Coalition to preserve historic brick streets makes inroads with city council member

Tuesday, December 23, 2014
Battle over bricks in Fourth Ward continues
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Some community members are trying to save a historic street near downtown Houston

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A coalition working to preserve some of the history in the Fourth Ward met with city leaders Monday night.

The Freedmen's Town Preservation Coalition says they want the city to rethink the plan they passed regarding a street and infrastructure project in the area now known as Midtown.

The coalition wants the brick streets of Andrews, Wilson and Robin to remain intact throughout the project.

The plan passed by City Council would lift the bricks up, the utilities would be upgraded, streets widened and bricks placed back down.

The Coalition says there is technology that would still allow the improvements to be made without pulling the bricks up. They also say the area has specific historical designation status that prevents the removal of the bricks to begin with.

Houston City Councilman Michael Kubosh says, "When this came before council, I asked the Mayor will those bricks be picked up and put back like they were? That's restoration not preservation. In talking to the group tonight I realized there's past historical designations we may be in violation of and that concerns me."

Gladys House worked more than 20 years ago on the application for the historical designation. She says, "The Mayor needs to rescind everything. Council members weren't given truthful information and we were not given the equal opportunity to make presentations before council members."

The coalition says the designation also makes them eligible for certain federal dollars the council may not have examined.