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Economic development workshops...

Designed to address: economic development for business districts, accessibility, preservation of community assets and values, enhance quality of life, create quality of place, and develop consensus.

"People move to urban areas because they want to walk" - Karen Derr (Karen Derr Realty)

Stakeholders visit the area experiencing first-hand what is like walking local streets.

Hosted by Historic Heights First Saturday, the workshop was held at Hickory Hollow Restaurant in the Houston Heights historic neighborhood. The workshop was focused on generating physical improvement to the Heights Blvd. street escape located north of Washington Avenue. This area is a gateway to the Heights and includes many businesses, restaurants, stores, museums, and multifamily residential properties.

Stakeholders attending the workshop were interested in creating a destination and enhancing the quality of the area.

Discussion No. 1

- Incorporate a traffic circle at the intersection of Center Street and Heights Blvd. Implement street escape and a gateway to the Heights.

- Incorporate a water fountain and public art elements in the Heights Blvd. esplanade in front of the Heights Station store.

- Improve landscape of the esplanade north of the rail road tracks to reflect the presence of the Art Car Museum and maintain the functionality of the esplanade (parking and recreation).

- Incorporate a variety of landscape on the esplanade to create a safer environment for children playing soccer.

- Plant new trees in the esplanade to maintain and grow a canopy of trees that resembles the old Heights.

- Incorporate water features on the esplanade at the south bank of White Oak Bayou.

- Purchase property on the southeast corner of Heights Blvd. and White Oak Bayou for a permanent park.

Discussion No. 2

- Extend existing trails on the esplanade south, under I-10 connecting to south end of Heights Blvd.

- Add more plants on Heights Blvd. and add low plant in the middle of the esplanade.

- Consider Yale Street as an alternative route for trails.

- Improve sidewalks in the area.

- Create a gateway at the intersections of Yale Street and Heights Blvd. with Washington Ave. Include wider sidewalks.

- Connect trails to Memorial Park and proposed MKT hike and bike trails.

- Address traffic safety at the intersections of Center and Yale Streets and Center Street and Heights Blvd.

- Incorporate public art at bus shelters.

- Use gazebos for branding the area.

- Improvements to the looks of the I-10 underpass including public art elements.


Discussion No. 3

- Create a district identity by creating branding and gateways at street intersections.

- Greening of parking spaces.

- Develop public parking at City's waste management facility.

- More trees on Center Street east of the Heights Blvd. and wider sidewalks.

- Create a railroad quiet zone.

- Add more trees and landscape on the esplanade, planters and green areas in the Cosmos and Hickory Hollow properties.

- Re-use alleys for pedestrian activity and build and improve sidewalks.

- Purchase property for development of a multi-use family park.

- Make the area ADA accessible and paint cross walks as a branding element.

Next Steps: provide branding for the area, implement landscapes for esplanade with multi-use character, create gateways at the Heights and Washington Avenue intersection, create a destination, address railroad safety and noise, implement public art, and develop a walkable community.
Photo: Use a gazebo as a branding element either by placing gazebos or creating graphic elements. Photo: View of esplanade in Heights Blvd. Cones show area used by children to play soccer. Photo: An area becomes a destination when the quality of place gets people's attention.
Photo: Use of existing alleys connecting Washington Ave. and Center Street as promenades. Photo: Use of water and vegetation provides a friendly environment for Houston's heat. Photo: Pedestrian benefit from wide and shaded walkways free of obstacles.

Participants: Woodcrest Civic Association, Old Sixth Ward Historic District, David Funeral Directors, Heights First Saturday, Houston Heights Association, Rice Military Civic Club, CACHH, Art Car Museum, Hickory Hollow Restaurant, City of Houston, Heights Station Antiques, Boulevard Lofts, Karen Derr Realty, Houston METRO, Union Pacific, Redbud Gallery, Woodland Heights Association, City of Houston District H.

The Heights' Village - A Gateway and Destination
Restaurants for all tastes
High density residential living
Antique shops
Art Car Museum
Cosmos for evening music
National recognized architecture
Quality of place

Development of new homes

The Social a gathering place


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