May 2018

Flood control has always been an important issue in Harris County. Harvey has added an exclamation point to this priority. Within the next few months, my Commissioners Court colleagues and I will come to you with a bond proposal that you will have the chance to vote on during a special bond election on Aug. 25. 

Harris County Flood Control District is diligently working to put together a list of the most pressing flood control projects affecting the county. It is more essential now than ever for every level of government, including local, state, and federal, to work together to protect our recovering region. 

Not only do we need to repair our current flood control system, but we also need to develop new methods of flood control. Proposed projects like the third reservoir, home buyouts, expansion of our greenways, and drainage reuse could help prevent widespread flooding during our next big storm. 

At the county level, we approved new regulations to raise the standards for new construction in the floodplain. We also worked closely with Congress to secure funds to prevent future disasters.

Please educate yourself about the upcoming bond election on Aug. 25. I also urge you to read Judge Ed Emmett’s letter below, detailing why now is such a critical time for a bond election. We live in a bright and shining place today, and together we can build an even brighter future.

As a reminder, you can access past issues of Commissioner's E-Corner  on the  Precinct 4 website.   Visit Precinct 4 online to learn more about our road projects and upcoming events available through our community centers, parks department, and Senior Adult Program.
Harris Co. Precinct 4 logo - R. Jack Cagle, Commissioner
Message From Judge Emmett:

I thank Gov. Greg Abbott for his prompt and positive letter this week granting Harris County permission to set Aug. 25 as a special election date for the county’s proposed flood prevention bond issue. Although Commissioners Court won’t formally set the date and amount of the bond proposal until June 12, the governor’s letter clearly shows the importance of holding that election on Aug. 25 – the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey.

Although some preferred having the bond proposal on the Nov. 6 general election ballot, I believe Aug. 25 provides a far better opportunity for our community to educate ourselves, debate the issue, and make an informed decision.

First, Harris County voters are going to be making a number of important decisions at the polls before the end of the year – on the federal, state, and local level. Respectfully, though, I believe the county’s flood bond election will probably have the most far-reaching and long-term impact of any of those decisions. And I think it would be a mistake for us to risk having that discussion in October and November, when so many of our neighbors will be focused on other races in the general election. There is no question that it would be a struggle for us to get our message heard above the din of so many other election messages.

In addition, I fear that having the bond issue proposal at the bottom of a crowded ballot (in which many will simply vote straight tickets) will effectively disenfranchise many of our neighbors who will not continue down to the bottom of the ballot, where the bond proposal would be.

In less than three weeks, another hurricane season will be upon us, and we will be renewing our call for all county residents to prepare for the worst. How can we, as county officials, deliver that message with a straight face if we cannot show that we too are preparing?

Instead, we will be preparing. We will be laying before the voters a comprehensive, multi-pronged bond package that will help prevent the type of devastation we endured last year and will again show the world that when faced with a challenge, we in Texas roll up our sleeves and get to work.
Featured Articles
Discover the Past at the Spring Creek Park Heritage Festival

Harris County Precinct 4 invites the public to learn about Tomball’s unique history during the Spring Creek Park Heritage Festival Saturday, May 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. rain or shine at Spring Creek Park in Tomball.

Attendees can participate in archaeology digs, view Civil War battle re-enactments, and tour a historic cemetery. The event will also include weapons and cultural demonstrations, storytellers, activities, and food trucks. Park visitors are also encouraged to visit historical markers highlighting the park’s history. 

Barbara Bush's Legacy Lives On

Anyone coming of age within the last 29 years would be hard pressed to find a reading program not touched in some way by Barbara Bush’s influence. 
After establishing the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy, Bush advocated tirelessly for literacy across the nation and internationally. Over the past 29 years, the Foundation has raised and provided more than $110 million in support to create or expand family literacy programs in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Wilson Road Improvements

Commuters traveling through the Humble and Atascocita areas can look forward to new lanes opening on Wilson Road in 2019. 

Plans include widening a section of Wilson Road between Beltway 8 and Atascocita Road from a two-lane asphalt roadway to a four-lane concrete section with a sidewalk between Humble ISD’s Park Lakes Elementary and Viscaro Lane. Construction began in January and is scheduled for completion on Oct. 21, 2019.

HCPL Kicks Off Summer Programs at Mercer Botanic Gardens

Children and teens are invited to participate in Harris County Public Library (HCPL) services this summer at Precinct 4’s Mercer Botanic Gardens.

The library will host Summer Reading Program activities Monday through Thursday, June 4 through Aug. 3 at Mercer Botanic Gardens, with each day’s activities targeted toward a different age group. 

As part of the program, children can commit to reading a certain number of books to earn points and prizes. 

HCFCD Begins Flood Control Project Study

Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) has long relied on its abundance of bayous, basins, and reservoirs to control flooding across the county. In the wake of multiple, countywide flood events within the last three years, new flood control options may be on the table.

Most recently, Harris County Commissioners Court members gave approval for Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) to begin exploring the feasibility of constructing underground stormwater conveyance tunnels.

Warm, Wet Weather Brings Out Mosquitoes

It’s a scenario most Texans can relate to. After a long, rainy winter, you step outside to balmy weather, chirping birds, and spring flowers. As images of picnics, pool parties, and woodland hikes run through your mind, you suddenly hear it: a buzzing near your ear. Before you have a chance to slap it away, a dozen mosquitoes take turns dive bombing your exposed skin.

Don’t let mosquitoes ruin your summer. Besides being an annoyance, mosquitoes can spread diseases, such as West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, malaria, dengue fever, Chikungunya, and Zika.

Hurricane Season Begins June 1

As Harris County continues to recover from Hurricane Harvey, officials remind residents that the start of the 2018 Hurricane Season is less than a month away. The Harris County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management (HCOHSEM) is once again urging everyone to prepare in advance of June 1.

“By preparing now, residents can protect themselves and their families from the damaging impacts of a storm,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett. “Area residents can prepare by developing a personalized plan, creating a disaster supply kit, and staying informed.”

New Trail To Benefit Kingwood Residents

City of Houston residents have long enjoyed the ability to hop on a bike and catch a bus to locations across the city. One day, Kingwood residents may have a similar opportunity.

Precinct 4 is planning a new one-mile hike and bike trail that would connect Kingwood residents to the Townsen Park-n-Ride and the Spring Creek Greenway, which extends more than 13 miles along the greenway.

Feeding the Hungry

It was a labor of love for a group of volunteers at Mercer Botanic Gardens. Volunteers spent the morning harvesting hundreds of pounds of winter greens to donate to the Houston Food Bank. 

“We planted the kale and Swiss chard during the cooler months to add a little color to our seasonal flower beds. Rather than letting the greens go to waste, we decided to donate them,” said Mercer Greenhouse Manager Jacob Martin.

Upcoming Events
Bee Weaver in Navasota
Join Precinct 4’s Senior Adult Program for a unique trip into a bee hive Thursday, May 17 . From the comfort of a shaded observation area, view a beekeeper at work and learn basic beekeeping. The observation area has a screen between you and the hive, and the beekeeper will bring frames of bees to the screen, so you can see the bees and their hive up close. Lunch is available for purchase at Las Fuentes Steak and Grill. $15 fee. Click here to register .
Dragonfly Workshop at Jones Park
Participate in a citizen science project to help monitor the region’s three migratory dragonflies Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. to noon. Learn identification characteristics and reporting methods before going for a walk into the park to practice photographing and identifying these dragonflies. For more information, call 281-446-8588. 
Mercer Children's Garden Opening
Children and families are invited to attend the grand opening of the Children’s Garden at Mercer Botanic Gardens Saturday, June 9 at 9 a.m. Festivities include a ceremonial ribbon cutting, activity stations, and interactive exploration booths in the East Side Gardens. View a larger-than-life succulent lizard; a plant zoo highlighting animal-named plants, such as elephant’s foot jade, red bird plant, and zebra aloe; and sensory plants, such as lamb’s ear and rosemary.