Big Growth Big Growth

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Big Growth Big Growth Powered By Docstoc
					by STEPHANIE DONOVAN

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Big Ways the Cy-Fair Area Will Change in the Next 5 Years

Big Growth on the

Cypress Horizon
The Berry Center

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If you have lived in the Cy-Fair area for any length of time, one thing becomes undeniably obvious—blink and you may open your eyes to an entirely new landscape. But, if you already thought things were always changing, you are in for a surprise. Cypress is on the cusp of a major growth spurt, neighbors. And, you may not even recognize the area when it is all said and done!

Lots of New Neighbors

US 290 traffic is not a pretty sight during peak rush hours. Adding It is nearly impossible to talk about new neighborhoods in the Cymore neighborhoods means more commuters driving to and from Fair area without mentioning Bridgeland—the massive developwork each day. The Texas Department of Transportation has its ment going on near Hwy 290 on Fry Road. The community boasts wheels in motion to support expansion on US 290 from the Loop a final build out plan of 21,000 homes, which will add approxi610 interchange all the way to FM 2920 near Waller. mately 65,000 people to its network of subdivisions. Recently, the US 290 Program General Growth Properties, Team published its EnvironInc., who also developed The Home building has just begun in Bridgeland’s mental Impact Statement for the Master Planned Mega-Community Woodlands, has planned huge expansion, and they completed a waterways with nature trails, series of public hearings to edubike paths, recreation facilicate residents about proposed ties, nearby shopping, and tons changes and gain valuable input of other family amenities for from the communities affected Bridgeland. With only a few by the plan. sections under development, it According to Steve Hrncir, US is estimated that Bridgeland will 290 Program Deputy Program be completed in 2020. Manager, the statement and If the scale of Bridgeland is public hearings feedback help too large for your liking, Cy-Fair

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has other new neighborhood developments, including the 2,400 acre Towne Lake, near West and Barker Cypress roads. Developers describe this community as having “Hill Country flair” with its 350-acre lake and connecting waterways. Other popular subdivisions continue their development, including Blackhorse Ranch, Fairfield, Cypress Lakes, and Coles Crossing.

More Freeways and Construction

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US 290 has become a source of stress for many Cypress area commuters

developers “make a case with the Federal Highway Administration and around the state of how critical this funding is, compared to the other projects in the state.” If you missed the hearings, the overall project calls for the following changes to US 290: 	 Widening to five lanes in each direction from Loop 610 to FM 529. 	 Adding four lanes in each direction from FM 529 to the future Grand Parkway near the Fairfield and Bridgeland communities. 	 Adding three lanes in each direction from the Grand Parkway to FM 2920. 	 Converting Hempstead Highway to a four-lane, two-way tollroad from Loop 610 to the Grand Parkway, including two general purpose lanes on each side of the tollway. 	 Moving HOV traffic to the completed Hempstead tollroad, freeing room for a proposed light-rail line on US 290.

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mall dazzle with the The U.S. 290 program office Houston Premium Outlets bringing affordable 430,000 square foot Houswill complete the final enviand fun shopping to the Cy-Fair area soon ton Premium Outlets®. ronmental study by early 2008, Michele Rothstein, Senior and will await approval for the Vice President of Mar1.5 billion project. Hrncir says, keting at Chelsea Prop“we hear from a lot of people erty Group says Cypress and we know that the problem was ready for an outlet. needs an immediate issue. Now “Houston area residents we have to be able to get the and visitors love to shop, funding to get that done. One and we believe there is a of the reasons the (Hempstead) need for the type of outlet tollroad helps us is in that it centers we build and are creates a toll/bond plan and known for. Area residents that’s a way to get funding. who travel and have visited Whereas, the federal funds are our other centers have long harder to come by.” asked for us to come to the area.” If all goes as planned, the new Hempstead tollroad will be under The developer broke ground on the 75-acre outlet mall property construction by 2011 and should be completed by 2014. The first in March. Located just off of U.S. 290 between Mason Road and phase of expansion at the Loop 610/US 290 interchange would also Fairfield Drive, Houston Premium Outlets will include 120 stores begin in 2011 with two more phases to follow. featuring high quality designer and name brands. Developers esAnd, if you have already thrown your hands up at commuting timate the outlets will bring 800 to 1,000 jobs to the Cypress area, daily on the freeway, be sure to check out the new Metro Park & as well as projected millions of dollars in sales tax and real estate Ride facility at US 290 and Skinner Road. Construction on the 1500-space, four-level parking garage is complete the facility opens property tax revenue. To the east of the Houston Premium Outlets, Fairfield Towne in August. This $16.3 million development includes an exclusive Center, is being developed by the Simon Community/Lifestyle bus service road and platform and loading area. Center Division. This 800,000 square foot project will open Fall 2008 or Spring 2009. The two combined projects will create over A Shopper’s Paradise 1.2 million square feet of new retail space. In addition to the new Metro Park and Ride, NewQuest Properties is also developing the adjoining Cypress Market Place, which will More Schools and Students add 300 apartment units and 75,000 square feet of retail space to the Park and Ride facility—making it the only Park & Ride within If you thought your child’s schools were too crowded, relief is on a five-state area to also feature housing and retail stores. the way. Currently the third largest school district in the state, The Cypress-area retail boom will skyrocket in Spring 2008. CFISD includes 47 elementary schools, 15 middle schools, and 8 That’s when Chelsea Property Group will unveil its latest in outlet high schools with 2007 fall enrollment numbers predicted to reach just under 99,000 students. A 2004 bond election funded the addi-

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Hopper Middle School is one of three new Cy-Fair schools opening this fall

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tion of five new elementary schools, two middle schools, and two high schools to be built by 2010, three of which are near completion. A 70-member CFISD Bond Steering Committee (BSC) recently presented their recommendation for a 2007 bond election to the Board of Trusties totaling $806,836,474. This package proposes the construction of 13 new schools and one support facility; the purchase of 10 school sites; new bus purchases; maintenance and renovations of instructional and support facilities; and the new technology to replace older equipment and support district growth. The BSC, which included many community residents, reported an eye-opening projected district growth number of 116,573 students. Trustees will review the BSC bond recommendation and have said they will not make a decision before the next board meeting in mid-August.

Cy-Fair area residents can welcome the first of the 2004 bond issue schools this fall: Warner Elementary (Fry Road and Cypress N. Houston), McFee Elementary (Greenhouse Road, south of West Little York), and Hopper Middle School (Fry Road and Rustic Lake Lane).

A Place to Live, Work, and Pray
Church life will also be expanding as the Cypress landscape grows. A quick internet search pulls up nearly 50 churches in Cypress. However, that number does not include the many churches worshiping in area schools and private businesses throughout the area. Kathy Newman, CFISD Coordinator for Facilities Use, says there are currently nine churches worshiping at schools in the Cy-Fair district waiting for land purchases that will expand the room for their congregations. Reverend Justin Lindstrom is awaiting the finished construction of his church, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church on Fry Road. Rev. Lindstrom says when his denomination searched areas for areas of high growth and church interest, the Cy-Fair area was very high on the list. “The reality was when we took a look at the top three geographic areas (for a church), the Cy-Fair school district impressed us and the sheer growth of this area impressed us. It was a no-brainer that you could put a church up here and fill it so easily. There are tons of people out here that are just looking for a place to worship.” St. Aidan’s Episcopal currently worships at Arnold Elementary on Sunday mornings and has a peak crowd of about 150 people. Their new church facility will be able to hold 300 to 350 people

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when it is completed, and will be the first in a series of five phases of church construction over the next 15 years. Says Rev. Lindstrom, “we’re really trying to anticipate the growth so that when the new building comes on, we’re going to be going at lighting speed, I presume. And, we’re trying to anticipate that by getting staff and programs in place so that when the growth comes we’ll be ready.” Five big Cy-Fair areas where you can see huge changes in the horizon. So, gear up for growth, Cypress, because it is on its way and there’s just no stopping it now!
Stephanie Donovan is a freelance writer and the editor of Cy-Fair Magazine. She and her husband, James, have lived in Cypress with their two children, Ryan (8) and Natalie (3) for seven years.

US 290 Expansion Details
Those interested in learning more about the expansion plans for US 290, can check out the program office’s web site at www.my290.com, which includes a copy of the Environmental Impact Statement, maps of the proposed changes and other important details.

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posted:11/12/2008
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