CITY OF KATY (Covering Katy News) - How Katy manages its growth remains an ongoing question for Katy city leaders. Adding green space is one way of doing it.
On Monday, the city council voted to authorize the purchase of approximately 1.16 acres of land at 907 Avenue D, which sits across the street from City Hall. The amount authorized is $595,000. The land is expected to be used for green space. Plans for its development into a park are still being developed.
“It hasn’t been decided officially,” Mayor Pro Tem Chris Harris said. “The city administrator (Byron Hebert) plans to develop a land-use plan for downtown as we complete the downtown development project. We’re open to connecting the renovated square, city hall, this new space, and Thomas Park.”
Harris said another potential use for the land would be for walking trails near Cane Island Creek.
“There are a lot of options,” Harris said. “It will be used for additional park space.”
The land sits next to Thomas Park, 5919 4th St., where a small tri-county monument indicates where Fort Bend, Harris, and Waller counties meet. Thomas Park is named in honor of Oliver Thomas, one of Katy’s founding fathers.
“It has beautiful trees, beautiful green space,” Harris said. “Many mayors have discussed this (purchasing the land for city use) and we got it done. I’m pretty proud of that.”
Purchasing land for green space, along with rejecting an application for a planned development district presented at Monday’s council meeting, seemingly goes against the pro-business decisions taken by the council in recent years. Harris said Wednesday that the council remains pro-business.
“In my opinion, we’re definitely pro-growth, pro-business, but must be resident-focused,” Harris said, adding that residents have asked for more green space and park space. Council members discussed it at their annual council retreat last summer. Harris said that the city’s purchasing the land is implementation of that feedback.
Harris said that on the proposed planned development district, it seemed that residents did not want to see commercialization of Morton Road.
“They like the small-town feel,” Harris said. “Residents told me they want their neighborhoods to be protected, to be quiet. That’s the overriding factor on this. I don’t know what will be presented in the future, but I can see us responding to resident needs and concerns. The council is resident-focused, and I am. That’s our overarching goal.”
Harris said that purchasing the land is a historic moment for Katy because it’s something that will be useful forever.
“Many leaders in the city thought it was an important piece of property, and we made it happen,” Harris said. “It’s a beautiful piece of property.”