District & TIRZ Projects Underway
The days of the old Sharpstown Area are beginning to draw to a close. New infrastructure and beautification projects that will transform the District are either underway or will start shortly, thanks to funding by the Southwest Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone (TIRZ #20) and the Southwest Management District.
Houston City Council created TIRZ #20 in 1999, which is the base year for ad valorem tax increments. The zone encompasses over 40% of the land area of the Greater Sharpstown Distict plus portions of the International District and Westchase District west of Beltway 8.
TIRZ funded projects will relieve traffic congestion, increase drainage capacities and beautify the esplanades and right of way along Bellaire Blvd. between Mary Bates Street (between Fondren and Gessner) and Beltway 8. A new westbound lane will be added to Bellaire Blvd. Total cost for the project is $22.7 million. Engineering for drainage and mobility improvments costing $2.5 million has already been completed. Houston Public Works is expected to advertise for bids in July and award a contract for construction in August. On this basis, actual construction could start as early as September, 2011. Construction is being funded by 7.5 million in cash, accumulated from tax increments over ten years, and $12.7 million in bonds which have already been underwritten.
Another TIRZ funded project – drainage and mobility improvements along Fondren between Westpark Toll Road and US 59 – is also being planned. An engineering contract on this project in the amount of $0.7 million has already been approved. Total construction costs are estimated to be $12.0 million.