Creekside Park’s varying jurisdictions create challenges

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Creekside Park’s varying jurisdictions create challenges

Creekside Park continues to face unique issues as the outlier of The Woodlands’ nine villages. While all other villages are in Montgomery County and zoned to Conroe ISD, Creekside Park lies within Harris County Precinct 4, and students attend Tomball ISD schools.

“I think the biggest challenge is—because we are in Harris County—determining who does what and getting that out to the residents so they know,” said Nancy Becker, village association president for Creekside Park. “For example, if it’s a fire issue, it’s going to be The Woodlands Fire Department; if it’s a law enforcement issue, it’s going to be the Harris County Constable Precinct 4 office.”

Becker moved to Creekside Park from Cochran’s Crossing, where she lived for 17 years and served as village association president for 13 years. She said having the opportunity to work with officials in Montgomery and Harris counties has been beneficial, and communication is key when it comes to informing Creekside Park residents on which officials to turn to for help.

“We’ve worked hard with the township and with the other entities that are in The Woodlands proper to try to take away the stepchild persona that people want to put on Creekside Park,” Becker said.

Undeveloped land

The Village of Creekside Park is the last area of land within The Woodlands’ boundaries with undeveloped acreage.

According to Roger Galatas, former president and CEO of The Woodlands Operating Company, a large portion of Harris County which is now Creekside Park was included in founder George Mitchell’s original plan for The Woodlands. The George Strake Foundation donated another portion of the village’s acreage in the early ‘90s.

In total, Creekside Park is approximately 4,650 acres, and there are 564 acres left for development, said Tim Welbes, co-president of The Woodlands Development Company. With room for approximately 6,135 homes, nearly 3,600 families have moved to Creekside Park since the first home was built in 2007, according to the village association.

According to Welbes, 274 of the remaining 564 acres will be dedicated to the construction of more homes. Parks, pathways and drainage will account for 190 additional acres, and 100 acres will be reserved for commercial, investment, retail and business properties.

Creekside Park Village Green, which is laid out like a miniature version of Market Street, is a developing shopping center featuring a grassy central park area, restaurants and retail options for residents.  According to the development company, 11,585 square feet of retail space is available for lease in Creekside Park Village Green.

Jurisdictional challenges
Creekside Park’s varying jurisdictions create challenges

According to The Woodlands Township, Creekside Park residents can vote in The Woodlands Township elections and Harris County elections; however, they cannot vote on Montgomery County ballot items.

One issue Creekside Park residents are facing is the construction of a Wal-Mart in the unincorporated area of Harris County at Augusta Pines Drive and Kuykendahl Road, which is adjacent to The Woodlands.

“It doesn’t belong there,” Creekside Park resident Cindy Vratil said. “We already have three Krogers, two H-E-Bs and one Wal-Mart within 5 miles. That particular area is for the mom and pop-type stores, and Wal-Mart tends to put those out of business.”

The Woodlands residents were so frustrated by the new Wal-Mart store that a Facebook page called “Coalition for Responsible Development” emerged, through which residents came together and voiced their concerns. As a result, Wal-Mart has agreed to make the new store’s appearance less like a cookie-cutter store and more like Wal-Mart stores existing in The Woodlands.

“They have gone back to the drawing board,” Becker said. “They came up with a new prototype of the store…it does not look like your typical Wal-Mart.”

The new Wal-Mart will be part of a shopping center called Augusta Woods Village. An H-E-B grocery store is less than a mile away in the Creekside Park Village Green shopping center.

Another concern among residents regarding the construction of a new Wal-Mart store is its location across the street from Timber Creek Elementary. However, since the building will be in unincorporated Harris County and outside the boundaries of The Woodlands, residents cannot prevent the Wal-Mart store from being built.

“From what I’m seeing, Wal-Mart is really trying to be the best neighbor that a Wal-Mart can be in a community,” Becker said. “To that fact, I do want to commend all of our contacts within the township to go to bat for us for an issue that’s not even within the boundaries, per se, of The Woodlands.”

Creekside Park’s varying jurisdictions create challengesZoned to Tomball ISD

Unlike the rest of The Woodlands Township, Creekside Park is zoned to Tomball ISD instead of Conroe ISD.

There are three elementary schools in The Woodlands section of TISD, including Creekside Forest and Timber Creek elementary schools, which are kindergarten through sixth-grade campuses, and Creekview Elementary, which is a kindergarten through fifth-grade campus.

“We are bound by school district lines, not county lines, city limits, or [community]boundaries,” TISD Director of Communication Staci Stanfield said.

Students in Creekside Park are zoned to attend Tomball Junior High School and Tomball High School. However, by the fall of this year, Creekside Park Junior High School is slated to be open in The Woodlands portion of TISD, according to Stanfield. As it stands, there are no plans to build a high school in the area.

From Rob Fleming Park near the entrance of Creekside Park, students will travel
8.8 miles, or about 20 minutes to get to Tomball High School. The Woodlands High School is about 6.3 miles away, and College Park High School is about 7 miles away. Both CISD schools are approximately a 15-minute drive from Creekside Park. Additionally, Klein Oak High School in Klein ISD, is 4.5 miles away–about a 10-minute drive.

Despite these obstacles, Becker and Vratil both agree Creekside Park offers residents a lot of amenities.

“I really love my neighborhood,” Vratil said. “There’s always something fun going on.”

With access to Rob Fleming Park, Creekside YMCA, the George Mitchell Nature Preserve, Burroughs Park and Creekside Park Village Green, residents are never more than a few miles away from recreation and necessities.

“I have no regrets moving to Creekside Park,” Becker said. “We loved our house in Cochran’s Crossing, but I’m going to retire here. This is where I want to finish out my years because it’s just a wonderful place to be, and it just has so many amenities.”

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Beth Marshall
Born and raised in Montgomery County, Beth Marshall graduated from The University of Texas at San Antonio in 2015 with a bachelor's degree in communication and a minor in business. Originally hired as a reporter for The Woodlands edition in 2016, she became editor of the Sugar Land/Missouri City edition in October 2017.
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