There is a lot happening in and around The Woodlands as the new year churns into its second month. Here are some newsy tidbits from around the community in our weekly Woodlands News & Notes.
Arbor Day event sees big crowd
The Woodlands Township hosted its annual Arbor Day event on Saturday, Jan. 25, with hundreds of area residents descending on Northshore Park for free tree saplings and seedlings, educational seminars, fun, games and photographs with Puffy Pine Cone, the official mascot of The Woodlands Township. The event is hosted each January and provides more than a dozen different types of native tree saplings and seedlings for local residents to take home, plant, nurture and help grow into a vibrant part of the wooded landscape that The Woodlands is known for.
Drainage Task Force hears reports
The Woodlands Township Drainage Task Force hosted its first meeting of the new year on Tuesday, Jan. 28, and heard several reports on the ongoing San Jacinto River Watershed Study as well as the Spring Creek Reservoir Siting Study, two projects intended to better help local officials assess flooding in both Montgomery County and the region.
A representative from the Harris County Flood Control District — Feasibility Studies Project Manager Jing Chen — told the assembled crowd of task force members about the San Jacinto Watershed Study, which is the first study of its kind to focus on the entirety of the seven-county region that encompasses the watershed. Chen was assisted in her presentation by engineer Hector Olmos, who said the goal of the study was to do a very high level evaluation of the Spring Creek Watershed and identify possible sites for a reservoir and how much water it would need to hold to help mitigate flooding in a major rain event.
Olmos said that if there is a 100-year flooding event in the watershed, an estimated 4,500 structures would take on some level of water. He also said if a 500-year flood event occurred, an estimated 11,645 structures would suffer high water issues. Preliminary indications, Olmos added, show that at least a 100,000 acre-foot of capacity reservoir would be needed to merely limit a 100-year event to the level of a 10-year event.
In other news from the meeting, task force Chairman Bruce Rieser said he attended the inaugural meeting of the newly formed Montgomery County Drainage Council, created in late 2019 by county Judge Mark Keough to help develop flooding mitigation solutions. Rieser said the meeting was more of a “meet and greet” and noted no action was taken. Rieser also said he was not confident in this early stage of the new entity that it would have any impact on what The Woodlands task force is doing and he saw a need to continue with the local efforts through this year.
Directors OK pool schedule; fee discussion tabled
The end of the 2019 swimming pool season in The Woodlands was marked by controversy over alleged over-crowding at the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center in the Village of Creekside Park. After several meetings and public hearings on the issue, the township Board of Directors in early August 2019 approved a series of fee hikes for pools in the township, mainly targeting non-resident users.
During the summer of 2019 discussions, township Parks and Recreation Director Chris Nunes told directors at the time that he and department staff would be working on potential new policies and maybe further changes to the pool use fee structure for 2020. However, since the new fees were only in effect for roughly two weeks, Nunes said he and staff needed more time to analyze the rate hikes and proposed keeping the rates from August 2019 the same for 2020 and then revisting the issue in 2021.
Under the August 2019 fee changes, non-residents of The Woodlands will pay $20 per day Monday through Thursday and $30 per day on Friday through Sunday and all holidays to use the Rob Fleming Aquatic Center. The previous cost was only $10 for a non-resident to use the facility. The changes at Rob Fleming also affected residents, raising the day-use cost for residents on Friday through Sunday and holidays by $5 to a new price of $15.
Non-residents now pay more to use the township’s other 13 village pools, which are smaller and offer fewer amenities than Fleming. The non-resident day-use fee at village pools was increased from $6 to $12, while resident fees for those pools remains at $6 per day. The full-time pool season ends Sunday. Most township pools have a reduced schedule through mid-September before closing.
Directors said there was too much information in the more than 50-page staff report to act on during the Jan. 22 meeting and tabled the item for further discussion in February. The proposed 2020 swimming pool season schedule was OK’d, though, in a 6-0 vote.
MUD Election candidate filing closes Feb. 14
Interested candidates for seats on various municipal utility district boards of directors in The Woodlands have until Feb. 14 to file candidate application papers.
The MUD directors election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 2, 2020, with early voting beginning on April 20 and ending on April 28.
The following local MUDs are seeking candidates for board seats: The Woodlands MUD No. 1; The Woodlands Metro Center MUD; as well as Montgomery County MUDs Nos. 6, 7, 36, 39, 46, 47, 60 and 67. For more information, telephone Election Judge Sherry Pizzitola at 855-420-7283, ext. 6902.