Members of the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce have begun an effort along the FM 529 corridor to improve the area and bring business owners together for a roundtable discussion June 24.
The chamber's community growth committee spent the morning of May 23 visiting with business owners and tenants along the roadway between Barker Cypress Road and Hwy. 6, discussing issues that affect the area.
The FM 529 corridor is not the first to be targeted for improvements by the chamber. Two years ago, the committee began a project along Jones Road to address similar issues. The idea for the project began following the closure of Target and Randalls stores along Jones Road, committee member Mark McShaffry said. The committee began by focusing on what could be done with the larger empty tenant spaces, which led to visiting smaller businesses.
"We have this theory that when a neighborhood starts to go down, big tenants leave first, and then the small tenants leave," McShaffry said. "When businesses start to close, people move. It's a downward cycle."
During the roundtable event, committee members hope to address strengths and challenges along FM 529 that also affect economic development in the area.
"If we have a few 'wins', that would be what we hope for," chamber President Leslie Martone said. "For me, it's making sure the conversation continues."
The improvement project also aims to address aesthetic challenges along FM 529 such as bandit signs and illegal dumping.
"People like to live and work and drive in a clean environment," McShaffry said.
Staff from Langham Creek High School, at Barker Cypress Road and FM 529, are involved with the project as well in an effort to get students from numerous service-oriented clubs on campus involved. LCHS assistant principal Gwen Hartsfield said the school supports a strong community because the area around the high school is reflective of the school community.
"If our school is a member of this project and talking about it, as our kids leave school and are driving and walking down the street, hopefully they will remember what it is about," she said. "The school is a hub of any community. When families are looking for a school, they're looking at safety, security, property values and what the school will do for their child. It's just a mindset that we take pride in our area and the communities that we live in."
The roundtable discussion begins at 8:30 a.m. June 24 at Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union, 16727 FM 529. The free event is open to all local business owners, nonprofits, neighborhood groups, homeowners associations and municipal utility districts in the area.