4

Swedish Developer May 86 Lake Thicket and Its Wildlife

^
Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

In February, a Swedish development and construction company named Skanska snatched up the vacant ARCO building at 15375 Memorial Drive and some of the infrastructure surrounding Lake Thicket, which is home to armadillos, opossums and migratory birds such as Canadian geese.

"They told us that they were going to develop it for both high-rise office buildings and rental housing units," says Memorial Thicket subdivision resident and Save Lake Thicket coalition member Phil Richardson. "When we started talking with them before February, it was with the understanding that they would retain Lake Thicket as part of the development.

"In May, we started hearing that not only was it unlikely that they were going to keep the lake, but they were proceeding to get rid of all of the wildlife from the area, too," adds Richardson.

Even though lake conditions have deteriorated since ARCO abandoned its Energy Corridor digs in 2009, it's still not cool with area dwellers that the European firm, which has branches all over the States, keeps calling the body of water a "retention pond."

Since that's pretty much fighting words to people that love the lake, protests followed. As a result, Lake Thicket has been saved...for maybe just a few more months.

"There are no plans to drain the pond in the immediate future," writes Jessica Murray of Skanska. "We are still very much in the early phases of planning and will not make any determination on the pond until plans have been finalized."

Oooooh. She said the p-word. Twice.

In June or July, the old ARCO site will be leveled while a Lake Thicket game plan is determined. In the meantime, Richardson remains concerned about what could happen if the lake is drained and filled.

"There are wetlands around the lake that could be destroyed," he says. "Plus the lake holds a heck of a lot of water, especially when you have downpours like in [April] 2009. If they fill it in, that sink for rainwater is gone."

Richardson explains that the Memorial Thicket subdivision bit itself in the backside in 1987 when they traded ownership of the lake with ARCO in exchange for ten housing lots, which means that the new owners can do whatever they want.

"The agreement said that residents could continue using the lake," says Richardson. "It was a good deal until it expired after 15 years.

"Now we don't have direct control over it anymore. We should have made it 50 or 100 years. Now we're in this dilemma that we're trying to work through."


Follow Hair Balls News on Facebook and on Twitter @HairBallsNews.

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.

 

Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.