Green makeover for East End

HOUSTON Much of east Houston is taken up by land used for industrial purposes. Their vision is to make that side of town more green and family friendly.

The organizers of a study looked to the residents and business owners of this East End community to help them map out the future of the neighborhood. It's a major facelift that many hope will spur economic growth to the likes of which the Second Ward has never experienced before.

Established in 1949, Medina's L&K Florist on Navigation Blvd. is a fixture in Houston's East End.

"We've all been born and raised here. Now I run the flower shop. My mom passed away four years ago," said Patricia Rangel.

As a business owner and resident in the shadow of downtown Houston, Rangel believes development is critical to the Second Ward's survival.

"We hear a lot of stuff that people are afraid to come this way. Why? We need to attract people here," said Rangel.

The Livable Centers Project takes the existing infrastructure in Second Ward and improves upon it. The hope is that doing so will attract new businesses.

"This is a unique neighborhood with many building blocks already in place and with some investment in the neighborhood it could really truly be a livable center," said Diane Schenke of the Greater East End Management District.

The master plan for the Second Ward includes everything from making the area more pedestrian friendly to enhanced lighting for security, to re-designing neighborhood parks that are more user friendly, as well as re-developing vacant and industrial tracts of land.

"Something that they want to see, the market, the Mercados," said Rangel.

While change can often times take some getting used to, Rangel said she supports the idea, calling it a win for everyone.

"Prosperity, I think so. I think all of us would prosper from this," said Rangel.

The greater east end district is working on securing funding. Federal stimulus money will cover much of the improvements. They will also be looking for funding from other sources.

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