The biggest bash in college basketball bounces into Houston this spring and EaDo will be right next door to the fun! The 2011 NCAA Final Four heads to H-town April 2-4 and the Houston Local Organizing Committee (HLOC) is working hard to ensure all local businesses, government organizations, volunteers, and citizens cooperate to make our city memorable, comfortable, and enjoyable during the tournament. Many events will take place just across Highway 59 from EaDo in the George R. Brown Convention Center and at Discovery Green Park, so, residents, community leaders, and business owners just east of downtown should be especially enthusiastic about the 2011 Final Four! From March 31-April 4, 2011, George R. Brown will be home to “Bracket Town Refreshed by Coca-Cola Zero,” a fan fest headquarters for folks of all ages who can play a variety of NCAA sports, view championship highlights, attend basketball clinics, attend former NCAA player and coach autograph sessions and demonstrations, and more! Further, “The Big Dance,” will be staged outdoors at Discovery Green from April 1-3, featuring both local and national musical acts. These few days will bring over 60,000 visitors to the Greater Houston area, and we want our friends in EaDo to be prepared!

To view an introductory letter from the HLOC outlining details on important community meetings taking place January 13th and January 20th, plus helpful documents prepared by the HLOC, including a Welcome Team Workbook, an instructional manual on city permits, and a compilation of Final Four Facts, please click here.

Dear Community Stakeholder,

Houston is an amazingly wonderful city with a community that is proud of all that has been accomplished here and all that there is to offer! We have hosted many great events through the years – international conventions, a Super Bowl, and now we are getting ready to host one of the most iconic sporting events – the NCAA Men’s Final Four! For those of you unfamiliar with the event, this is when Men’s College Basketball comes alive throughout the month of March during their championships tournament. It all culminates in the Final Four teams, that will play in the national semi-final and then the final games here in Houston on April 2nd and April 4th.

As the city prepares for this special event, we are asking for your assistance, as well as wanting to make sure we give you as much information as possible. Here are a few items that we are asking your familiarization, participation and cooperation:

1. Attached please find our Final Four Facts document that gives you all the of the information about the Final Four – the basics and all of the programs and events that surround this special event.

2. Also attached is our “Welcome Team” Workbook – a great resource and tool for property owners, property management and other business owners to go through in order to prepare for special guests. Over 60,000 out-of-town guests will descend upon our city to participate in the Final Four, and we as a community want to be ready to host them! We encourage you to print the Workbook out, as well as pass it along to any other property managers, business owners and business operators.

3. The third attachment is a quick reference to the City of Houston’s Permits and Ordinances related to this special event. We wanted to be sure all are fully informed of the dos and don’ts regarding special events in Houston.

4. And finally, we’d like to invite you to a special informational meeting - open to you and those whom you believe would like to know more details about the Final Four, the activities surrounding the games, and more specific information about transportation, signage, etc. We’ll also have some fun things to share with you! You have TWO options for the informational meeting:

OPTION #1: Community/Business Presentation Meeting:
THURSDAY, JANUARY 13th, 5-6PM
Upper Kirby District Offices
3015 Richmond Ave., Suite 100 Houston, TX 77098

OPTION #2: Community/Business Presentation Meeting:
THURSDAY, JANUARY 20th, 9-10AM
Upper Kirby District Offices
3015 Richmond Ave., Suite 100 Houston, TX 77098

PLEASE RSVP for ONE OF THE TWO MEETINGS TO:
Karen Shumate, NCAA MENS FINAL FOUR HOUSTON LOC, kshumate@houstonloc.org or 832-667-1906

A reminder email at the beginning of January regarding the informational meetings above will be sent. However, I encourage you to RSVP today and put this on your calendar. I also am asking you to help us in getting the word out by passing along the information in this email to other property managers and business owners you may know. Thanks in advance for your help and assistance. If you have questions, please feel free to call Karen or me (713-650-1470). In the meantime, I look forward to seeing you in the new year at one of our two informational meetings.

Sincerely

Bob Eury
Chairman, Community/Business Presentation Committee
NCAA Men’s Final Four Houston Local Organizing Committee

Soon the East Downtown Management District will have a new office tenant: the City of Houston Parking Management Division (HPMD) is moving to the neighborhood in March, 2011! The HPMD is a division of the City of Houston Convention and Entertainment Facilities Department. In addition to servicing and maintaining almost 6,000 on-street parking spaces across the Greater Houston area, Parking Management enforces parking regulations for all commercial and residential areas, thereby contributing to pedestrian safety and a smooth flow of traffic. Parking Management also encourages parking awareness and supports public transit initiatives. The agency’s new digs in EaDo bring not just a new group of neighbors to the area, but also a much improved look for the building it now occupies: a once-blighted nightclub that has undergone an exciting transformation into offices at 2020 McKinney Street. We welcome the HPMD to EaDo!

For more information about Parking Management, please call 713-837-0311 or visit www.houstonparking.org.

Until 2003, Linda Cantu and her husband, Dr. C.D. Cantu, DDS, loved coming downtown nearly every weekend to their favorite restaurants and for other entertainment. “We fell in love with the energy of downtown Houston,” says Cantu, so, in 2003, the couple decided to make the area their home by moving into the Stanford Lofts on Bastrop Street in EaDo.

“My husband’s dental practice has been in the East End for 36 years and he loves the neighborhood,” explains Cantu, adding, “we decided on the Stanford Lofts and have been very pleased with the progress of the neighborhood since then. We’re confident there is much more to come with the Dynamo Stadium and Light Rail line on their way.” Among the neighborhood highlights Cantu lists as great perks of EaDo, she’s especially excited about the growing art scene, the EaDo Promenade and the Dynamo Stadium under development. It’s the pedestrian nature of the proposed Promenade that especially delights Cantu, who looks forward to living in a “walking community” with eateries and boutiques lining the sidewalks in just a few short years. Not one to sit on the sidelines, Cantu has committed to her fare share of the work necessary to make EaDo the best it can be...

An already civic-minded person, Cantu became actively involved with the Stanford Condo Association upon moving in, eventually leading to her meeting EaDo General Manager Tina Araujo, who attended several of the association meetings after EaDo’s inception to explain the work the District was doing in the community. “I was so impressed with Tina’s enthusiasm and I truly believe that as an EaDo resident, I have a responsibility to be involved in my community. Change only happens with citizen engagement,” explains Cantu, when asked what led to her high level of involvement with the neighborhood. She continues, “I’ve since joined EaDo’s District Public Safety and District Operations Committee, which meets monthly and addresses public safety, transportation, and code enforcement issues, as well as the concerns of residents, businesses and local charity groups and agencies such as Star of Hope, and Loaves and Fishes.”

Cantu’s only regret is that her full-time job keeps her from doing more for the neighborhood she and her husband now call home, and she hopes to someday be involved on the policy level for the District. When pondering the years to come and her potential involvement in the neighborhood, Cantu muses, “I’m looking forward to retirement in a year so I can devote lots more time to the EaDo community. My husband and I really love it, we plan to stay for a long time and have all the confidence in the world that EaDo will be the coolest neighborhood in Houston in the near future.”

The Public Safety & District Operations Committee meets the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 11:00 a.m. at 2612 McKinney. On occasion, the date or time of the committee meeting may change.

On December 2, 2010, Houston Dynamo President Chris Canetti joined representatives from EaDo for a tree-planting, part of the club’s ongoing commitment to supporting the neighborhood its new stadium will soon call home. The community landscape project is located at the Bastrop right of way.

"We are committed to working with the East Downtown community," said Canetti. "Whether through graffiti cleanups or planting trees, we are constantly looking for ways to strengthen our relationship with a community that has given us so much and that will become our new home in 2012." The project is funded by EaDo and is part of a larger beautification plan. The landscaping contractor was Jay Williams of Landscape Art, Inc.

from right to left: James Rodriguez, Councilmember District I, Norm Pegram, Chairman of EaDo District, Eric Retana, EaDo Field Services Foreman, Chris Canetti, President of Houston Dynamo, Steve Powell, VP of Houston Dynamo

Each month, we cover highlights of what’s happening in EaDo, and we link to the full calendars of the area’s various venues.  If your venue is not listed and you’d like for it to be, please contact us at info@eadohouston.com.

Warehouse LiveJanuary 13 – Kristine Mills the winner of the Houston Press Music Awards 2010 “Best Songwriter” and the 2009 “Best Female Vocalist,” continues to impress international audiences, music authorities and press with her songwriting and polished, sophisticated vocals. Expect a high-energy performance by Kristine, vocals and guitar and Grammy-winning bassist, David Pulphus of New Orleans along with their band of Houston-based performers, Andrew Leinhard,piano and Ilya Janos, drums and percussion. Patrick Moore, cellist will be their special guest. January 15 – Warehouse Live, Jetspeed Entertainment, Monster Energy and Jagermeister present the Jetspeed Live Music Festival featuring Parabelle, with Dev Electric, Exit 380, Black Queen Speaks, Chrome 44, Carmeci, & Dawn Over Zero; January 28 – 2nd Annual Grace Foundation of Texas Houston Gala – Dinner, cocktails and live and silent auctions will support saving survivors of homelessness while veteran Austin performers Patrice Pike Band entertain the crowd with special guests Kristine Mills & LongDive. For more info visit www.gracetexas.org; For full listings, visit
Warehouse Live >

Super Happy Fun Land
Super Happy Fun Land has live acts scheduled throughout January with highlights including indie/folk/reggae/rock trio Gimme My Moon Back on January 9th and folk/Americana/bluegrass group Michael Claytor & His Friends on January 21st; For full listings, visit
Super Happy Fun Land >

Francisco's Studio and Gallery
3rd Sundays of the month feature an open house with live graffiti painting, body painting, sketching, and a DJ.  Check them out at 2300 McKinney at Dowling. 

Disasters often strike without warning, but have no fear! There’s a great way to prepare with these great free workshops just northeast of EaDo in the Houston Heights! The Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Program educates people about disaster preparedness and trains them in basic response skills like fire safety, light search and rescue, team organization, and disaster medical operations. CERT members can then assist others in their neighborhood or workplace when professional responders are not immediately available to help. From January to March, the Greater Houston Heights CERT training program will be held at the Holy Trinity Reformed Episcopal Church at 211 Byrne St., Houston, TX 77009. Classes are Wednesdays from 6- 9 pm, beginning January 19 and ending March 9, 2011. The training is free and open to the public. To register or for more information, contact Marcela Berg at marcelabeth@gmail.com or 713-205-9939 or Dave Kelly at dkelly1@sbcglobal.net or 713-409-4240.

EaDo Board Meetings are on the 2nd Tuesday of every other month, the next being 8:00 a.m., Tuesday, January 11, 2010 at Huynh Restaurant – 912 St. Emanuel St.