HOUSTON – After a year-long back and forth with residents, the City of Houston is withdrawing plans to move the Sunnyside Multi-Service Center to the site of a former landfill.
Here's what you need to know about this on-going fight.
-- In January 2017, Sunnyside residents learned of the city's proposal to move the 40-year-old center to the site of a former landfill and incinerator. Many residents cited concerns about possible toxic conditions, but the city said soil tests came back clean.
-- In April 2017, Mayor Sylvester Turner held a town hall meeting packed with 200 residents largely against the move.
-- In February 2018, the mayor's office announced it was backing away from the former landfill site.
In a statement, the mayor's communications director, Alan Bernstein, said they are changing from a proposed Sunnyside Park area location to a new location for the following reasons:
• The Mayor listened to concerns of the community about keeping the facility near the existing location. The current location is considered the heart of the commercial area of Sunnyside and is a convenient location for many of the facility’s visitors. The new location remains near this central area of Cullen Blvd and Reed Road.
• The new location will also include room for a small community park in an area that is designated a “very high need” park area in the city's Park Master Plan.
The city said it is not announcing the exact location because the land has not been officially purchased.
While a move away from the landfill site would seem like a win, some residents remain concerned because they fear the new location will still be too far for the majority of seniors who use the current location on Cullen Boulevard.
"We don't know where. There's no transparency. The taxpayers should be the first to know decisions should be made in the neighborhood, not in city hall," said Sunnyside native and community activist Travis McGee.
Pressed for specifics, the mayor's office said the new location is near the neighboring South Union area.