10 things to watch in Cy-Fair in 2010
It's been a tough economy, but Cy-Fair isn't showing many signs of slowing down. New schools, new houses and new roads are on the way. Here's our list of the 10 things to watch in 2010:
1.) A numbers game in Cy-Fair ISD: Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District, the state's third largest public school district and growing, has made deep budget cuts the past two years and will continue that trend this year unless additional state revenue is allocated. Because that is not expected to happen, and because the 2010-11 budget is projected to have a $10 million deficit, district officials are working with two consulting firms to evaluate staffing and operations. The district has also collected information from administrators and staff on potential budget reductions. The Leadership Cy-Fair committee of district and community stakeholders is evaluating the budget.Trustees will launch budget discussions in February.
2.) U.S. 290 Lobby: Last fall, several elected officials who represent sections of the Cy-Fair area declared their intent to find state and federal funds for the massive and unfunded $4.6 billion U.S. 290 reconstruction project. A delegation traveled to Austin in November to lobby the Texas Transportation Commission for funding. The commission allocated $315 million to the project, which will go toward the reconstruction of the Loop 610/U.S. 290/Interstate 10 interchange. The Federal Highway Administration will make a decision this year.
3.) Congestion reduction: The Houston-Galveston Area Council and other transportation agencies are searching for ways to reduce congestion and improve safety along the Texas 6 N./FM 1960 and FM 529 corridors. The study team collected data and community input last fall and is developing transportation improvement solutions and projects for the section of Texas 6/FM 1960 from north of I-10 at Park Row to Mills Road; and the section of FM 529 from Greenhouse Road to U.S. 290. Proposed solutions will be presented to the community in March, and proposed project recommendations in May. The final study report will be released in summer 2010.
4.) Water pressure: More than five years ago the West Harris County Regional Water Authority began building a water pipeline network that will one day deliver surface water from the city of Houston to 80 percent of the homes and businesses in the 100 west Harris County municipal utility districts and the city of Katy. The authority cleared a first hurdle by meeting a mandate to convert 20 percent of the districts to surface water by 2010.
5.) Steady growth: Despite recent market challenges, the Cy-Fair community continues to grow, as evidenced by the number of new homes going up in three large master-planned communities the Bridgeland off U.S. 290 and Fry Road, Towne Lake at Barker-Cypress and West roads and Fairfield at U.S. 290 and Mason Road. General Growth Property officials say home sales in Bridgeland were on the upswing after the company canceled plans to sell the massive master-planned community in mid-2009. Caldwell Cos.' Peter Barnhart said Towne Lake home sales were as strong in 2009 as the prior year, and the company is moving forward with construction on the community's centerpiece lake, a second bridge on Greenhouse Road and the extension of Main Street" Tuckerton Road to Barker-Cypress. Fairfield developer Friendwood Development also continues to add homes in new sections.
6.) Miss Cy-Fair: The Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce has announced the premier of the Miss Cy-Fair Houston" pageant on March 27 at Copperfield Church. The pageant will include about 50 young women between the ages of 16-18 years who live in the Cy-Fair ISD district. The winner will receive a $1,000 scholarship. More than 1,000 attendees are expected, Chamber officials said. The Chamber staff will also plan a Little Miss and Tiny Miss pageant tentatively set in 2011.
7.) College expansion: Lone Star College CyFair is moving forward with plans to build a second satellite center to serve residents and students in and around Cy-Fair ISD's southwest corner, and has launched expansion projects at the 450,000-square-foot main campus at Barker-Cypress and West roads. The college recently purchased property near Clay and Fry roads, and plans to build an 83,000-square-foot satellite center to accommodate about 3,000 students by fall 2011. Construction has started on a 138,000-square-foot classroom addition on the south side of the main campus and a 55,000-square-foot science classroom building on the north side. The buildings should also open in fall 2011.
8.) New schools: As a result of the economic downturn and budget challenges, Cy-Fair ISD chose to delay construction of 10 schools from the original opening dates recommended by the 2007 bond steering committee. At the same time, the district is close to completion on two $60-million-plus high school renovation projects launched more than two years ago that have transformed two of its older schools. By the start of the 2010-11 school year, Jersey Village will have four small learning communities," each with about 800 students in grades 9-12; and Cypress Creek will have eight sections, one for each of four small learning communities for 9th- and 10th-graders and four career pathway communities for 11th- and 12th-graders. The district will also open Rennell Elementary and Emery Elementary schools in the fall.
9.) Roads and bridges: In an effort to keep up with Cy-Fair's swelling population, Harris County Precinct 3 Steve Radack's office is forging ahead with several projects, which will encompass most of the Cy-Fair area. Ongoing road construction projects include Queenston Boulevard from Clay to Kieth Harrow; Cypress Rose Hill from Cypress Mill Park to Manor Bend; Park Row Boulevard from 4200 feet west of Barker Cypress to Barker Cypress; Queenston Boulevard from West Road to Houston National Boulevard and Tuckerton; and Mueschke Road from approximately one-mile north of U.S. 290 to Sandy Hill Circle. Precinct 3's 15,000-square-foot Westside Senior Education Center near Bear Creek Park is 55 percent complete.
10.) Commuter community: Cy-Fair leaders have been advocating for commuter rail on Union Pacific Railroad's U.S. 290 rail line for several years. Harris County Judge Ed Emmett is backing their cause. The Gulf Coast Rail District and Metropolitan Transit Authority have voiced interest in such a project. In 2009, the Gulf Coast Rail District applied for federal stimulus grant funds to advance commuter rail studies for the U.S. 290 and Texas 3 corridors. The latest word is that rail district will receive funds in early 2010, and $800,000 will be used for the initial U.S. 290 corridor study effort.
Local Advertising by PaperG