February 2021

Welcome to another edition of Commissioner's E-Corner. We packed this edition with beneficial information to help you make the most out of this year. 
COVID-19 still threatens our community, but the new Moderna, Pfizer, and soon-to-be released Johnson & Johnson vaccines give us hope. Harris County Public Health now offers a limited supply of Moderna vaccines to the public. In this edition, we cover who qualifies for a vaccine and how to register.
In the meantime, our parks continue to provide plenty of activities and amenities to keep you active, engaged, and entertained. Precinct 4's Spring Creek Greenway continues to grow and connect to new neighborhoods throughout the precinct, providing passive flood protection, recreation, and wildlife conservation. As spring approaches, I invite you to check out the upcoming plant sales at Mercer Botanic Gardens. We also offer a variety of volunteer opportunities throughout the year. 
Have you visited your library lately? Renew your love of reading and support our libraries by helping Harris County Public Library celebrate its first 100 years. Visit the library system online to check out videos and participate in online activities and events. Although our libraries currently remain closed to the public indoors, all branches remain open to serve you by offering contactless curbside pickup outdoors. I encourage you to browse their selections online by visiting www.hcpl.net

New Community Center Planned
For Cypress Creek Cultural District
Construction will begin this year on Precinct 4’s newest community center -- near Barbara Bush Library and Precinct 4's Collins and Meyer parks, in the heart of the Cypress Creek Cultural District. 

Spanning 24,500 square feet and two stories, the President George H.W. Bush Community Center will be Precinct 4's largest. Plans include remodeling the exterior and interior of a building bought in 2018 from Cypress Creek Christian Church.

The new facade will incorporate the look and feel of Barbara Bush Library, adopting elements like split-face stone, green-tinted glass, and green metal frames and railings. The building will also feature a metal, wood-like siding to reflect the park’s natural setting near Cypress Creek. 

In addition, a two-story lobby with a curtain glass wall will greet visitors at the building's main entrance. Visitors will also have access to a digital information kiosk and a series of iPad stations adorning walls throughout the facility. 

Read more about the new facility in the Houston Chronicle.
Get Ready for Spring at Mercer Botanic Gardens
If the crispy leaves and wilted plants of your winter garden have you fearing an intervention by the homeowners association, worry no more. Mercer Botanic Gardens has plenty of spring plant sales to meet all your landscaping needs. Check out the upcoming dates below:

Tomato and Fruit Tree Sale 

A variety of tomato plants will be available online at themercersociety.square.site beginning Saturday, Feb. 13. Early shopping is available for TMS members from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Public shopping is from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

March Mart: Virtual Plant Sale

March Mart is an annual two-day plant sale fundraiser benefiting Mercer Botanic Gardens. Discover Mercer Grown plants, raised by experienced staff and volunteers, and other gardening favorites. This year's online-only event begins Friday, March 19, at 4 p.m. for members of The Mercer Society and Saturday, March 20, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. for the public.  
For more information, visit themercersociety.org/event/march-mart-virtual. To become a TMS member or to renew a membership, visit themercersociety.org.

Spring Plant Sale

Do you miss viewing Mercer's plant selections in person? The Mercer Society's Spring Plant Sale is a unique event for shoppers who miss browsing Mercer's plant selections in the gardens. Shoppers can browse hundreds of high-quality plants rarely found at local retail nurseries and "Mercer Grown" plants on Friday, May 7, and Saturday, May 8. 

These are just a few of the plant sales Mercer has planned this year. Learn how to bring the beauty of Mercer to your garden by following Mercer on Facebook

Springwoods Village to Join the Spring Creek Greenway
A new connection to Harris County's 18.5-mile Spring Creek Greenway could open as early as this summer. 

The 2.77-mile trail will run from Rothwood Park to the Springwoods Village Preserve, allowing Springwoods Village residents seamless travel from Tomball to Humble. 

Springwoods Village, a 2,000-acre master-planned community in Spring, opened to residents in 2013 and has grown to include the headquarters of ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Inc., and Southwestern Energy. Most recently, Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced that it would move its global headquarters to the development. 

With the area's growth comes demand for more parks and trails. Springwoods Village is just one of the many communities connecting to the Spring Creek Greenway. As the greenway grows, more communities will connect to it. For more information, visit www.hcp4.net/parks/scg/.
Gov. Abbott Appoints Cagle to Task Force 
Gov. Greg Abbott has appointed Commissioner R. Jack Cagle to the Task Force on Disaster Issues Affecting Persons Who Are Elderly and Persons Who Are Disabled for a four-year term beginning Feb. 1. The task force will study methods of serving the elderly or disabled before, during, and after a disaster or emergency evacuation. 

Cagle brings much experience to the role. As commissioner, he regularly provides recreational activities and bus trips to his older constituents through Precinct 4 Encore. Buses are wheelchair accessible and designed to transport the elderly or those with disabilities. He also created a high-water rescue team and fleet equipped with wheelchair ramps to transport people of all abilities during flood events. His team has led rescue efforts for victims of Hurricane Harvey, the Tax Day Flood, and other floods. 
Celebrating 100 Years of HCPL
Calling all bookworms! Join Harris County Public Library for a variety of online activities celebrating its first 100 years.

The Harris County Public Library will release a new original video each month highlighting the library through the decades. In addition to the in-house productions, HCPL plans to host a slate of online events and activities and share historical stories about the people who shaped and continue to shape the library.

Learn more about HCPL's centennial celebration here.
Resources are also available here and here.

COVID-19 Vaccines Now Available
Harris County Public Health now offers a limited supply of COVID-19 vaccines to the public. We break down the vaccine qualifications below and share how to schedule your vaccine.

Who qualifies for the vaccine?

Vaccines will be distributed in three phases. Texas remains in phases 1A and 1B, meaning only healthcare workers, long-term facility residents, those 65 and older, and those over 16 with at least one chronic health condition qualify. 

Find a complete list of requirements here.

For more information regarding vaccine distribution methods, please visit the Texas Department of State Health Services
The Texas Department of State Health Services
What if I qualify?
If you meet Phase 1A and 1B requirements and would like a vaccine, please contact your primary healthcare provider or check the HCPH vaccine distribution map to find a provider. Please contact a facility before visiting to ensure you meet all qualifications and that vaccines are available.

Eligible residents may also sign up for a vaccine through HCPH’s COVID-19 Vaccination Portal at vacstrac.hctx.net. The portal will allow individuals to be placed on a waitlist and contacted once vaccines and appointments are available. Those without internet access can also call 832-927-8787 to be placed on the waitlist. Read more about the new vaccination portal here.

What can I do in the meantime if I don't qualify?

Additional vaccines will become available later this year for everyone -- not just healthcare workers. Once you qualify, HCPH encourages you to sign up for your vaccine at vacstrac.hctx.net or contact a primary care physician, hospital, clinic, or pharmacy to schedule an appointment.

In the meantime, please continue protecting yourself and others by wearing a mask, practicing good hygiene, social distancing, and getting tested.

For more information, click here.
Upcoming Events
Heritage Festival Video Series 
Enjoy new historical lessons each Thursday on Precinct 4's Facebook page from Jan. 28 through March 4. Learn about the Akokisa tribe, Old Town Spring and Tomball, German history, and the history of Spring Creek Park. For more information or to view the videos, visit www.facebook.com/HCPrecinct4.
Leave No Trace at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve
Nature is one of our most precious resources. Learn how you can help preserve it by following the Leave No Trace Outdoor Code and Tread Lightly principles during a class on Saturday, Feb. 6, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve. This class meets Boy Scouts of America requirements and is open to the public. Registration is required at www.hcp4.net/kmp. Ages 10 and up.
Plant Folklore: Love and Devotion at Mercer Botanic Gardens
Plants traditionally symbolize devotion, romance, and love. Join Mercer staff members for a lighthearted walk in the crisp winter air on Friday, Feb. 12, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. to find plants steeped in romantic folklore, including roses, lavender, oregano, thyme, and more. Registration required. Call 713-274-4160 to register. Ages 12 and up.