The Kingwood Service Association (KSA) Parks Committee meeting held Feb. 6 began with a public comment presented by Kingwood resident Allen Brown regarding who should be paying $500,000 for the river dredging project at River Grove Park. Currently KSA is funding the project out of association funds that are provided by Kingwood residents through their home owner association (HOA) annual fees.
Because of the magnitude of the project, there had already been a thorough debate about whether to proceed or not. The decision was made by a majority vote of the HOA representatives to proceed in order to protect Kingwood property values and to restore the park’s river access and beauty to its pre-Hurricane Harvey condition.
“In my opinion it is not the responsibility of the citizens of Kingwood to dredge Lake Houston. It’s called Lake Houston and they [the City of Houston] should be the ones to dredge it. The damage to these parks should be paid for by the City of Houston and Lake Houston. Taxpayers shouldn’t have anything to do with it,” Brown said.
He explained that he thought the Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority and Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 10 (TIRZ) had plenty of money. He stated that its representatives and representatives of Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin had recently assured him they were ready to listen and possibly write the check to dredge this area of Lake Houston.
Brown concluded by saying, “I just think the City of Houston has not done us right on parks and recreation. For 23 years the city has done nothing but Dylan Park [the skateboard park on Rustic woods Drive]. It’s time that we got some money. They should take care of it and we should rebuild all the work you did on East End Park. He [Dave Martin] is Mayor Pro Tem now. He has got some stroke down there now. It’s time for us to get some money back from the City of Houston.”
Dee Price, park steward for River Grove Park, said they have talked about this issue with the people at both TIRZ and the City of Houston. In addition to being the River Grove park steward, Price is president of KSA and attends the TIRZ meetings representing KSA. As a result, she works on many issues regarding Kingwood with TIRZ and Martin. She pointed out that River Grove Park is a private park owned and maintained by KSA, not the City of Houston, for the use of Kingwood residents.
“Because we (KSA) are a nonprofit private entity, every time I have talked to them in the past we do not fall into the definition of those getting assistance from the city or TIRZ, but I will ask again,” she said.
Committee Chairman Chris Manthei thanked Brown for his input and advised that there would be updates and discussion on the current state of the dredging project later in the meeting. When it was addressed as part of the planned agenda, Price explained that there was a delay in the permitting process because of an unexpected and likely misapplied $2,800 recovery fee. The fee was established as part of the overall Harvey recovery efforts. Price has asked for a review to see if the fee is properly applicable to this kind of private project. The resulting decision is expected to be completed momentarily. She said she was optimistic the fee will be deemed not applicable and will not be required. Once the permit process is complete, the project will get underway. The contracts are let and initial staging work will begin immediately. The objective is to complete the dredging in time for the boat ramp to be reopened this spring. During the dredging, the parking area adjacent to the boat ramp will not be available for parking cars or other vehicles but there should be enough parking to accommodate sports team needs in the parking area around and just north of the foot bridge to the athletic fields.
In other business, Kingwood Association Management’s Ethyl McCormick noted the January KSA Hog Report reflected a total of 14 sightings in December and 12 in January, down from 55 each month in November and October. At the same time there were a total of 53 captures and removals made in December and January compared to 20 in November and 10 in October. The second hunter began in mid-November and this report continues to show improvement in the hog sightings and capture numbers with two hunters on the job.
KSA Parks Committee meetings are held the first Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room, 2030 Shadow Rock Drive in Kingwood. The public is invited to attend.