The Lake Houston Redevelopment Authority/Tax Reinvestment Zone 10 met over the phone April 9. It was unprecedented for the group managing transportation projects in the Lake Houston area. Stay-At-Home orders issued by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo sent the board to their telephones in order to avoid spreading COVID-19.
Chair Stan Sarman heard reports on ongoing projects and a small bit of good news from TIRZ CPA Melissa Morton.
“Acquisition of right of way is moving forward,” Sarman said, “as best we can considering the virus.” Sarman said the Kingwood drainage project underway by the Harris County Flood Control District is “moving along” but a planned public meeting set for early May has been postponed indefinitely.
Vince Oregon of HNTB, project engineers for the Northpark Drive Overpass project, said plans are coming along well. Consultation and coordination has taken place with Union Pacific Railroad, the City of Houston and TxDOT. A drainage issue concerning the Kroger Center near US Hwy. 59 caused a new report to be constructed. TxDOT asked for additional environmental requirements which prompted HNTB to submit a supplemental task order to the board.
Rachel Ray-Welsh said two smaller intersection projects in Kingwood have been studied for drainage concerns. Woodland Hills at Kingwood Drive has significant drainage issues during rain events. The firm is currently looking into the extent of adding new drainage. Willow Terrace at Kingwood Drive does not have as much flooding but Ray-Welsh’s group is studying plans for the improvement and its effects on drainage.
CPA Melissa Morton said the virus has caused turmoil in financial markets and the result has been a significant increase in interest rates, which impacts investments made by the TIRZ. Morton was able to transfer funds into a protected account guaranteeing the TIRZ a 1.5% rate through May 2. Left in the original account, the interest would be below 1%.
The TIRZ entered into an agreement with Squidz Ink Design to create and maintain a website dedicated to the Northpark Project. Elmore Public Relations is creating a Frequently Asked Questions document that will be posted to the new site.
The board will meet at the Kingwood Community Center May 14 if Stay-At-Home policies have been relaxed.