On February 8, 2012, Commissioner David Stern announced that the 2013 NBA All-Star Game would be played at the Toyota Center, the home of our Houston Rockets. Fast-forward one year and it is as if the planners at METRO and the City of Houston did not get the memo.
We, as Houstonians, believe that our city has the best of the best to offer tourists and visitors when they touch down in the former SpaceCity. Well, something that we cannot offer to our guests is a seamless transportation system or clean and safe roads. It is more than embarrassing that with the world looking at us through a glass window, our city’s leadership cannot look at a calendar and prioritize to complete projects affecting downtown so as not to leave a huge eyesore for the media and visitors to witness. Now, I am not naive to think that all of the development and rail projects affecting downtown could be complete in a year, but I am experienced enough to know that we could have done a better job of building what we could, and then clear away the “mess” while we have out invited guests over for a mini-vacation.
I have expressed my displeasure with METRO and its never-ending expansion plan in the past, but let this be words of wisdom to the current Board and to the City leaders who have input on the development of the rail lines downtown. . . STOP GETTING IN OUR WAY! In 2006, we saw the emergence of Downtown Houston peak at the height of the NBA All-Star Game, and then shortly after we saw this same area collapse. Some argue that the collapse was because of the Midtown boom followed by the development of Washington Avenue, but it is too difficult for me to overlook one of the obvious reasons as to why Downtown failed and is continuing to show signs of regression. . . CONSTRUCTION! The Daytime Downtown crowd is overwhelmingly different than the Nighttime Downtown crowd, and when businesses in the Industry look to open up or remain open in Downtown, they have to consider the impact of the never-ending construction on their operation.
The tourism created by special events such as the All-Star Game gives Downtown businesses a chance to re-brand themselves or to make a catapult-type leap into good standing with potential new patrons and frequent visitors. Lets give support to our local businesses and give them a chance to succeed by cleaning up our streets prior to the worldwide display. Downtown Houston cannot afford another regression, so let’s push forward with progress, because that is what will develop our neighborhoods, our roads, our communities and in my eyes. . . COMMUNITY COMES FIRST!