Group approves location for weather station

 

Two Kingwood residents attended the June Kingwood Service Association (KSA) Parks Committee meeting to make strong complaints about not having access to ball fields in the community.

The board listened to two related complaints about access policies for KSA-owned parks where baseball fields are leased to private sports associations. Specifically, the comments were about the Deer Ridge baseball fields. Both residents said they strongly believe the sports fields in question are on land residents of Kingwood should have access to when the association currently leasing them is not using them. They want to use them with their own children and by their children’s organized teams and leagues when not in use.

Chris Manthei of Bear Branch explained the purpose of the leasing system that has been used for 30 years. He noted that KSA does not now and never has maintained large playing fields for specific sports. He noted that all maintenance of the facilities on the land in question, including mowing, lights, fields, baseball bases, bleachers, backdrops and fences, are the responsibility of the association leasing the land. The lease also requires that the sports associations provide for the insurance coverage required for use of the fields.

“KSA owns the property, but essentially the sports groups are the tenants and they own the improvements: the fences, the bases, the grading and everything associated with baseball,” he said. “We do have a long-term lease of 10 years to encourage them to provide improvements. Other sports groups have reached joint-use agreements with others, including soccer and lacrosse and others. We would encourage you to discuss this with the current leaseholders.”

Both residents were dissatisfied with Manthei’s response. One explained that he had tried and failed to make such an agreement because it was too costly and there was a history of poor relationships between him and the sports group in question. As he kept talking, he would not let Manthei respond until, finally, Manthei loudly gaveled the discussion to an abrupt halt and said, “I appreciate your passion for baseball. There are many people here with a passion for baseball. I suggest the baseball groups get together and discuss how they can work together.”

At that point the discussion ended.

The committee also approved offering a location for the construction of a small weather station in East End Park by the Texas Water Development Board. Bob Rehak of Kings Forest explained the proposal.

“At the governor’s direction, with the governor’s funds, the Texas Water Development Board is establishing a number of networked inclement weather-reporting stations throughout the state. They are looking to establish three more in Harris County, one of which they want in northeast Harris County somewhere near, but not necessarily on the San Jacinto River,” said Rehak.

He explained that the station would require a 40-by-40-foot space. The board would construct a cyclone fence around the site and put up a 30-foot tower for instruments to measure wind, rainwater rates and accumulation, and other pertinent information.

“The benefit to us is that people could tap into it (via the Internet) and look at our current weather data,” he said.

Rehak explained that the overall network is intended to help enhance the resolution of information throughout the state and give weather forecasters more early warning time related to hurricanes and other severe weather events.

“The question before us is, do we have a 40-by-40-foot spot in one of our parks that we feel we could make available for this?” Rehak asked.

River Grove was immediately discussed and determined not to be a good choice because the entire area is so flood prone, no matter where the tower is placed. Maryanne Fortson of Fosters Mill and steward for East End Park suggested a specific location in East End Park.

“Put it next to the well; it’s not in the flood plain and it’s already got a cyclone fence anyway,” she said. The committee agreed and will offer the area to the Water Development Board. Rehak will take the offer to the appropriate people and, if found to be suitable, it will be installed and maintained at no cost to KSA.

The next KSA Parks meeting will be Thursday, July 12, at 7 p.m. at the South Woodland Hills Community Room, 2030 Shadow Rock Dr.

Bruce Olson
Author: Bruce OlsonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
I have been married since 1970 to Kerry, my best friend and a great Australian woman. I served and survived Vietnam in the U.S. Air Force. I fought forest fires in the summer while in college, where I earned a B.A. in economics from Oklahoma State University and an M.B.A. from the University of Texas. I retired from Continental Airlines. I have a son and two granddaughters in Kingwood, and a daughter and two grandsons on a farm near Mazabuka, Zambia. I am now enjoying life as a grandfather, Tribune correspondent and Humble ISD guest teacher when not traveling to Zambia or Australia.