Houston City Council approved a long-awaited expansion of the City Park Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone on Dec. 9, which neighborhood leaders have said is crucial for funding flood mitigation projects in the Timbergrove area.

The motion allowed the TIRZ, which sequesters property tax revenue growth within its boundaries, to annex an additional 593 acres of land.

This will bring in additional revenue for flood mitigation projects the neighborhood has been eyeing, said TIRZ Board Member Leigh Kilgore, who also serves as president of the Lazybrook/Timbergrove Super Neighborhood. However, new budget projections were not immediately available.

“The warehouse district is rapidly redeveloping, and we expect it to be completely rebuilt in the next 10 years,” Kilgore said. “[Local officials] agree that the current infrastructure is at capacity.”

The City Park TIRZ’s total project budget is $16 million, which pales in comparison to the $500 million project budget for the Memorial Heights TIRZ. A project budget for a TIRZ is developed based on projected property value growth over 20-30 years. Prior to annexing nearly 600 acres, the City Park had limited capacity to raise revenue, with just 92 acres of property as compared to Memorial Heights' 1,400 acres.

With the annexation, the lifespan of the TIRZ was extended through 2050. It was originally slated to expire in 2028.

The additional revenue will be used to “alleviate unsafe streets, deteriorated site conditions, and obsolete public facilities, and will encourage the sound growth of residential, retail, and commercial development,” per the annexation documents.

Houston Planning Department data shows that the Timbergrove neighborhood has seen significant redevelopment in recent years, as an influx of town homes, multifamily and mixed-use developments have replaced existing plots once dominated by warehouses and single-family homes.

Amid the development of the area, which is adjacent to the Heights, Kilgore and other residents have pointed to a need for updated drainage infrastructure. To advocate for improved drainage capacity, Kilgore began holding driving tours of the neighborhood, in which she brought along local elected officials to point out overgrown drainage ditches and areas that frequently flood.

“We have heard her, we have ridden with her, we have toured with her, and she has championed the inclusion of this area in the TIRZ,” Mayor Sylvester Turner said of Kilgore’s efforts.

Among other improvements, a 1966 drainage study of the area proposed a new drainage line along West 12th Street that Harris County Flood Control District maps indicate was never installed.