City may back private beautification efforts ahead of Super Bowl 51

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- Houston is just 28 months from hosting its third Super Bowl, and a proposed public-private partnership is looking for the Bayou City to put its best foot forward.

Houston City Council is likely to vote Wednesday to approve the creation of a new non-profit called the Stadium Park Redevelopment Authority. That Authority would seek private donations to beautify the area surrounding the site of the Super Bowl, N.R.G. Park.

A similar effort raised two and a half million dollars at led to the planting of 600 oak trees along Main Street prior to Houston's last Super Bowl in 2004.

This time, there are plans for additional landscaping, lighting, and signage throughout that part of the city, which borders the West Loop, Main Street, Kirby Drive, Buffalo Speedway and Old Spanish Trail.

"It's the gateway to the city," says Ed Wulfe, a local developer and likely chair of the the Authority. "We want businesses to buy into the need for improving the visual environment around the stadium."

The Authority would likely commission plans for the redevelopment based on how much money they're able to raise.

"The Super Bowl is the catalyst," says Susan Young, with the South Main Alliance, a group heavily involved in improving the aesthetics of the Main Street Corridor. "It's gives us this excitement and a deadline to beautify this wonderful part of the city. And it benefits the entire city."

If the Authority is successful in raising the funds needed for the beautification project, there is the possibility local businesses could petition the state legislature to morph the non-profit into a so-called Management District. That district would levy taxes on businesses used specifically for the upkeep and improvement of the area around N.R.G. Park.
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