Best Event That No One Thought Would Ever Happen (2000)
Opening of the Historic Oaks of Allen Parkway
For almost 20 years Allen Parkway Village, the sprawling 963-unit public-housing project just east of downtown, was at the heart of a class war that pitted a small band of tenants and affordable-housing advocates against the Housing Authority of the City of Houston, or HACH, which wanted to bulldoze the complex and sell the land to private developers. Negotiations eventually reached the office of Henry Cisneros, then-secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, who in 1996 signed an agreement that permitted the demolition of 677 units, with the stipulation that the site continue to be used for low-income housing. HACH was awarded $30 million in federal funds to rehabilitate 280 existing units at APV and construct 220 new apartments. Last November the first batch of new tenants, 156 low-income senior citizens, began moving into the renamed Historic Oaks of Allen Parkway. According to HACH, the complex should be filled by the end of the year, bringing an official end to the longest-running and, at times, nastiest public-policy debate in the city's history.