The planned bike path goes though the 0.85 acre AIDS MEMORIAL and GARDEN, first planted in 1986 on an abandoned railroad right of way. For the past 22 years, the garden was privately maintained. Many rare species from Mercer Arboretum were grown and tested in the garden. After 26 years the garden has reached full maturity.
The City of Houston took the land with improvements and existing gardens in 2008 by eminent domain. Although owned by the City, the City never objected to its being privately maintained.
Presently the garden is in peril by a non-bid contract with a developer. Federal funds for the development of the bicycle trail with matching 20% private fund are managed through the office of the Mayor without input from the Park Board or the public.
A pedestrian pathway, rather than a
10 ft wide dead end bicycle trail highway would allow the garden to remain a place for enjoyment, relaxation, and meditation.
The planned 0.25 mile bike way leading to a dead end, poses a security risk by creating an alleyway for criminals to access residents’ backyards. Children using the bike path would have to cross a major thoroughfare at S. MacGregor Way. The neighborhood schools and local churches agree that this location is a site of many accidents and the worst location for a crosswalk. The currently used safe TxDOT controlled cross walk is less than 150 feet away, at Ardmore St. and S. MacGregor Way.
In 2005, the community circled the wagons and successfully contested the construction of this useless 0.25 mile bike trail. Mayor Bill White agreed with the community and shelved the project. The plan was redrawn and the bike path was relocated to a residential street.
Without warning to the community, Mayor Annise Parker reversed that decision. Private sources are to fund the non-bid award to a developer, who opposed the S. MacGregor Civic Club in 2005. The Mayor's Sustainability Director is the project manager. The City provided false and misleading information in its application for Federal Funds. The Federal funds will reimburse the City $400,000 for construction costs upon the bike trail's completion.
There is no other such garden in this community. It provides a space for children to learn about bio systems, it encourages community gardens, it provides citizens with fruit from citrus orchards, it provides a space to respect, contemplate, and reflect on lost lives at the Victims of AIDS memorial. This is what the community needs rather than a useless bike trail with a crossing that puts lives at risk.
AIDS MEMORIAL AND GARDEN
HOUSTON, TEXAS 77021
GARDEN started in 1986
Taken by City of Houston 2008
Future is in peril 2013
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Our vision is to include Names, inscribed on commemoration bricks, for a plaza around the VICTIMS OF AIDS MONUMENT memorial.