Representatives of the Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County, elected officials, East End community business and civic leaders, and others turned out this morning for a ribbon cutting to commemorate just-installed Harrisburg Boulevard amenities including new sidewalks, and tree plantings as well as coming improvements like light rail, bike trails, and street lamps. Listen: MP3 RealPlayer
“This is a design that was created by the community and we are all delighted to get a vision of what our completed Harrisburg Boulevard will look like,” said Greater East End District President Diane Schenke, who welcomed the crowd to the event.
“It’s really nice to have sidewalks and good infrastructure and cooperation with the sponsors that you have up here,” said State Senator Mario Gallegos, noting other improvements to come. “Hopefully we can get the rail going and make the East End a little bit better; and I know the Dynamos are going to do that!”
“We love this community,” said State Representative Carol Alvarado. “Especially those of us like the Senator and myself who grew up in the East End.”
“It’s a tremendous day in the East End,” said Houston City Council Member Ed Gonzalez.
“We are excited for the community that’s really going to benefit from the changes.”
“Fifteen years ago this was gangs, drugs, graffiti,” said Bob Townley of C & R Auto, who has been in business on the East End for more than 40 years. “The transformation in this neighborhood is absolutely amazing.”
“METRO is extremely proud to be here today,” said METRO President and CEO George Greanias. “We have three jobs: to deliver great transit services, to build great transit infrastructure and to be a trusted community partner; and today is all about all three of those things.”
“The Greater East End Management District is rebuilding, reclaiming and revitalizing Harrisburg Boulevard, said Andrew Perez, chair of the district’s board of directors. “Because our efforts are motivated by our neighbors, this event is for all of you to share our vision of a revitalized East End.”
The Austin High School Band provided music for the event. The Austin High School Color Guard presented the colors; and the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag was led by Kipp Explore Academy. Students from Kipp Academy also participated in the planting of the final tree in the project. There was also dancing by students from the Ambassadors International Ballet Folklorico from Ripley House.