The Lake Houston Area Chamber of Commerce hosted the State of the County virtual luncheon June 23, at which Harris County Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle talked about infrastructure projects, the coronavirus pandemic and the Woodridge Village purchase.

"We've got some good stuff that's going on. We've got some bad stuff that's going on, and we have a few things that are a little ugly that we have to deal with and to get ourselves through," he said. "But I'm optimistic. We live in a county in a region with can-do people who rise when challenges are there."

Infrastructure on track

Although the coronavirus has slowed down various operations, Cagle said it has not slowed down Precinct 4 infrastructure projects, such as parks and road projects. Precinct 4 parks also have been busier than ever as residents take advantage of outdoor activities that respect social distancing standards, he said.

"Our parks have been flourishing in these days," Cagle said.

Edgewater Park, an incoming park south of Hamblen Road, is also on track, Cagle said. The 19-acre Phase 1 of the park is set to open in early 2021 and feature a detention basin, restrooms, a fish cleaning station, a boat launch and access to the Spring Creek Greenway, Community Impact Newspaper previously reported.

"There are a lot of exciting things going on in our region with regard to our continued investment in our infrastructure and the direction that we're going in," he said.

Coronavirus cases, mask orders

The number of coronavirus cases in Harris County spiked in the last week. Cagle told residents to be careful and make wise decisions when it comes to staying healthy amid the coronavirus pandemic.

"Use wisdom; be careful; be safe when you're out there," he said.

Cagle also talked about the mandatory mask order issued by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo to businesses June 19 that stated patrons and employees at Harris County businesses must wear masks beginning June 22.

"I'm supportive of businesses making healthy, safe decisions, and I'm a big fan of individuals making healthy, safe decisions," he said. "I don't know that I'm such a fan of having penalties and fines being imposed on folks, but that is not my call at this time."

Woodridge Village acquisition

Cagle also said the county is in the process of negotiating with Perry Homes for the Woodridge Village acquisition.

Woodridge Village is an in-progress development in Montgomery County that has been accused of causing flooding in Kingwood neighborhoods. Harris County officials have said they want to purchase the cleared land to turn it into a detention basin.

Harris County commissioners directed the Harris County Flood Control District in late April to begin negotiations and seek an interlocal agreement with the city of Houston, but an interlocal agreement has not been brought to commissioners or Houston City Council since.

However, Cagle said the flood control district and the city of Houston intend to meet this week to discuss conditions of the interlocal agreement.

Conditions of the agreement as laid out by commissioners in April include the city of Houston giving Harris County $7 million in land for flood-mitigation purposes and the city increasing its development guidelines to match the county's mitigation standards. Cagle said the county is also requesting that the city of Houston also partner on property development costs upon acquisition.

"We are optimistic that these are reasonable requests, and that the city would be able to work these out and that we will continue to have a willing seller who is wanting to sell at a very reasonable price to the county, and to the city and a joint partnership that benefits and helps everybody," he said.