Older neighborhoods set sights  on making community upgrades Renovations are ongoing to Steeplechase's parks, which were built more than 30 years ago.[/caption]

Older neighborhoods in Cy-Fair are working to stay competitive in the local real estate market by upgrading older parks, renovating amenities and adding new ones.

In Steeplechase, the Steeplechase Community Improvement Association has joined with Harris County MUD No. 168 to renovate three of the community’s parks, and the improvement association is looking at other upgrades, such as monument replacements and recoating tennis courts.

Pam Bailey, owner of Chaparral Management, which manages Steeplechase, said these older communities put in the extra effort to maintain high property values as they age and newer neighborhoods continue to grow in other parts of Cy-Fair.

“Everything is about property values, so it’s about maintaining the integrity of the community,” she said.

Nace Peard, a director for Harris County MUD No. 168, said reconditioning the parks is a necessary step to ensure the community still appeals to buyers. The parks will receive new equipment to replace old and outdated amenities, replacement wood chips for the playground’s flooring, and the overall aesthetic will be changed to a more natural look with lower-maintenance and durable equipment, he said.

“With our neighborhood trying to compete with others like Bridgeland, we have to keep it as tip-top and as inviting as we can to try and court people who are going to look at places like Bridgeland,” Peard said. “We have to ask ourselves, ‘How are you going to get them to look at Steeplechase?’”

Older communities do have the appeal of larger lot sizes and less “cookie-cutter” homes on their side, said Katy Walston, associate broker with Keller Williams Realty Greater Northwest Houston.

“When you run out of space at these older communities [you can’t build more], but redoing things and adding pocket parks and keeping the grounds nice keeps the character,” she said.

And in Lakewood Forest, the homeowners association does just that by focusing on attention to detail on the existing monuments and landscaping, Lakewood HOA President Paul Marshall said. For example the community’s exterior wall is showing its age in various sections. To address the situation, the association has gone in and planted ivy over the less attractive sites before starting a multiphase painting project.

“As we have more residents coming in we have to be very vigilant they understand they need to maintain the appearance of their home, and that the guidelines were established for the neighborhood that best suits everyone,” Marshall said.