The Chron notes downtown’s continuing evolution.
Last week’s announcement of plans for a Nau Center for Texas Cultural Heritage marked the latest in a string of developments in the decades-long march in the evolution of about 50 square blocks west of U.S. 59. It started with lots of vacant land, added a convention center and in recent years sprouted a cluster of venues that has made it an unofficial district. Now, with the market improved and the city offering tax rebates to developers of condos, lofts and apartments, there is talk of something unthinkable a quarter century ago: a neighborhood.
“Ultimately, you need the 24-hour-a-day residents here,” said Bob Eury, executive director of the Downtown District, which marries public and private funds to fuel development. Those residents keep the restaurants and shops alive on the weekends when the conventioneers have gone home, Eury said.
“People walking on the streets, they’re walking their dogs, they’re living in the neighborhood. It makes (other) people feel more comfortable, and they come down. It’s a long-term work in progress,” said Ric Campo, chairman of Houston First Corp., the quasi-public agency that runs the city’s convention business. “Each piece of the puzzle adds to the fabric of the community. We’re getting to the point in the next five years where we’re going to have it. You’re going to start to see things down here that are amazing. People will go, ‘Wow! Have you been down there?’ ”
I can’t honestly say that I have associated the word “neighborhood” with downtown. Downtown does now have a lot of the things that neighborhoods have, but I’ve just never thought of it in those terms. Perhaps one reason why is discussed by a commenter on that story, as noted by Nancy Sarnoff.
The only people living in downtown have no children. People with children look at schools when they move.
I have always thought the best way to incentivize people to live downtown would be to build schools. If there was a good school downtown I think a lot of people would consider living there.
I have always thought the Downtown District is completely missing this. A partnership with the city, HISD, the downtown district, and local business people could work to create a model school that could stimulate a population growth downtown, resulting in increased density, lower infrastructure costs, less congestion on freeways without building more lanes, and a thriving local business community downtown serving the permanent residents. The end result is that we could have a downtown with a real 24 hour a day local community.
That got me curious, so I visited the HISD web page and searched for schools. A look at the Elementary Schools Attendance Zones map informed me that there is one HISD elementary school within the confines of downtown, the Young Scholars Academy For Excellence. Other nearby options include BK Bruce, a music magnet school; Crockett Elementary, which is an HISD internal charter; Gregory-Lincoln, a Pre-K to 8 fine arts magnet school; and The Rusk School, a K-8 science, math, and technology school. Walking to school isn’t likely to be an option, but still, not a bad set of possibilities.
It gets a little thinner when you look at middle schools, though as noted Gregory-Lincoln and Rusk go through grade 8, and high schools, though that’s true pretty much everywhere. Actually, there are several high schools in the Third Ward, just south of downtown, and HSPVA is on its way to downtown. Perhaps the issue isn’t a lack of available schools, but a lack of information about what is available.