Dru Gutierrez with the North Houston District emceed his first Atascocita BizCom as chair of the group. Photo by Tom Broad

-  FM 1960 Expansion, Winter Storm 2021 are topics at virtual Atascocita BizCom -

Partnership Lake Houston’s Transportation Committee has crafted a wish list – their top five priority transportation projects for Lake Houston. Transportation Chair Bryan Ruth revealed them at the Partnership’s Atascocita BizCom held virtually Feb. 25.

The jam-packed meeting included an update on the FM 1960 expansion project through Atascocita, updates on how to get a COVID-19 vaccination through the Harris County Public Health Department, a virtual tour of The Groves development which now includes a commercial segment, and Winter Storm 2021 updates from Humble ISD and the Partnership’s business members.

While announcing his transportation wish list, Ruth admitted the five priorities are long-term projects and that the partnership announced them to get them on the various governmental entities’ radars.

The five are the expansion of Sorters McClellan Road, the expansion and extension of Hamblen Road, the extension of Woodland Hills in Kingwood to FM 1960 and on to Beltway 8, connecting Deerbrook Mall to Townsen Blvd., and creating a direct connection from FM 1960 to I-69 in Humble.

The transportation committee has created a map that displays all of Lake Houston’s current transportation projects.

“Lake Houston includes four different county commissioners, two cities, the Lake Houston Development Corporation and Texas Department of Transportation, for example, and all have transportation projects underway,” Ruth said, “so we have developed a map of the region that is color-coded to let residents know the progress and status of each project.”

Also talking about transportation at the virtual BizCom was Danny Perez with the Texas Department of Transportation, who outlined the progress of the FM 1960 expansion project from Humble’s east limits to the San Jacinto bridge.

Segment 1, from Humble to east of Twigsworth Lane near Humble, is not as developed and TxDOT continues to acquire right of way and clear it, according to Perez. Segment 2 is more developed but all right of way has been acquired and being cleared so that electric and gas contractors can complete their work as the contractor begins construction of the foundations for sound walls around the residential portions of FM1960.

“TxDOT will not have a dedicated website for this project,” Perez said. “Residents can follow the progress of the improvements on TxDOT’s Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages.”

Mike Miller with Ashlar Development teased BizCom viewers about a major grocer coming to The Glade, the commercial portion of The Groves, the 1,000-acre, wooded, master-planned community located along West Lake Houston Parkway south of Atascocita High School.

While he couldn’t reveal the name of the grocer, Miller could reveal a new video on The Groves website which takes viewers on a tour of its amenities.

Winter Storm 2021 was on the mind of Humble ISD Superintendent Dr. Elizabeth Fagen who reported that half of the district’s campuses were affected.

“I’m so proud of our team that stepped up to get the buildings ready in time for the schools to open,” she said.

Atascocita Middle School suffered water damage to flooring and baseboards in the choir room and band hall with minor damage to the woodshop, she said. New flooring will be installed in the affected areas.

Humble High’s dance hall, Junior ROTC area and six classrooms in the freshman hallway were damaged. The second-grade hallway was damaged at Deerwood Elementary. And major damage occurred to the Board, Business and Technology Center.

Fortunately, Fagen had good news about the district’s projects funded by the 2018 bond.

“We were able to save enough from our other district projects that we will be able to rebuild North Belt Elementary, even though it was not part of this bond,” she said.

North Belt will be relocated to Bender and Old Humble Road and will include a larger campus, updated learning spaces and better traffic flow. Fagen says the new campus will bring the outside world to North Belt students and it will be the district’s first school to include virtual learning spaces for teachers.

Fagen also described the unique features of Centennial, Lakeland and Autumn Creek elementary schools that stress inspiring elementary students.

“We’re bringing the concept used in children’s museums,” she explained. “In a video we showed at a board meeting, one of the young students said going to school made him one of the luckiest kids in the world. We hope to bring that children’s museum concept to all of our schools in the next bond proposal.”

Winter Storm 2021 was also on the mind of partnership President Jenna Armstrong, who said a recent partnership survey showed that 67 percent of the businesses responding were affected.

“It wasn’t damage, but rather being closed for three to five days. That’s just not good,” she said, encouraging residents and businesses cleaning up after the freeze to turn to local businesses for help.

The partnership’s Mark Mitchell encouraged businesses to contact him since 77 Texas counties including Harris were declared disaster areas and eligible for federal assistance.

Tom Broad
Author: Tom BroadEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
Besides being a proud graduate of The University of Nebraska-Lincoln and, therefore, a Cornhusker, I am retired from Memorial Hermann. I am a correspondent and columnist for Lake Houston's hometown paper, The Tribune, as well as a director of the Lake Houston Redevelopment Corporation, a member of the board of the Humble Area Assistance Ministries, and Volunteer Extraordinaire for the Lake Houston Area Chamber.

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