After years of study, no one accepts responsibility.

A Kingwood resident has been trying to find a remedy to a dangerous pedestrian hazard for years. He has contacted many, asking for help. His appeal, in part, follows and sums up both the hazard and his legitimate frustrations.

“This broken section of greenbelt has existed for many years at the eastern end of Kingwood Place Village. It is traveled over every school day by children, parents, bikers, joggers and us elderly. My granddaughter fell off her bike and skinned her knee and hurt her wrist there last year. There is no way of knowing how many others have been injured at this hazardous site. I have been trying in vain for years to get this corrected. I’ve attended monthly meetings at the HOA (Kingwood Place Village), but they won’t correct it, saying that they may incur liability if they did. I’ve met with Jack Cagle, H.C. Commissioner at his Atascocita office. He said that Harris County is the owner of the underlying property, but his budget won’t allow him to correct it. I’ve spoken with City of Houston officials as this rupture likely occurred when the bridge connecting above said village with Trailwood Village many years ago was done by the city. They simply declined to fix it. All of the above point the finger at the other organizations,” the resident said.

Most contacted claim it is not in their area of responsibility.

It is a broken sidewalk located on what seems to be a “No Man’s Land,” but which in reality is everyone’s land.

There is one thing the damaged sidewalk is not. It is not a part of any greenbelt system in Kingwood maintained by either a specific Kingwood Trails Association or any homeowners association. It is a sidewalk that approaches a pedestrian bridge over a drainage ditch on the border of Kingwood Place Village. The drainage ditch separates Trailwood and Kingwood Place Villages. The damage is at the end of the sidewalk that abuts directly onto the end of a paved walkway that may actually be a defined greenbelt. However, it clearly appears not to be part of the greenbelt. The rest of the sidewalk approaches but is not a part of the bridge crossing the drainage ditch controlled by either Harris County or the City of Houston.

In early May, Ethyl McCormick of Kingwood Management, who manages the Kingwood Service Association (KSA) administrative and operational support for KSA, its parks and public safety committees, along with many of Kingwood’s village homeowner associations, including Kingwood Place, explained the situation.

She was well aware of the complaints and has in fact been trying in good faith to get it resolved for literally months and years.

According to McCormick, it is a situation that goes back to when Kingwood Place was first developed.

Apparently, Friendswood Development Company built the bridge over the ditch by agreement with Harris County Flood Control and then deeded it to Harris County since the ditch is theirs.

However, they did not deed over the sidewalk leading up to it on both sides of the ditch.

Responsibility for the sidewalk just kind of disappeared. There is no clearly established homeowner association involvement, no KSA involvement, no responsibility by Harris County or the City of Houston for anything but the bridge itself. The sidewalk just sits there and is not maintained.

From the end of the bridge, it’s just a hop, skip and a tripping fall from going to the hospital.

McCormick advised that she thought there would finally be a solution and the sidewalk would be fixed, hopefully, within the next several weeks.

She thinks the Harris County Flood Control, KSA, Friendswood and the commercial association that controls the nearby commercial areas more than the actual Kingwood Place homeowners association were about to agree on who would fix the sidewalk.

Jessica Beemer, district director for Houston City Councilman Dave Martin’s office is aware of the dangerous sidewalk in question.

She confirmed, as McCormick had, that she had been familiar with it for quite some time.

She was as perplexed as McCormick. She succinctly described the reality of it all, “It’s off the beaten path.”

Beemer tried unsuccessfully to determine responsibility through the Harris County Tax Office web page using zip codes and area descriptions.

Beemer committed that she would try to get more information and agreed the situation needs to be resolved.

In the meantime, time marches on. It has been eight more weeks since McCormick was so hopeful. Nothing seems to be happening; just as it has not happened for months and years in the past.

The sidewalk remains extremely dangerous.

It may be off the beaten path of clear responsibility, but it is clearly and heavily traveled by the public, including many children and the elderly. Hopefully, drawing public attention to it through this article will help motivate actions by the appropriate people and organizations to finally get the sidewalk fixed.

Getting it fixed is all that matters. Doing it before someone like a child going to or from school or an elderly person out for a walk is seriously injured or killed is what really matters.

 

 

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Bruce Olson
Author: Bruce OlsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.