In This Issue
|Newsletter of the Houston Heights Association|
|Volume Thirty-Four, Number Eight, August 2008|
|Click here for the print-format PDF version.|
|Click here for back issues.|
|Click here to return to main HHA site.|
HHA Board Opposes Hi-Rise on White Oak
The following position statement was adopted by unanimous vote of the HHA Board of Directors at its July 21, 2008 meeting:
In furtherance of its mission to preserve and enhance the historic character of Houston Heights, the Houston Heights Association cannot support the construction of a high-rise commercial building (9-13 stories with three lower floors of parking garage) currently proposed for the corner of White Oak (6th street) and Oxford.
The scale and form of the proposed building is not in character with adjacent commercial and residential architecture or with the neighborhood as a whole, which is largely composed of one and two story buildings. Such an intensive use of the site would result in a building that would tower over and impose itself on the views of historic residences and their gardens. It would also create a significant increase in vehicular traffic at the intersection of 6th and Oxford.
The HHA understands that change is inevitable, and actively encourages the construction of new buildings (on non-historic sites) that are compatible with the form, scale and character of the Houston Heights. The construction of this office tower would create a precedent for the future development of large scale multi-story commercial and residential buildings that would be in direct conflict with the unique small- town character of one of Houston’s special neighborhoods.
New 20-Mile Route for Heights Bicycle Rally
This year’s Heights Bicycle Rally, scheduled for Sunday October 5th will travel a new 20-mile route. The new route will take riders on city bike trails through the Heights, Montrose, South Hampton, Morningside, Braeswood, Texas Medical Center, Herman Park, Midtown, Downtown and Norhill. Unlike last year when there were 16 and 24 mile routes, there will only be one route this year.
Mystery sites for the scavenger hunt will be located along the entire route. This year's rally maps will also include food and drink options along the route.
The September General Meeting of the Houston Heights Association will be dedicated to bicycling. There will be presentations on bicycle trails, types of bicycles, bicycle maintenance and the Heights Flyers Bicycle Club. For details on the Bicycle Rally go to the rally web page or contact Rally Chairman Paul Carr at 713-869-0505.
August General Meeting Highlights Bread, Bakery
Kraftsmen Baking has found a new home in the Heights’ Old Oriental Textile Mill building. Kraftsmen Baking is owned by Chef Scott Tycer, a native Houstonian, whose culinary accolades reach far and wide. He is co-owner of Gravitas restaurant at 807 Taft Street, also housed in an older building refurbished with contemporary aspects in addition to keeping with the buildings historic originality.
Tycer’s vision of transforming the mill space into a modern bakery and offices with historic flare has flourished into a 10,000+ square foot space that will be sure to attract visitors for years to come. The structure, owned by Grenader Properties, is the 9th oldest building in Houston and with new interest and incoming business is sure to withstand certain tests of time. Bakery production began in the new space the last week of May. Visitors are welcome to schedule a time to tour the bakery, to do so, please contact Nikki Eliason at 832-209-7174.
HHA Crime and Public Safety Committee
The next Houston Heights Association - Crime and Public Safety Committee meeting will be held at the Fire Station on Tuesday, August 26th from 6:30pm to 8:00pm. Come learn the latest information regarding Gangs. You will not want to miss this critical information.
Also, we will be discussing upcoming efforts for National Night Out. Because of Texas’ summer heat, the National Association of Town Watch (NATW) has approved the date of October 7, 2008, for National Night Out this year.
The Houston Heights Association - Crime and Public Safety Committee meetings are open to the public and take place the 4th Tuesday of the month. The meetings serve as an excellent forum to learn more about crime issues in our community. Please let Committee Chairman, Ed Gonzalez know of any specific topics you would like to discuss at future meetings. Contact Ed at or telephone him at 713-498-6969.
Holiday Home Tour 2008
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following 2008-2009 Platinum sponsors:
Director Election Schedule
Seven of the fifteen positions on the HHA Board of Directors will be filled by election over the next few months. Five positions are opening due to normal expiration of terms; members elected to these five positions will have three-year terms. Two positions are for the remaining last year of terms ended by resignations.
The five nominees receiving the highest numbers of votes will fill the three-year terms; the nominees receiving the sixth and seventh-highest vote counts will fill the one-year vacancies. See the right column for a list of current Directors.
The schedule for the election of Directors to serve terms starting in 2009 will be as follows, in accordance with the By-Laws and Policies of the Association:
• September 8, Nominations for Board of Directors will be held at the General Meeting. Nominators and nominees must be current members of the Association. Nominators may speak for two minutes, seconders for one. Please be sure before you nominate someone that your nominee is willing to commit to serve. Nominees will not be allowed to speak on their own behalf during the September meeting.
• By September 10, the Election Committee will distribute to nominees election packets containing bylaws, policies, articles of incorporation, committee responsibility list, detailed election schedule, and a statement confirming that the nominee has read the bylaws and policies and agrees to serve in accordance with them if elected.
• By September 13, signed statements from nominees are due, as well as a 50-word statement from each nominee for publication in the October newsletter.
• October 13, nominees or their representatives may speak on their qualifications at the General Meeting for 3 minutes. They will also draw for ballot positions.
• On or before October 20, the Election Committee will mail a ballot with a control number to each member whose dues are current as of October 1.
• By November 8 at the close of the post office, ballots returned by mail must be received with control numbers intact.
• November 10, polls will be open for secret balloting in person from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM before the General Meeting. The Election Committee will tabulate ballots and announce the results during the meeting. The results will also be published in the December newsletter.
Houston Heights Association 2008 Board of Directors
The following members are currently serving on the Board of Directors of the Houston Heights Association. The number in parentheses after the name is the last year of that person's current term as Director.
Paul Carr (2010)
Angela DeWree (2010)
Mike Easley (2010)
Chris Silkwood (2010), President-Elect
Lanna von Baden (2010)
Bill Baldwin (2009)
Janice Evans-Davis (2009)
Mark Williamson (2009)
Jim DePitts (2008)
Mary Ellis (2008)
Denise Martin (2008)
Genie Mims (2008)
Martin Piké (2008)
Jim Potter (2008)
Kelly Simmons (2008)
HHA Restoration - Historical Committee
Bicycle Rally Needs Prizes and Volunteers
The Heights Bicycle Rally Committee is near accomplishing its goal of having a prize for every child that completes the rally. But they are very short of prizes for adults. They are looking for merchandise or gift certificates for services and entertainment.
The bike rally also needs volunteers. There are two check point/water stations on the rally route. Volunteers are needed to work an hour & 45 minute shift. The check points are located at Braeswood Park (Kelving & Morningside) and Root Memorial Square on Austin St. near the Toyota Center. It is possible to work a shift and also ride the rally. Every volunteer receives a Heights Bicycle Rally T-shirt.
If you can volunteer or can contribute a prize, e-mail Rally Chair, Paul Carr at or call 713-869-0505.
Add Fun To Your Winter Holidays: VOLUNTEER TO BE A DOCENT FOR THE 2008 HISTORIC HOUSTON HEIGHTS HOLIDAY HOME TOUR “ENCHANTMENT.”
Six fabulous Houston Heights homes will be part of this year’s tour. Docents are needed to share homeowner-provided information on the homes’ history, architecture, and unique holiday decorations with the tour guests. People to take tickets and do other tasks are also needed.
Consider being part of the fun and volunteer for a shift during the tour which will be held Friday evening, December 5, 6:00-9:00 p.m., and Saturday, December 6, 3:00-9:00 p.m. The form is provided here.
For more information or to sign up, contact Eleanor Lane at 832-922-9668 or
The Houston Heights Association gratefully acknowledges the support of the following Summer 2008 Bronze Sponsors:
Notification of Capital Improvement Program Construction Project in the Heights Area
In order to keep pace with the growing needs of the community, the City of Houston through the Department of Public Works and Engineering will be improving the wastewater lines, water lines, storm sewers and new streets in the area described below. The contractor for this project is Pace Services, L.P.; work will start on August 18, 2008 and is scheduled to end on September 12, 2009. You may not see any activity by the contractor for several weeks after the construction time has begun. This is due to the contractor getting prepared to perform work which includes procurement of materials and equipment, setting up staging areas or working in other areas in the project
A detailed description and contact information are listed below. The project consists of the complete reconstruction of nine neighborhood streets. The proposed construction will consist of concrete roadways with curbs, sidewalks and underground utilities.
WBS No. N-000395-0001-4
Streets involved in construction:
Construction Firm: Pace Services, L.P.
City of Houston Project Manager: Dotun Ogundare, Dotun.email@example.com or 713-837-7027
City of Houston Managing Engineer: Aldo Ranzani, P.E., firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-837-7047
The contractor is required to provide residents written notification, via door hangers, 72 hours prior to construction beginning on your street. Periodic updates of the construction schedule will be sent out using CitizensNet.
If you have questions about the construction phase please contact the City of Houston Project Manager listed above. If the issue is not resolved to your satisfaction please contact the City of Houston Managing Engineer listed above or Tim Lincoln, Senior Assistant Director, Construction Branch at (713) 837-7074 or e-mail at email@example.com.
Register for CitizensNet or go to and scroll down to CitizensNet logo.
Contract Let On Heights Bike Trail
On July 7th TxDot (Texas Department of Transportation) issued a contract to South Coast Construction, Inc. to build the Heights Bicycle Trail on the old MKT rail right-of-way. Construction is scheduled to start in September. The contract calls for the project to be completed in 195 working days. Next Spring Heights bicycle riders will be able to ride from 19th street to downtown Houston on the trail.
Representatives of South Coast Construction will be on the program of the HHA general meeting on September 8th. The September meeting will focus on bicycling in the Heights and this year’s Heights Bicycle Rally. For information and registration for the rally, go to houstonheights.org.
City of Houston Reconsidering Value of Curbside Recycling
The city of Houston is studying the efficiency of its recycling program, due to the low number of participants in certain neighborhoods. They claim 43 neighborhoods, involving 23,000 homes, have less than a 10% rate of curbside recycling, with their truck driving through with only a few bins. The national average is 25%. With the price of fuel, equipment and staffing, such collection rates are not cost effective.
The city estimates the Heights area recycling rate at about 21% of homes. The more compliant neighborhoods performing at 70% plus rates.
Though there are those who refute the value of recycling, most do not. In an effort to save even a small portion of our land fills, re-commit yourself to separating recyclables. Talk with your neighbors and friends. This is a no-brainer.
In a related note, the curbside recycling program is now accepting plastic codes 1-5 and 7; previously only codes 1 and 2 were accepted. Code 6 plastic, such as styrofoam, will not be accepted.
Reagan Opens Track & Field Complex to Heights Community
Six years ago, the planning committee for Reagan High School’s multi-million dollar renovation envisioned a modern-day school and athletic facility that would become the center of the Heights community. With the formal dedication of the “New” Reagan High School in May school administrators are ready to open the first-class track and field as well as the tennis courts to the Heights Community.
During the summer months, the custodial staff worked Monday through Fridays and opened both 14th and 13th Street gates to the track and field from 7 a.m. until dusk, or approximately 8:30 p.m. On holidays, weekends and during staff vacation periods, volunteers from the community assisted the Reagan staff by unlocking the gates twice a day from 7-10 a.m. and again from 5:30-dusk.
Head Athletic Coach Harry Colon reported the lawn was ready to withstand daily use in early July. “We had an incident with the sprinkler’s electrical system last month but that was repaired. With the arrival of our new lawn equipment, the athletic staff worked hard this summer to ensure that the field will be ready in time for the beginning of football training in August.”
Coach Colon asks that the community observe a few rules while using the Reagan facilities. “Please keep all equipment with wheels off of the synthetic track surface including bicycles, skateboards, roller blades and jogging strollers. Also, no pets are allowed or any activities that will cause any damage. We are extremely proud of our new sports complex and look forward to another successful Bulldog football season.”
All final items on the construction “punch list” were scheduled for completion by August 1 in time for the new school year. While not an official School PARK (SPARK), the school staff anticipates that, with everyone’s cooperation, the Reagan athletic facilities will be one of the most popular Heights gathering spots for years to come.
For more information, please contact Coach Colon () or the Reagan HS Athletic Department office, 713-865-4400 during school hours. During non-school hours, residents may contact the HISD Police at 713-892-7777 to report any problems or concerns.
Calendar of Events for August-September 2008
HHA headquarters: The Fire Station is on the corner of Yale and 12th Streets.
Every Wednesday and Saturday, 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, Historic Houston’s salvage warehouse is open. Call 713-522-0542 or visit their web site.
Calling all Chefs!
The Houston Food Bank’s Operation Frontline program is hosting a cocktail mixer at M2 Gallery, 325 West 19th in the Heights, on Tuesday, August 5 at 6 p.m. Operation Frontline is in need of chef volunteers to teach cooking classes to low income kids and adults to prepare/provide nutritious and filling foods for their family even with a limited budget. Please join us to learn more about how you may Share your Strength with Houston’s low income population.
For more information on this important program, visit
Please RSVP to Kristen House, , or call 713-547-8643 for more information.
October 5, Bicycle Rally
December 5-6, Holiday Home Tour
February 22, 2009, Awards Dinner
April 3-5, 2009, Spring Home Tour
April 18, 2009, HHA Camp-Out & Music Fest
June 6, 2009, Heights Fun Run
Copyright and Submissions
The Heights is published monthly by the Houston Heights Association. Its purpose is to acknowledge achievements and to inform HHA members of events.
Copyright 2008, the Houston Heights Association and/or the authors unless otherwise noted.
Newsletter inquiries, suggestions, or submissions should be directed to:
Editor, The Heights, P.O. Box 70735, Houston, TX 77270-0735;
email ; or leave a message on 713-861-4002.
Staff and Contributors
Editor: Gerald Melancon
Editor Emeritus: Mark R. Williamson
August contributors: Paul Carr, Nikki Eliason, Janice Evans, Lauriel Hindman, Kristen House, Dean Swanson, Mark Williamson.