November 2018  


   

State of Qatar Donates $2.5 Million To Restoration Of Riverside General Hospital As Part Of Its Commitment To Harvey Recovery

The State of Qatar has donated $2.5 million from its Qatar Harvey Fund to Harris County to assist in the county's Riverside Hospital Project, which will help restore badly needed medical and mental health care to the Third Ward community after Hurricane Harvey.
Harris County Judge Ed Emmett and Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, the Qatari ambassador to the United States, signed a letter of commitment during a ceremony at the Riverside Hospital site Oct. 17. They were joined by county Commissioner Rodney Ellis and Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee.
The $2.5 million gift is part of a larger $30 million gift from the State of Qatar to assist the long-term recovery of victims of Hurricane Harvey in Texas, which also includes gifts of $5 million to the Rebuild Texas fund and $2.5 million to the City of Houston. The Qatar Harvey Fund is similar to the Qatar Katrina Fund, which provided $100 million in grants for assistance in the wake of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
"The Qatar Harvey Fund is proud to partner with Harris County on the Riverside Hospital Project," said Al-Thani. "From its very beginning, the fund's goal has been to support long-term rebuilding efforts for families and communities most affected by Hurricane Harvey. This redevelopment and expansion will both restore a historic neighborhood institution and provide the Third Ward with much needed health services - a critical need for enduring recovery."
"The Qatar Harvey Fund is proud to partner with Harris County on the Riverside Hospital Project," said Al-Thani. "From its very beginning, the fund's goal has been to support long-term rebuilding efforts for families and communities most affected by Hurricane Harvey. This redevelopment and expansion will both restore a historic neighborhood institution and provide the Third Ward with much needed health services - a critical need for enduring recovery."
Riverside General Hospital opened in 1927 as "Houston Negro Hospital," the first nonprofit hospital for black patients and a workplace for black doctors who were not allowed to admit patients to the "black wards" of the area's other racially segregated hospitals. The site still boasts the Houston Negro Hospital Nursing School, the first of its kind for black nurses in Harris County. The hospital, which changed its name to Riverside General in 1961, closed in 2015 after significant financial and legal troubles. Harris County hopes to reopen the four-acre site as a full-service clinic with a strong behavioral health component by 2021.
"Hurricane Harvey damaged our region in incalculable ways, including our health care facilities," said Emmett. "This generous gift from our friends in Qatar will help restore some badly needed health care facilities to the area."
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Harris County Flood Control District And U.S. Army Corps Of Engineers
Sign Agreement For Resiliency Study Of Buffalo Bayou And Tributaries

The Harris County Flood Control District joined its federal partner, the Army Corps of Engineers, in signing a Feasibility Cost Sharing Agreement for a comprehensive study of the Addicks and Barker Reservoirs and surrounding watersheds. The $6 million study will include Buffalo Bayou and its tributaries, and USACE will serve as the lead agency.
The signing of the agreement marks the beginning of a three-year study period in which the Corps, with input from the Flood Control District, will evaluate and recommend projects and changes to improve the effectiveness of the reservoirs in reducing flood risks upstream and downstream. The public will be engaged at intervals throughout the study. Over the next year, the study team will focus on identifying and evaluating alternatives, and developing a recommended plan for more detailed analysis.
Although the reservoirs are owned, operated and maintained by the Corps, the Flood Control District is responsible for other infrastructure throughout Harris County, including tributaries upstream and receiving channels downstream of the reservoirs. The study will provide critical information for the Corps, Flood Control District and the public to help identify and minimize flood risks upstream and downstream of the reservoirs.
   
"The Flood Control District is excited to launch this long-awaited study and to continue its successful partnership with the Corps under this agreement," said Russ Poppe, Executive Director of the Flood Control District. "With the agreement signed as well as the team and funding in place, we are poised to move forward with the study and toward implementation."
The agreement for the $6 million, three-year study was approved by Harris County Commissioners Court on Oct. 9. Under the provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which was signed into law on Feb. 9, the study will be funded by the federal government. The agreement does not commit local funds to the study, but recognizes the Flood Control District as a working partner. Federal law also provides that projects identified by the study may be eligible for construction funding provided by the federal government.
"We are very excited to sign the agreement with the flood control district for the Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Resiliency Study," said Col. Lars Zetterstrom, commander, Galveston District Corps of Engineers. "While this study will be at full federal expense, we welcome partnering with the Harris County Flood Control District to enhance the study and ensure our alternatives proposed have the full participation and involvement of the district as the non-federal sponsor and other federal, state, county and local governmental and non-governmental partners."
ABOUT ADDICKS AND BARKER RESERVOIRS
The Addicks and Barker reservoirs were built in the 1940s as part of a federal project to reduce flooding risks along Buffalo Bayou, which runs west to east through downtown Houston. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed construction of Addicks Dam in 1948 and Barker Dam in 1945. USACE owns, operates and maintains the reservoirs, including leases or permits for some compatible recreational uses within the basins. Operation of the outlet facilities controls discharges from the reservoirs into Buffalo Bayou. Environmentally-sensitive areas and a wide range of wildlife habitats exist within the reservoir boundaries and along the upper tributary reaches that extend into the Katy Prairie.
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Harris County Precinct 4, Harris County Public Library Partner
to Reopen Baldwin Boettcher Library

   
Enrichment, education, refreshment and recreation. These are common goals of two very different institutions joining forces to provide an extraordinary experience for Harris County residents. Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle and the Harris County Public Library system are proud to announce plans to rebuild Baldwin Boettcher Library at Precinct 4's Mercer Botanic Gardens more than a year after the library closed due to Hurricane Harvey.
Baldwin Boettcher Library and Mercer Botanic Gardens will transform into one destination with shared resources and a new entrance spotlighting the library. Additionally, Precinct 4 will restore Mercer's Botanical Information Center, also damaged during Harvey, and open the facility to Baldwin Boettcher staff for library programs and classes.
"As Baldwin Boettcher Library and Mercer Botanic Gardens worked to recover from the devastation, we realized we could collaborate, instead of remaining separate, and integrate library services with the experience of the gardens to benefit the whole community," said Cagle.
Collaboration began in the summer of 2018 when Baldwin Boettcher Library hosted library services and programs, such as the Kids Café summer feeding program, at Mercer. Today, Baldwin Boettcher offers a full line up of adult and children's programming in the gardens.
Construction on the new Baldwin Boettcher Library and Mercer's Botanical Information Center could begin by the end of 2019. Until the new library opens, patrons can continue visiting the Little Blue Library at Mercer to check out and return books.
"We believe Baldwin Boettcher and Mercer will be stronger together," said Harris County Public Library Director Edward Melton. "We understand that we are both here to serve the public through the resources of the library and the beauty at Mercer. It is our privilege and desire to work together to serve the needs of the community."
Mercer Botanic Gardens is a Harris County Precinct 4 Parks facility located one mile north of FM 1960 at 22306 Aldine Westfield Road in Humble, 77338.
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