At its January meeting, the Kingwood Service Association (KSA) Parks Committee learned the flood mediation work on the Bens Branch drainage north of Kingwood Drive will begin immediately and will significantly impact the Creekwood Nature Area. The work is included in the process of widening and deepening the Bens Branch drainage ditch as a major part of the overall flood mediation work throughout Kingwood.
“I did get an update today from the Harris County Flood Control District and they are scheduled to start the maintenance project of clearing out the Bens Branch ditch that passes through Creekwood. I believe it is Jan. 19 that is the start date. I know that Kings Forest will be impacted, Bear Branch Trails and so forth,” Dee Price, steward for the Creekwood Nature Area, said. She said the plan is to dig out the accumulated dirt to return it to its original dimensions.
“It has become badly silted and has not been cleared out in decades. The process is they will enter on Cedar Knolls and come down the easement along the banks where the creek is,” Price said.
She added that they will also build what they call a “low-river crossing” just north of Kingwood Drive near where the pedestrian bridge is located. Work is expected to continue for the next several months.
Joe Mazzarella, steward for the Kingwood entrance area, announced that the situation around the Highway 494 intersection is in a state of flux as reconstruction progresses and keeps exposing additional requirements for all parties involved.
“We got a lot of new information from TxDOT. They are installing a new water line along the north side of Kingwood Drive out to the feeder. That means they are going to be ripping up all the irrigation on the north side where the pond is,” Mazzarella said.
Committee Chairman Chris Manthei pointed out that also means KSA will have to replace an equalization pipe that runs under Kingwood Drive between the two KSA ponds.
“They also said they gave the wrong information to Houston and now they are talking about two or three times to schedule the work. Hopefully when they do it, they can try to get everything done in one time,” Mazzarella said.
He explained that TxDOT will follow up within three weeks if they are unable to finish.
“It could take up to six months before they get back to finish the intersection, so we will be talking to Dave [Houston Pro Tem Dave Martin] to give him the information we received today and find out what the Houston situation would be,” he said.
Mazzarella pointed out that the changing plans are affecting the overall situation with the trees in the Kingwood Drive entrance area.
“We may be able to save the oak trees down the center of Kingwood Drive,” he said.
TxDOT is also talking about putting in a new section of temporary roadway from the front of the Wendy’s restaurant and bank along Kingwood Drive going west to the railroad. In that case, KSA may only lose the two crepe myrtles at the intersection with 494 but not the oak trees. “We just don’t know yet,” he said.
Major construction improvements are also about to begin in River Grove Park. The committee approved bids for both the replacement of the park’s boat dock, including its anchoring piers, for a cost of $36,570.50 and the reconstruction of the park’s entry road into the park from Hamblen Road to the service area for a cost of $57,782.
In other business, Ethel McCormick of KSA management noted feral hog activity is way down from earlier in the year.
“The only two areas we are noticing there are hogs are the Spring Pines area of Kings Point and occasionally in Royal Shores. They go away for a while and then they come back again,” she said.
By unanimous consent, the committee reelected all its current officers and park stewards for the coming year.
KSA Parks Committee meetings are normally held on the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room. However, they will continue as scheduled using Zoom for teleconferencing until COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted in Houston.