Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Pylon Debate

Please click on Comments at the end of this segment to read what people responded to this post. The little number indicates how many responses have been posted.

Pity the pylons, in their current state of dejected dilapidation. Encroaching vegetation has all but obscured the pylon at the entrance to Shady Run. Both need extensive reburbishment, but even if they were rebuilt, would they convey the image that Kings Forest wants to convey? What is our image, anyway?

According to one landscape architect, the village is trapped in a contemporary '70s look that has not been nurtured over the years, so rather than becoming charmingly retro, it's distressingly dowdy. The pylons contribute to the '70s look.

When this professional's assessment was shared at the board meeting, one member countered that it could have been motivated by the desire to get the redesign job.

Well, I suppose.

But there are too many others voicing similar complaints, and they're residents. So their opinions count...and they've been saying, among other things, "take down the pylons."

Kings Forest shares responsibility for the pylons with Kingwood Lakes. Howard Pitman reports that Kingwood Lakes does not want them, and will share the cost of removing them. One estimate for removal is approximately $3,000. for both.

But once we remove them, what do we do in their place? Here's where it gets complicated: Bob Rehak (board member) says that the City of Houston will not permit us to replace them. He recounted a nightmare experience and significant expense to construct the new entrance pylon to Kingwood on Northpark Drive.

But do we really need pylons? The Revitalization Committee -- and a number of residents who've emailed us -- seem to think not. The committee would like to consider alternatives, such as trimming back the rampant overgrowth and planting some low maintenance landscaping, or perhaps installing some kind of low-profile entrance treatment.

There's some confusion though, about what we can do. Addie Wiseman, City Councilwoman, described a program the City hosts, called "Adopt an Esplanade." She says we are able to draft a plan and present it to the City for approval. We can install a low profile feature and landscaping, and the City will provide water. We would need to assume responsibility for maintaining whatever we install. Since Howard and Bob are skeptical that this is a viable option, we need to explore this further.

OR, we could simply trim back the overgrowth and do nothing additional. This doesn't help anyone driving east on Kingwood Drive to find us without a quick glance at every break in the esplanade, but if we beef up signage at our entrances, that might suffice.

At the board meeting, the Revitalization Committee offered that the decision to remove them be considered separately from what we'll do in their place. If the residents vote to remove them, let's do so. We can work on a plan to develop the esplanades (or not) in context of the larger plan for the entrance treatments.

All these options need to be finalized and presented to our residents for a decision, since the Revitalization Committee, the board, and random attendees at board meetings can wear themselves out speculating without the facts. We'll send a survey to residents shortly asking them to vote.

So pity the unloved pylons, because regardless of how long this discussion wages, their days are limited.