The Livable Centers Study, conducted by the Houston-Galveston Area Council and participated in by the Houston Downtown Management District and the East Downtown Management District (EaDo), has been completed and culminated with 42 recommendations given for improvements meant to create a vibrant destination that welcomes office workers, residents, regional visitors, and convention goers. EaDo: In the Know recently spoke with Jeff Taebel of the H-GAC to garner his insight into the overall study process and the most compelling and initially necessary initiatives from both a residential and a commercial perspective.

 

"The stakeholder involvement process for the (Livable Centers) study was robust and inclusive," Jeff Taebel explained, when comparing the EaDo/Downtown study with others he has experienced. "We had good participation from a variety of institutions, businesses and community leaders from within and adjacent to the study area. We also had good turnout by area residents at the public meetings, especially the final meeting in August, for which we had a very large turnout. By and large, the response to the study recommendations has been very positive from stakeholders and residents alike." Taebel noted the variety of entities and people participating as a positive sign, since one of the study’s key aims was to develop recommendations that would enhance residents’ quality of life and the overall business climate while offering a positive experience for visitors. The residential/business juxtaposition made this study unique in that EaDo is a growing residential neighborhood in the midst of several major regional destinations.

 

According to Taebel, the most important things that EaDo business owners should take away from the study are strategies to incentivize more housing in the area, which will create more customers for local business, as will improving the pedestrian realm along bikeways and transit connections. "The ground floor design standard and other special projects proposed in the study would also create a unique urban setting within the region, increasing the area’s attractiveness to a diverse mix of residents and visitors as a place to eat, work, play, and shop," continued Taebel.

 

For the residential side of EaDo, Taehel’s comments are somewhat similar: "The study includes recommendations to provide a better pedestrian environment, improved access to transit, and more green space. It also emphasizes the need for incentives to stimulate more residential development, including a mix of housing choices. This will be important if the area is to develop the critical mass of residents necessary to support more neighborhood-oriented retail and services."

 

The five or six most important (at least, initially) changes to implement to make EaDo a more "livable center" include a catalytic project that could really get the ball rolling—a position the Dynamo Stadium is currently in and an initiative that could be furthered by a project like the Bastrop Promenade. Other infrastructure projects like sidewalks and utilities are also crucial first steps, as are making the recommended improvements to the bicycle facilities; providing access to some of the region’s major off-street bikeways, thereby making the area a real destination for bicyclists. Enacting policies to promote more housing choices and creating pedestrian-oriented development with active ground floors are key in giving the district a critical mass of diverse residents and creating the type of unique, walkable environment envisioned in the study.

 

Ultimately, Taebel suggests the most important next steps that must happen before going forward. He explains, "It is important that the District build the consensus and partnerships necessary to fund the key projects and make the policy changes recommended in the study. It’s also important to recognize that completing all of the recommended projects may take many years. Hopefully, momentum can be built through some early successes that will sustain commitment to complete the longer term recommendations."

Livable Centers Initiative rendering of Bastrop Promenade

 

Livable Centers Initiative rendering of EaDo

 

Super Neighborhood 61 (the newly named Super Neighborhood designation for EaDo and Downtown) will celebrate National Night Out with the rest of Houston on Tuesday, October 4, 2011, from 6-9 PM at Discovery Green. National Night Out is designed to encourage residents to get out and meet neighbors; heighten crime and drug prevention awareness; generate support of, and participation in, local anti-crime programs; strengthen neighborhood community spirit and police-community partnerships; and send a strong message to criminals that the neighborhood is organized and will fight back. The Houston Police Department has coordinated this event with various participating organizations, including Target, Macy’s, St. Joseph Hospital, the University of Houston Downtown’s Police Department, the Sheriff’s Department, State Farm, and METRO. We hope to see you out and about on October 4th at Discovery Green!

According to the Houston Dynamo, the sites you see on the webcam are just a small sampling of the major construction going on at the new Dynamo Stadium site. ICON Venue Group senior vice president Charlie Thornton recently gave an update on the construction process.

"Things are going extremely well; everything is progressing quickly," Thornton said. With steel framework currently going up on the west side of the stadium, the dual work flow set to start next week should bring the stadium to life more quickly. While fans will also start to see the concrete base of the 200 level, construction will just be getting underway on the building that will house locker rooms, offices, and more.

As the Dynamo and the Manhattan Construction Group have stated throughout the process, the dry summer has aided the construction process and keeps the new stadium on schedule for a May 2012 opening. "It’s exciting, and there are a lot of things yet to happen, but we’re confident it’s all going to go smoothly," Thornton said.

Current Dynamo season ticket holders have already been informed of their window to select seats in the new stadium. New stadium season tickets go on sale to the general public on September 20th.

Progress on the Dynamo Stadium photo credit Jim Olive/Stockyard Photos

On Tuesday, August 23rd, EaDo’s Lucky’s Pub set the scene for a special seminar put on by Farrah Akhtar, Community Director of Houston Yelp. Farrah helped several local business owners and managers best understand the website’s many business tools and helped said folks have a full appreciation for the site and what it can do for EaDo area businesses. We know that several interested parties weren’t able to attend, due to prior engagements, so be sure to check out the Yelp For Business Owners page on Yelp (for videos, tips, testimonials, etc.)to learn all you can about the website, and feel free to email Farrah at farrah@yelp.com with any questions.

“Farrah Akhtar (standing) discusses Yelp with EaDo business owners

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.

Aerosol Warfare Gallery – Join Aerosol Warfare Gallery for their ongoing art workshops provided by CKC StART Street & Urban Arts this fall. Workshops are led by a professional graffiti artist at Aerosol Warfare Gallery & GONZO247 studios at 2110 Jefferson, Suite 113. Participants will learn basic graffiti drawing elements, color, design, spray paint techniques, and graffiti history. Participants who choose to take more than one workshop will be given the opportunity to create their artwork during the workshop under the guidance of the lead artist. Workshops will be customized and individualized for each person or group so they can continue to build on what they already learned. Each 2 hour workshop is $40 for people ages 13 and up and $20 for kids under 13. September workshops occur on Tuesday, 9/27 and Thursday, 9/29. Both begin at 7 PM..  For more information, visit
Aerosol Warfare Gallery >

Calliope's PoBoy
Calliope’s Po-Boy invites everyone to come take the UNDERTAKER CHALLENGE, which rewards the first 3 people who complete the challenge with the meal for free, an additional po-boy combo, and a t-shirt! The challenge costs $35 and requires the “challengee” to eat 1 X-Large Calliope’s Surf & Turf Po-Boy and 1 Large Fries with Gravy & Cheese in one sitting. The Po-Boy will be fully dressed and everything must be finished in under 45 minutes with no restroom breaks. Visit www.calliopespoboy.com for more information on the UNDERTAKER CHALLENGE!
Calliope's PoBoy >


Warehouse Live – September 14th – Polar Bear Club; September 16th – Lita Ford; September 23rd – Hanson. For full listing visit:
Warehouse Live >

Little Woodrow's
Little Woodrow’s’ $2 Ticket Stub Special menu rewards those who bring in ticket stubs from Warehouse Live shows, plus stubs from Texans, Rockets, Dynamo, Astros, Rice, and University of Houston games. Also, don’t forget that Little Woodrow’s EaDo has specials every night of the week! Monday – TX Beer & Movie night; Tuesday – Big Ass Beers and Geeks Who Drink Trivia Contest; Wednesday – Ladies Night and Steak Night; Thursday – Happy Hour ‘til 9 PM; Friday – DJ night; Saturday – 11 AM – 4 PM $3 Bloody Marys, Blue Moon, Micheladas and Mimosas; Sunday – Draftmania with draft specials. For more details see
Little Woodrow's
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Lucky's Pub
Lucky’s Pub is hosting their Halfway to St. Patrick’s Day Party on September 17th, featuring all of the fun of St. Patty’s Day: 8 live bands, green beer, leprechauns, and much more! And don’t forget that Lucky’s hosts Parking Lot Tailgate Parties for every Texans game, featuring $2 Texas beers, $4 Texas liquors, $3 Bloody Mary’s, $6 Mimosa Pitchers, $8 Screwdriver Pitchers, BBQ served by cooking teams, DJ’s, live bands, tailgating games, and a Dunk-A-Cheerleader booth. Don’t miss the fun this fall!
Lucky's Pub
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Cork Soakers
Don’t forget about Cork Soakers’ weekly Wednesday cultural event, “Artful Sips,” where attendees can create great art while sipping super wine! The rest of their nightly specials are as follows: Thursday – Complimentary wine tastings from 7-9 PM, plus Grillin’ & Chillin’ – AKA, Steak Night!
Cork Soakers
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Mandola's Deli – Mandola’s Deli opens at 10 AM during the week to serve you the best espressos and lattes available on the east side! For more information, visit
Mandola's Deli
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Bar 1820 – Bar 1820 just west of Highway 59 on Leeland offers awesome daily happy hour deals from 4pm until 2am. Also, twice a month (first and last Friday) 1820’s patrons can enjoy the unlimited vintage arcade games and pinball machines at Joysticks (1820 Franklin B) for PACMAN FEVER.

EaDo Special Board Meeting in September at 12:00pm, Tuesday, September 13, 2011 at 2612 McKinney.
Call 713-504-2042 for confirmation on location and time.

Public Safety Committee Meetings are held the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 11:00 am at 2612 McKinney. Schedules change so please call 713-504-2042 for confirmation.