Houston City Council’s regular meeting August 28, 2013 included appointments to the Washington Avenue Corridor Advisory Committee and the Houston Clean City Commission. The Mayor also introduced Lourdes Coss, whose appointment as Chief Procurement Officer was announced August 27. Almost all the 22 items on the agenda concerned infrastructure dealing with water and sewer projects, and most passed without debate. The Council also accepted work and a final $13 million payment to Gilbane Building Company for renovation to the Parks and Recreation Department Campus and Park. The amount is 3.50% over the original contract amount and under the 5% contingency.
At her press conference following the Council meeting, Mayor Parker, joined with Joe Turner of the Parks and Recreation Department a representative of Texas Department of Transportation, announced that the City of Houston will receive 4 federal matching grants totaling $6.6 million through the Texas Enhancement Program. The four projects will increase connectivity across the Houston area. They include.
1.The Mason Park Pedestrian Bike Bridge (TE Funding $3,544, 579). The bridge over Brays Bayou with 200 feet of new trail on each bank will link existing paths with neighborhoods, community service institutions, and business districts.
2.University Connection (TE Funding: $1, 844,655. ) The project will provide a safe pedestrian and bicycle crossing for Brays Bayou near two new light rail transit centers, two universities, and many neighborhoods in the MacGregor Park area.
3.Hunting Bayou Gaps (TE Funding $607, 440). The project will connect 1.5 miles of trails along Hunting Bayou with one mile of new construction, in connection with work already underway as a Harris County Flood Control project to connect Mickey Leland and Hutcheson Parks.
4.Hermann Park/Brays Bayou Connectors. (TE funding: $597,742). The trails covered in this project include 5 miles of existing trails stretching from the Ship Channel to West Houston. The project will complete heavily used trails and facilitate increased pedestrian traffic between several universities and the Texas Medical Center.
The estimated total cost of the projects is $12.6 million, of which $6.6 will come from the federal matching grant. The balance will come from a combination of public and private funds totaling $6 million provided through the Houston Parks Board. The funds include $1.6 million in private funding and $4 million in City of Houston Bond Funds approved by the voters last November.