January 2019

Wow! 2019 gave us an exciting year of growth and achievement. We took the same taxpayer’s nickel, stretched it, worked it, and then reworked it again, enabling Precinct 4 to introduce improved publications, expanded trail systems, and the recently opened Champion Forest Park. We also continue to innovate and introduce new programs, activities, and events. Our holiday events like Holiday in the Gardens at Mercer Botanic Gardens and Holiday Wonderland at Burroughs Park rivaled or exceeded ticketed events in downtown Houston! Precinct 4 parks also now show free family-friendly movies on the big screen throughout the year. Catch the next one in February during a special Valentine’s Day showing of “The Princess Bride.”

Although I view the accomplishments of your excellent Precinct 4 workers with pride, I also look forward to seeing all they have in store for the new year. In the coming year, we plan to debut a new plant line at Mercer Botanic Gardens, introduce new predator pods to fight mosquitoes, and restore the lake and trails at the YMCA between Precinct 4’s 100 Acre Woods and the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve.
Read more below to discover some of the ways we have grown in 2019 and our plans for the new year. Happy holidays!

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.
Featured Articles
Commissioner Tours Precinct 4 Bond Projects

Commissioner R. Jack Cagle recently explored some of the flood bond projects under way in Precinct 4. Improvements include channel modifications, regional stormwater detention basins, storm repairs, and desilting. Click here to see an album of the tour.

At least $2.5 billion in bonds will be sold over the next 10 to 15 years to pay for projects as needed. Once complete, the projects will improve Harris County’s overall drainage system. Of the 237 bond projects, 81 will be in Precinct 4.

For more information, click here .

Observe a Predator Pod for Science

Mosquito-eating insects may be coming to a neighborhood near you in 2020.

Precinct 4’s Biological Control Initiative is recruiting citizen scientists to adopt a pod of native “mosquito assassins” and report the results. The research will help Anita Schiller, the director of Precinct 4’s Biological Control Initiative, and her team of scientists learn how to more efficiently introduce mosquito assassins into communities.

Participants will receive mosquito assassin larvae in a clear, biodegradable container filled with everything the insects need to survive until maturity. Citizen scientists must commit approximately three weeks to the experiment.

Try Something New: Canoeing, Orienteering, and More 

Resolve to try something new in 2020! Precinct 4’s Trails As Parks offers free canoe training for children and teens ages 10 to 17 on Saturday, Jan. 11, from 9 a.m. to noon.

Visit Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve to learn canoeing basics and other know-before-you-go information. Canoes, paddles, and personal flotation devices are provided. Registration required.

Canoeing is just one of the many activities available in 2020. Children and adults can sign up for hiking, spear throwing, archery, owl prowls, orienteering and more in January. No specialized equipment or experience is required for TAP activities.

Reserve your spot online .

Precinct 4 Acquires YMCA Pond and Trails

It’s official! Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve and the 100 Acre Wood Preserve will one day have a connection under State Highway 249, providing park visitors access to hundreds of acres of greenspace.

The trail, which will connect Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve to the Cypress Creek Greenway Trail, should be completed by the third quarter of 2021. 

Precinct 4 also plans to restore the former YMCA fishing pond damaged during Hurricane Harvey by March 2020 and extend the trails to the 100 Acre Woods by the third quarter of 2020.

The first phase of the project kicked off earlier this year when Precinct 4 acquired a 20-acre pond and 6.88 acres from the D. Bradley McWilliams YMCA. The 6.88 acres on the east side of SH249 will become part of the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve, and a $100,000 playground will be installed on the property in spring. Stay tuned for additional updates!

‘Mercer Grown’ Plants to Debut in 2020

The Mercer Society will debut a new plant line in early 2020 just in time for the annual March Mart Plant Sale. 

More than 200 “Mercer Grown” plants will be available at March Mart, including edibles and pollinator host plants.

The Mercer Society, the nonprofit providing financial support to Mercer Botanic Gardens, has hosted the annual March Mart Plant Sale for nearly 20 years. The plant sale proved so popular that the organization added an extra day to the event and kicked off monthly specialty plant sales in 2019. 

“We’re going back to our roots,” said Nancy Ackley, the society’s president. “We’re known for our plant sales, and that’s what we do best.”

Mercer Grown plants will be grown on site by Mercer Society staff and experienced volunteers. 

Planting Event Aims to Increase Plant Diversity Along Spring Creek Greenway 

Harris County Precinct 4 invites the public to help improve plant diversity along the Spring Creek Greenway by helping plant native trees and plants at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18, at Dennis Johnston Park, 709 Riley Fuzzel Road in Spring.

Trees not only provide food and shelter for wildlife, they also help prevent soil erosion and reduce urban heat and noise pollution. Volunteers will plant 41 varieties of native plants and 32 varieties of seeds along the greenway. Participants should bring a shovel, work gloves, and a refillable water bottle.

The event begins at 9 a.m. and is open to those 8 and older. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Dress for the weather and wear closed-toe shoes. To register, click here .

Check Out the Overlook and Picnic Pavilion at Burroughs Park

Next time you’re at Burroughs Park, be sure to visit the newly refurbished observation deck and pavilion.

Precinct 4 staff members recently restored the overlook by replacing the deck, adding pergolas, and wrapping the handrails and telephone poles with cedar. Park staff also recently completed a new picnic pavilion, which is now open to the public. 

Other amenities at this facility include sports fields, a 7-acre fishing lake, five playgrounds, more than eight miles of nature trails, picnic areas, restroom facilities, a dog park, and an award-winning barbecue pavilion that seats more than 250 people.

For more information about Burroughs Park, click here .

Precinct 4's Top Photos of 2019
Upcoming Events
Children’s Garden Whimsical Makeover
At Mercer Botanic Gardens
Let your creativity go wild at Mercer Botanic Gardens ( 22306 Aldine Westfield Road) ! Help craft charming miniature garden pieces to make the Children’s Garden whimsical and magical on Jan 2 and Jan 3 at 9 a.m. Build miniature villages, garden-explorer play pieces, and fun art. Mercer staff will place completed pieces in the Children’s Garden for all visitors to enjoy! A drop-in event. Ages 10 and older. Hot cocoa provided.
Second Day Hike at Pundt Park
Start the new year off right with a Second Day Hike along the picturesque Spring Creek Greenway on Thursday, Jan. 2, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Pundt Park. All ages welcome. Registration required at www.hcp4.net/tap.
Arbor Day at Jones Park
Celebrate Arbor Day with a variety of programs and demonstrations on Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 18 and 19, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Take home a free sapling and learn about tree planting and care tips. Webelos can fulfill the self-guided “Into the Woods” adventure activity. Saturday includes a tree planting party at 10 a.m. Jones Park is at 20634 Kenswick Drive in Humble.
Date Night Movie Night at Burroughs Park
Join us for a hilarious showing of “The Princess Bride,” with popcorn, drinks, and a photo booth. The movie kicks off Saturday, Feb. 15 at dusk at Burroughs Park, 9738 Hufsmith Road in Tomball.