Third Time is a Charm
From the first day I started working at the Chamber, not a meeting has gone by where someone does not raise the question of “What is being done to fix 1960?” While recently cleaning out the Chamber’s storage closet, we stumbled across old printed Chamber newsletters from the 1980s proclaiming the need to clean up litter, bandit signs, business signage and reduce crime along the FM 1960 corridor. Here we are, some thirty-plus years later, and although we have changed the name of the thoroughfare, planted landscaping down the middle of the street, held countless committee meetings, and volunteered hundreds of hours, we are still having the same conversation today about how to “Fix 1960.” Much has been attempted and many have invested countless hours to improve the aesthetic, functional and economic condition of northwest Houston’s main street. Yet, in many areas of the corridor the situation is more dire than it was thirty years ago.
Although there is much exasperation, and with some outright capitulation, the position of the Chamber is that for as long as the problem exists and is getting worse, to do nothing is not an option. Therefore, the Chamber convened a group of area stakeholders consisting of business owners, residents, and property owners, many who were actively involved in past initiatives, to discuss and devise a plan to bring systematic turnaround to Cypress Creek Parkway. The meeting was facilitated by long-time director of the Greenspoint District, Jack Drake, and area economic analyst, Steve Spillette, author of the still relevant 2010 study of FM 1960. While it has been discussed ad nauseum and there have been two prior failed attempts, the conversation directed back to the creation of a management district as a solution. Management districts provide a number of benefits, of which an organization like a chamber of commerce cannot perform. One, it has a very specific focus, two it provides a central location for residents to direct their concerns, and three, obviously is a dedicated source of funding.
There is an anecdote in the business world that it takes an entrepreneur three attempts at creating a business before it is successful. So, here we are again with the possibility of embarking for a third time on an effort to form a management district for Cypress Creek Parkway. And while the group was cautiously optimistic and desirous of effecting change, I think the difference between the previous attempts and now, is the expectations have changed. Many in the room have the seasoned benefit of past failures to garner the insight and understanding of the pitfalls, time, money and hard work it will take to get such an endeavor over the finish line. As long as the group is methodical, patient and persistent, this third time around might actually work.