Earlier this week, I photographed the collapse of one of the two last townhome complexes in Forest Cove on Marina Drive. Today, I flew over the demolition site and photographed contractors removing the last of the debris and cleaning up the site.
The images also show the extent of buyouts in the area as well as the last remaining townhome complex opposite the Forest Cove pool. One down. One to go!
Photos Taken on 7/22/22
Compare the image below with the one above.
Harvey was the final insult to these townhomes. These and neighboring properties became uninhabitable because of flooding. 240,000 cubic feet per second made them structurally unsound.
Since Harvey, all the derelict buildings drew drug dealers, graffiti artists and illegal dumpers. Now, the area will revert to nature and become, once again, a haven for eagles and other wildlife that still roam this area.
One down. One to go.
No More Insurable Structures
Many people have asked about the long range plans for this area. Harris County Flood Control now owns the property. It will never be developed. Under the terms of the FEMA grant used to finance the buyouts, “no insurable structures” can ever be placed on this land again. That severely limits possibilities.
So What Comes Next?
However, the land could still be used for parks and trails. Beth Walters, a spokesperson for HCFCD confirmed this afternoon that Harris County and the Houston Parks Board have been in talks about this property. However, she was not aware of any decisions that have been made at this point. Creating something beautiful on this property will likely take fund raising, long-term budgeting, and the cooperation of multiple entities.
The Value of Park Land
In my humble opinion, a long linear park stretching from here to US 59 might be the highest and best use for this land. It would turn a negative into a positive. If a deal can be worked out, it would help restore nearby property values in Forest Cove. These derelict townhomes certainly did not help them.
Many studies point to an increase in home values near parks. This one suggests an 8% to 20% bump. I hope the community can come together around the idea of turning this area into a park.
Meanwhile…a couple miles downstream, developers are busy building even more condos and apartments…even closer to the river. And they say that one of the hallmarks of human intelligence is that we can learn from each other’s mistakesI
Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/22/2022
1788 Days since Hurricane Harvey