud Partners award.
- For the Heights Playground, "Best Project" by the Park People.
- For construction of the Heights Playground and renovation of Fire Station No. 14, a "Good Brick Award" for Neighborhood Revitalization from the Greater Houston Preservation Alliance.
- For an instrumental role in the preservation of the White Oak Bayou bridges in the reconstruction, received an honorable mention "ACE" award by the Houston Chapter of the Appraisal Institute.