Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Pearland Old Townsite to get revitalized
Originally posted on the Chron.
We've been watching as the half of Pearland west of Hwy. 35 toward 288 and beyond is being developed like crazy. The WaterLights District will be swarming with tourists in a couple of years. Pearland Town Center has blown up with places for shopping and eating. And the development of housing and shopping centers continues to thrive on the West end.
What about the Pearland Old Townsite on the East end?
A new organization has been created to oversee the revitalization of a historic section of the City of Pearland's Old Townsite. The Pearland Old Townsite Business Coalition officially launched on Jan. 20 and is funded by the Pearland Economic Development Corporation (PEDC).
"Groups of concerned citizens and business owners have been meeting regularly for the past seven months, brainstorming ways to restore the beauty and history of this treasured part of town," said Kyler Cole, director of redevelopment for the PEDC. "Now, through this newly funded Coalition, these local businesses that have a vested interest in revitalizing this area will have a political voice, and together, we will help make their ideas a reality."
Approximately 40 district business owners will continue to meet monthly for discussion and plans to revitalize Old Pearland, and the Coalition will generate the revenues by membership dues and fundraisers. The Coalition will function under nonprofit status via four committees - beautification, membership, legislative/government relations and grants.
The Coalition may have just been launched but projects are already in the works and will take place in March. The initial district improvements is a $40,000 project and will include the installation of 130 brown historic street signs to replace the existing green street signs, along with ornamental poles.
In addition, the Coalition unveiled a new marketing brand and logo. Architect Jack McGuff is currently redesigning entryway monument signage at the Walnut and Broadway streets intersection. Other proposed projects include commercial façade grants and loans, and drainage and sidewalk improvements.
"The completion of these projects will allow us to develop architectural design standards that will create a more consistent image in the district," Cole said.
Long-term plans include complete redevelopment of Grand Boulevard with accompanying streetscape and beautification enhancements, restoration and movement of the old train depot to the Old Townsite, a commuter rail station linking to downtown Houston, the establishment of a neighborhood empowerment zone and long-term reinvestment fund.
"These long-term plans could be catalytic projects that will significantly increase taxpayer value and economic impact to the Old Townsite," Cole said.