It’s not that I’m opposed to the idea, which is a good one. And I made a few when I was younger in an attempt to improve things such as my eating habits and spending habits.
It’s just hard to make them stick, which many of you can understand, and sometimes we’re not ready to make major changes just because a calendar has flipped. So at one point a while back I stopped making them altogether.
But that’s just me personally. I also represent The Leader, and as we illustrated last week in our 65th anniversary edition, our lovable local newspaper is much bigger than one person. The efforts and enthusiasm of many – from publishers to editors to contributing writers to advertisers to readers like you – have made it a community commodity over a span of decades.
We resolve to keep that going in 2020 and beyond, and we want to make The Leader even better by expanding our digital footprint and feeding you more useful news and perspective both in print and online. Now that I’ve spent more than a year in the Northwest Houston community we cover, becoming more familiar with area residents and businesses as well as what’s important to them, I feel better equipped than ever to do that.
We already have some great stories in the works, and we’ll reveal more about that when the time comes. And we know that several important and interesting topics will reveal themselves throughout the next 12 months.
In the meantime, here are one editor’s expectations for what will happen in 2020 in the Heights, Oak Forest, Garden Oaks and other neighborhoods in Northwest Houston, in no particular order:
We will lose a community institution. The days are numbered for Doyle’s Restaurant, which opened in 1954, the same year as The Leader, and plans to close on Feb. 21, 2020, according to owner Peter Doyle.
The property on West 34th Street, where nearby residents have enjoyed solid sandwiches, delicious pasta dishes and brick-oven pizzas, likely will become an affordable housing complex.
Speaking of affordable housing, it’s a critical issue in a sought-after part of the city that is in close proximity to downtown and other job centers. That’s because our slice of Houston also is home to increasingly expensive land.
Area homeowners don’t want to be surrounded by apartment complexes, and understandably so, but this part of town must also be a place where restaurant workers, nurses and police officers can afford to live. Here’s guessing that city and community leaders will continue to work toward a compromise that will benefit everybody.
The push and pull is especially pronounced in the Heights, a historic neighborhood that is zipping its way into the future. Almost everyone wants to live there, but there’s less and less open land with each passing month.
As a result, the Heights will continue to build up instead of out. High-rises are sprouting up as we speak, and there’s also commercial development nearly everywhere you look.
The most intriguing developments in 2020 might be what happens on bustling White Oak Drive, where a Chicago-based parking garage company has scooped up lots of property and is in the process of developing it. Easy Park isn’t saying much publicly, but its master plan appears to include the construction of an automated parking garage on or near the former site of Fitzgerald’s.
Nearby homeowners hate the idea, of course, but we all know there’s a need for more parking on the street. It’ll be interesting to see that shakes out.
On the other hand, we won’t need as much parking if there aren’t as many cars and trucks on the roads. A growing number of people across the city, and especially in the Heights, are looking toward other modes of transportation in the midst of climate change and increased population density.
That sentiment will continue to grow in 2020 as more and more people choose bicycles over vehicles and METRO makes use of the $3.5 billion in bonds that Harris County voters gave it permission to borrow in November. The METRONext plan calls for more infrastructure for public transportation, including light rail, during the next 20 years.
It will be just as interesting, and no less important, to see what happens to our public schools during the upcoming year. The Houston ISD Board of Education will soon be replaced by a state-appointed board of managers after years of unacceptable academic performance at Wheatley High School and a Texas Education Agency investigation that found trustees violated the state’s open meeting laws as well as contract procurement rules.
Lots of Houstonians don’t like the idea of a governmental agency usurping the will of voters and stripping publicly elected officials of power, but it’s still going to happen after a federal judge recently dismissed HISD’s lawsuit seeking to prevent the takeover. The hunch here is that the state takeover will end up being a good thing for HISD and the families it serves.
Those are just a few of the key storylines to follow in the upcoming year. There’s no doubt there will be many more.
The Leader will be right there to report about it all, just like we have for years. And you don’t need a New Year’s resolution to know that.