New Montgomery County Precinct 4 Commissioner Matt Gray addressed a breakfast meeting of the Kingwood Executive Group today. Gray, who comes from the oil-and-gas industry, has a background in managing large maintenance/construction projects. Just six months into his new job, he has wasted no time in applying that expertise to Montgomery County.
The no-nonsense, get-it-done commissioner emphasized both service to constituents and action.
Balancing Development and Drainage
EPA research suggests that highly urbanized areas can increase stormwater runoff by 45% while reducing infiltration by 50%. And Matt Gray’s precinct is rapidly becoming urbanized. He began his talk with some alarming statistics about growth in his Precinct 4 which borders the Lake Houston Area.
Entergy, a worldwide power provider which also services Montgomery County, says the average growth rate for its network is 1.7%. But during the last three years, MoCo Precinct 4 has had an average growth rate between 5% and 7%.
All that development is happening upstream from the Lake Houston Area. Moreover, the rest of Montgomery County drains through Precinct 4. So, simultaneously managing growth and drainage have become two of Matt Gray’s key concerns.
Gray talked about working with engineers revising/updating the Montgomery County drainage criteria manual and subdivision rules. He affirmed the need for stormwater detention requirements that will protect not only his own residents but those downstream as well.
Another huge issue: siltation that affects both roadside ditches and local streams. Gray has mobilized crews to make sure water can drain efficiently.
Road Improvements, Evacuation Routes
Mindful that many people in both Harris and Montgomery Counties use his roads as evacuation routes, Gray also addressed at length road improvement projects in southeast Montgomery County.
He’s focusing on arterial improvements.
- Crews are already widening Ford Road.
- He’s working with TxDoT to improve access between Highway 99 and other major arteries.
- Northpark Drive widening and the construction of a Loop 494/Railroad overpass should begin any day now.
Such projects will improve key evacuation routes during storms as well as the everyday quality of life for residents and commerce for business owners.
Other Priorities, Wish List
Gray’s other priorities include:
- Cleanup and beautification
- Repaving/restriping roads
- Improving park maintenance
- Mosquito control
- Construction of a recycling center which would include the handling of old appliances
This presentation catalogs Gray’s impressive list of accomplishments during his first six months as well as his wish list for the future.
Importance of Working Together
An interesting side note that underscores the importance of working across the county line! The meeting room this morning flooded to the top of the photo above. It cost the Kingwood Country Club more than $50 million to renovate the facility after Harvey. The renovation took almost exactly two years.
The club was just one of 3,300 businesses in the Lake Houston Area that flooded in that storm, which also damaged 16,000 homes.
I’ve written several stories recently about cut-throat politicians pursuing self-interest. So, it’s refreshing to see someone in Gray’s position, willing to work across jurisdictional boundaries for the benefit of all. Good luck, Matt Gray.
Posted by Bob Rehak on 7/12/2023
2173 Days since Hurricane Harvey