Radack works on new Precinct 3 community center
Harris County Precinct 3 residents could have a new community center within a year to replace the flood-damaged Bear Creek Community Center.
Harris County Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack said he plans to seek bids soon for the center which will be located on about five acres on the north side of Clay Road west of Barker Cypress Road. The property is located west of the Westlake RV Resort.
At the Dec. 18 Harris County Commissioners Court meeting, Radack asked for authorization to submit an application to the Rebuild Texas Fund for a $3.8 million grant, with no required match, for the Bear Creek Community Center project.
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation in collaboration with the OneStar Foundation created the Rebuild Texas Fund. The fund has divided communities impacted by Hurricane Harvey into five regions and focuses on six areas, including community and economic development, through the end of 2019.
“Funding through the Rebuild Texas Fund will be provided to eligible nonprofit, government, corporate, and philanthropic organizations working on the ground in Texas communities, big and small, that have been affected by Hurricane Harvey,” according to the group’s website at www.rebuildtx.org
“We’re looking at a number of sources of money for the community center,” said Radack. He talked of money from insurance claims, possible Federal Emergency Management Agency funds and the possible transfer of park funds. The project estimate right now is about $6 million, he added.
The community center had been located at Bear Creek Park. The 2016 Tax Day floods caused $750,000 damage to the building. The rebuilt center opened in December 2016 only to be flooded when Hurricane Harvey visited the area in August 2017. Harris County Engineer John Blount did not recommend rebuilding the center.
The Bear Creek Community Center temporarily is housed at the Glazier Senior Education Center, 16600 Pine Forest Lane in west Houston, and is offering limited classes/events. Glazier hours were expanded to accommodate the additional programs.
Radack said plans being finalized call for a much larger community center. The building will include an early voting center inside, he said.
“The building can be used for other things. The interior is very much like the Trini Mendenhall Community Center on Wirt Road,” Radack said.
Lockwood, Andrews & Newman Inc. (LAN) Architecture has designed a 24,500-square-foot building to replace the damaged Bear Creek facility. The original Bear Creek Community Center was about 8,000 square feet.
Jeff Thomas, senior associate/facilities team leader at Lockwood, Andrews & Newman Inc., said the precinct was interested in prairie-style architecture for the center. Currently, the project is planned as a pre-engineered metal building with a brick wainscoting facade and a high open entry on the front. Estimated construction time is 9 to 12 months. The property will include a walking trail.
“We’ll detain the flood waters in the parking lot and won’t waste extra property,” added Thomas. “It will serve the needs of the community to provide a space to gather for voting and for all the activities a community has in those facilities.”
“I think it’s going to be a very needed facility,” said Radack. “It’s going to be very well-received.”
While construction could start in a few months, the new center will not be renamed Bear Creek. “It will have a new name,” said Radack.
No timeline exists for converting the former Bear Creek Center and Agriculture Extension Service office into a park pavilion within Bear Creek Park. The LAN Architecture website, https://lan-inc.com, talks of having “developed schematic design proposals to salvage the existing building structures and re-purpose the facility into a park pavilion with amenities.”
“We’re going to try to make use of that structure,” said Radack, who added “That’s not a big priority project.”