Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The future of Baytown

An open letter to our city's leadership:  I know everyone is seeing the scorched-earth dirt work that is going on all around Houston and Baytown.  Its almost as if there is a vendetta against anything green.  God help us if we don't start an aggressive program to replant. The greenhouse gas alone will continue to spike upward and then there is the very serious loss of habitat for wildlife to consider.

Baytown has always been a blue-collar town and I like it that way, but the truth is we have to start looking at more than people and industry growth, or the people earning very good livings off of our industry will live elsewhere and our collective health will decline.  We must push, push, push the expansion of parks and hiking/biking trails and businesses must be encouraged to replant trees and more trees, specifically native varieties tuned for the Gulf Coast.  I am going to retire here, most likely next year with no plans to go to "greener" pastures and I'm watching with enthusiasm for Baytown's future under you folk's direction.  Please don't let me and my neighbors down.
4 lane road through a natural area.
For years people called this Honda Hills.
Honda Hills defoliation to add Baker Road extension
Clear out everything above ground to put this underground.
I suggest we use this mowed containment area below the Fred Hartman Bridge
The current construction on Cedar Bayou replacing natural habitat.
Barkuloo Road closure to tie in the new Baker Road.

SH-146 & Hwy 99
SH-146 & Hwy 99.
Barkuloo road and Baker road intersection 7-28-13
Barkuloo road and Baker road intersection 7-28-13
Barkuloo road and Baker road intersection 7-28-13


Anonymous said...

Likewise Montgomery County. A huge new Exxon campus and now 2000 more acres of forest (the Camp Strake property) poised to become high end housing and a new retail area. If we live long enough we will probably see an uninterrupted expanse of concrete from Galveston to Huntsville.

Oh yes, forgot to add that there's little point contacting the mayor of Conroe about the Camp Strake development as he enthusiastically supports it and envisions Conroe someday blooming into a city with thirty and forty story office buildings. TT

Anonymous said...

Bert – I like your thoughts; and my wife from Alaska is in total support. Don’t forget that all initiatives require funding. We’ve been blessed (my opinion) with the funding Council and MDD have given to the Parks Department for Park expansions and renovations, landscaping and streetscape, walking trails through Jenkins and Holloway Park as well as the new one on Hutto, median improvements, etc. Have you spoken to Scott Johnson? I think he’d be the first to tell you he and his staff have been aggressively addressing the very issues you raise. Kevin Troller

. . . . . said...

Yes indeed. I am very happy with Scott Johnson at the helm. I am simply throwing up a flag here. How many decision-makers in this town live here, Kevin? That is a real question I would like to know the answer to. If they live in The Woodlands, Atascocita, or Kingwood, I wonder how deep their commitment is to our green side. Just saying.

Anonymous said...

My thought exactly, Bert! Parks has already received a generous donation from the Houston Bar Association for trees-will be used to plant trees around the detention pond on the Baker Road extension. We are actively working on acquiring more park land north of I10, which should be the focus of a campaign to raise money for trees. We have opportunities for more trees/shrubs on the remaining Alexander Drive medians, and will add trees and shrubs on 146 between Garth and N. Main this Fall. I would hope that we will add trees to the interchange of Decker and 146 when the last flyover is completed early next year. Being from West Texas, I know how precious trees are!!!!! (Mayor) SDC.

Anonymous said...

Bert – excellent point. I know I live in Baytown; Tierra del Oro, and it’s something that keeps me grounded in my desire to see Baytown grow and improve in every way possible. The more of our civic leaders and industry leaders that live here .. the better. I like that Kiwi Golf that has recently opened up here has made a commitment in requiring all of their employees to live in Baytown. That’s commitment to the community !!!! Kevin

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on that, Bert. I'm thinking about writing to the mayor of Baytown as well. The forests and fields vanishing is really starting to bum me out. JM

Anonymous said...

Definitely agree with Bert and JM. Baytown is being cut down slowly but surely. And the outlying areas are getting even worse. Mt Belvieu is being chopped down more quickly than I could ever imagine. Its ridiculous. JG

Claus V. said...

Hello Bert!

I'm a life-long resident of Baytown and I can identify with the slow change of community identity that you have touched on.

Economic development is a great thing and shows the vibrant "hustle-and-bustle" Baytown offers.

I remember the distant years the wife and I would hear rumors that Baytown was finally getting a particularly branded Italian restaurant...and be sadly disappointed when it did not come to pass. Today we can hardly navigate the Mighty-G(arth) without seeing some new main-stream eatery under construction or just opened. And now that particular eatery is here, we struggle to swing by so we can unload some gift-card we have to dine there. Sigh.

I commute past the business 146/hwy 99 intersection daily and have to confess I couldn't miss the clear-cutting of the trees there all the way to the RR trestle underpass. The first (guilty) thought I had was "yeah! Maybe Baytown will get a premiere beaver's truck and car stop at last. finally get some quality beef jerky without driving out of town.

Then, the other side nearer to the school got cut down and the amount of greenery removal for real estate development presentation struck me in the gut and I'm depressed when I drive by both. More gas stations? some more strip centers? Sigh. The loss felt of seeing the trees cleared and piled is palpable. The few left standing as orphans are sad sentinels.

We've always lived here on the "back-side" of Baytown down just off the business 146 corridor and have enjoyed the sleepier, slower-paced feel compared to "mid-town/I-10" areas. It looks like the pace is picking up here now too.

For a city that has as it's slogan "Where oil and water really do mix" and some of the premiere parks and nature recreational areas, I'm feeling a growing tension between what we say as a city and what we do.

I agree we really need to find some kind of balance between keeping our bedroom community growing, preserving that sense of shared community among the citizenry, and adding even more shine and joy to Baytown being experienced as an environmentally friendly and responsible place to live. I hope I'm not alone but the more I fight the traffic down Garth, the more I am afraid I am.

Please keep up the great blogging. As a fellow blogger, I know the work it takes and appreciate your unique public viewpoint of our humble little town.


Claus V.

. . . . . said...

An absolute wonder post, Claus. Thank you.

It can only happen while shopping!

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