As the greater west Houston area continues to grow, Perri D'Armond is soaking it up and said she looks forward to more in the future. D'Armond serves as president and CEO of the West Houston Association, which tackles transportation and mobility issues, development, local infrastructure projects, advocacy work and education.
D'Armond's background in policy as a legislative aide in Washington D.C. during her first job primed her for two decades of work in fast-growing communities. In the mid-1990s, she moved to Houston and began working for the Westchase Business Council and assisted in the creation of the Westchase Management District. She served as projects director for the district for several years, helping with its implementation from the ground up.
D'Armond then moved to the Greater Fort Bend Economic Development Council where she worked for more than 15 years. While at the EDC, D'Armond studied infrastructure, transportation and environmental issues to see what was needed as a county to make sure companies wanted to relocate in the area. D'Armond began working for the West Houston Association in late 2013.
What is your role as the West Houston Association president and CEO?
We have a very strong executive committee and board who are all very invested in what happens out here. Not only do they have their business interest out here, they live out here as well so it's important to them. I act as their spokesperson and facilitator. We manage the committees and move the process forward on their behalf. We are very lucky to be where we are and see the type of growth we've seen, and we are here to make sure it continues.
What factors continue to drive growth in the greater west Houston area?
Years ago when people first started leaving downtown and moving out to the suburbs, people used to think if you were outside [Loop 610] you might as well be in west Texas. But over the years the growth has just gone farther west. Next people thought Beltway 8 was the outer edge, but now you can clearly see the Grand Parkway is farther out and the question is what comes next? As you provide that infrastructure, you've got people looking for more land and space. People want a place where they can raise their families and provide them with the quality of life they had or better.
How do you expect the recently opened Segment E of the Grand Parkway will affect future development in the area?
You're opening up that whole corridor for a workforce and for new opportunities for employment bases. It will help tie in east and westbound roadways and make it easier for people to get around. You hear the term, "location, location, location," and a lot of the time location is about how easy it is to get somewhere. With this new roadway, you'll have easier access to move people and freight, and that in itself will help increase growth in the area.
Can you describe the organization's West Houston 2050 plan?
The idea behind the 2050 plan was that we need to start thinking ahead about where we're going, how we're going to get there and what we want it to look like when we get there. It's our vision of what we think the growth will look like. It is something to at least give people something to talk about and think about, and as times change and technology evolves, we have the chance to update it and bring reality back into it.
The greater west Houston area has seen the development of many master-planned communities in areas such as Cypress and Katy. Why do you think these are a popular choice with homebuyers?
If you have a young family, you're looking at school districts, park space, green space, swimming pools and other amenities that make life better and easier. With a master-planned community you don't necessarily have zoning, but you have a developer who spent the time and money to develop an area that will last and has been very well thought-out.
Greater west Houston population growth
The population in greater west Houston is expected to nearly double by 2050.
2000: 1 million
2010: 1.5 million
2020: 1.9 million
2030: 2.3 million
2040: 2.6 million
2050: 2.9 million