The Woodlands Township Board of Directors voted Thursday to reopen the township’s three community gardens on a limited scope, agreed to reduce the daily trips downtown Houston made by The Woodlands Express commuter bus service and approved a new, five-year contract to keep The Ironman Texas Triathlon in the township.
The board hosted its second virtual online board meeting Thursday, getting multiple reports on COVID-19 novel coronavirus issues and approving a series of items.
Community gardens reopened
Local community garden plot renters will regain access to their vegetable patches after a Thursday board action by The Woodlands that re-opens the three plots of land on a limited basis.
During the second virtual online meeting of The Woodlands Township Board of Directors, the seven-member board — which was meeting again via Zoom video conferencing — unanimously approved the re-opening of the three gardens in Wendtwoods Park and at the sports field complexes in Alden Bridge and at Bear Branch Sports Fields park. The locations had been off-limits to the 141 citizen farmers renting the plots as well as workers from the Interfaith of The Woodlands Veggie Village gardens.
Township President and General Manager Don Norrell said the community gardens are allowed to be used under the essential businesses defined in the county declaration of disaster and restrictions.
“We had heard from residents the areas had not been crowded,” Norrell said, noting the gardens are classified as food production. “With a little bit of oversight, we can allow the community gardens to continue.”
John Powers, assistant general manager for community services, said the gardens will be open for two separate two-hour periods daily twice a week. Each plot renter will be allowed access to one, two-hour shift a week. The community garden program is managed by staff in the environmental services department with assistance from the parks and recreation staff because all three gardens are in township parks.
Plot renters with an even number plot ID will have access to the gardens from 8-10 a.m. and again from 5-7 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday each week. Plot renters with an odd number plot ID will have access for the same hours but can only visit on Tuesday and Thursday.
The gardens, which are fenced in and locked, will have attendees on site to help ensure proper CDC social distancing guidelines are maintained, Powers added.
“What we are proposing is we change the operation to make sure we stagger the amount of folks in a facility and maintain social distancing,” Norrell said.
Township asks for more deputies at grocers
As the COVID-10 novel coronavirus pandemic continues and local grocery stores such as H-E-B, Walmart, Kroger and Whole Foods limit access and enforce social distancing, more people are going to the locations and waiting in line to get in or congregating outside before opening.
Township President and General Manager Don Norrell said the township had requested that the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office deploy additional deputies to patrol at six local grocery stores to enhance safety and do preventive policing to ward off potential criminals.
Two Walmart Super Center locations on State Highway 242 and FM 2978 will now have mounted patrols.The other four stores were not identified.