By Christina Autry

Despite the unprecedented year that we’re experiencing, speaking with Five Corners Board Member George Anderson affirmed that the district is achieving its 2020 goals. Anderson is the Chair of the Five Corners District Economic Development Committee and longtime advocate for this community. During our discussion, he highlighted some of the key projects the committee is currently focusing on. 

How long have you been involved with the Five Corners community? 

I have lived in Houston for over 20 years now, in District K. I have always been intimately involved with programs in the community, from the South Houston Concerned Citizens Coalition, Fountain of Praise, and now the Five Corners board for the past couple years. I was excited to see the management district come to our area. This has been a great assignment, and I continue to work with many of the same people and community groups who have been here for years. I’m honored to serve in this role, and it has been a lot of fun. 

What are some of the projects the Economic Development Committee is working on? 

We want to grow and reach far beyond just working with the businesses in our district, and look at opportunities for bringing in additional resources. We are currently doing exploratory work with the Houston-Galveston Area Council regarding transportation and mobility, and finalizing partnerships & collaborations with other entities to leverage our funding, and make it go further. We have been looking at ways to improve transportation, and it turns out that HGAC has the same goal but with a much larger footprint. Over the last 3 months we’ve been engaging in many discussions, oftentimes via Zoom meetings. They’ve been a wonderful group to work with.

One of our initial discussions was a collaborative strategic plan with our Tri-Party partners. Our continued Tri-Party Agreement with TIRZ 9 & 25, which goes back to Council Member Larry Green, has allowed us to avoid duplications and stretch our resources. We have embarked upon strategically working on intersections within the district and in these TIRZ. The intersection project is well on its way. We’ve already contracted with engineers and designers and we’re putting the wheels in motion. 

Another partner that we have sought out is Commissioner Rodney Ellis in Harris County Precinct One. Ellis is doing a lot with paths and trails, and we’re looking to leverage our funding to work with him and further develop some of the walking trails and Bayou Greenways. We want to make the district more livable, and build our recreational resources, such as athletic fields. The Parks and Recreation Department has been a great partner on the Bayou Greenways project. They were one of the leaders in making that happen. 

We continue to work with our Council Member, Martha Castex-Tatum, and the City of Houston. She created the HOT Team, which has done a fantastic job of cleaning up the district. We are also partnering with Metro for maintenance around bus stops and facilities such as the Hiram Clarke Transit Center.

We’re in a high exploratory phase for finding funding sources for the Environmental and Urban Design Committee, and the Public Safety and Security Committee. Public-private partnerships have been phenomenal and have gone a long way with bringing resources to specific areas. 

Have you had to make changes due to Covid-19?

We believe in being responsive to the community, and dedicating resources to addressing Covid-19. The stay at home order slowed things down but business is still being done in 5C. We commissioned masks to be created and donated to the community. Volunteers sewed custom masks and gave them to seniors around the Five Corners area. We’re very well connected with the seniors in our community. Throughout the past five months, Five Corners staff has done a great job at making sure the community is aware of updates and resources such as the Paycheck Protection Program, or food distribution sites around the district. 

What is one thing we can look out for in the near future?

We have innovative projects in store, such as the artistic LED lighting at the entrances to our district coming down the pipeline soon. We’re in the process of working with an art group as well as the engineering team to create a real “wow” effect once the lights go up, marking the entrances to the Five Corners District. 

We are being very aggressive about making the district more livable. We already have a great district, and we consistently have a very low crime rate. We want to see new jobs become available in our neighborhoods, and our district to continue to develop and flourish.