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Meyerland


Meyerland is a 6,000-acre (9 sq mi) community in southwest Houston, Texas, outside of the 610 Loop and inside Beltway 8.

A notable feature of Meyerland is Meyerland Plaza, a large outdoor shopping center. Meyerland also is the center of Houston's Jewish community. Meyerland is the home of Houston's Jewish Community Center, Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Beth Yeshurun, and several smaller synagogues.

The neighborhood is named after the Meyer family, who bought and owned 6,000 acres (24 km²) of land in southwest Houston.

History

George Meyer developed 1,200 acres (5 km2) of former rice fields into the Meyerland subdivision in 1955. Richard Nixon was at the subdivision's ribbon-cutting ceremony.[1] Meyerland was one of the first deed-restricted communities in the City of Houston.[2]

On Memorial Day, May 30, 1961, the "Hero Tree" was dedicated as a living memorial to Capt. Gary L. Herod for his heroism. The tree and a stone marker are located near Meyerland Plaza shopping center on Beechnut Street.

In the mid to late 1980s families began moving into Meyerland and Bellaire. They began to tear down older homes and build new ones.[3] A string of over twelve robberies affected Meyerland from April 23, 1989 until June 19, 1989. On June 20, 1989 a suspect, Timothy Dion Morant, had been arrested, and confessed to the crime spree. The group of robbers targeted Meyerland since the houses had valuables, and the community was in proximity to the 610 Loop and other major thoroughfares, providing easy avenues for escape. Morant said that he committed half of the robberies, while his accomplices, many of whom were young men originating from the Hiram Clarke area, committed the other half.[4] Area residents used their funds to hire private patrols, causing crime rates to decrease. After families moved in, children who were caught speeding or with illegal substances told police that they were from Meyerland in an effort to get police to treat them more leniently. Stephen Klineberg, a Rice University sociology professor, stated that as Meyerland became wealthier, the class structure increasingly was "rigidified."[3]

In 2005 Jonathan Finkelman, a Meyerland teenager illegally selling hydrocodone to clients at Godwin Park, was shot dead by his clients. In 2006 Mimi Swartz of the Texas Monthly said that drugs were "plentiful" in Meyerland.[3]

Cityscape

Mimi Swartz of the Texas Monthly said that the houses around Godwin Park are "cozy ranch houses from the fifties and sixties in Tudor, colonial, and contemporary variations, comfortable but never showy, with gardens lovingly tended."[3]

Government

As of 2011 Meyerland is in Houston City Council District C.[5] In the first 1991 Mayor of Houston election most Meyerland voters voted for Bob Lanier.[6][7] During the 1997 Mayor of Houston election, about 29% of Meyerland voters voted for Lee P. Brown.[8]

Meyerland is in Texas's 7th congressional district.[9]

Culture

The Everlyn Rubenstein Jewish Community Center,[10] Congregation Beth Israel, Congregation Beth Yeshurun, and several small synagogues are in the area.[2] Mimi Swartz of the Texas Monthly said "the neighborhood was a place where Jews could take care of their own and, they believed, could protect their children from negative influences while teaching them to follow religious tradition and embrace the values of family, education, achievement, and community."[3] Every year the Jewish Book and Arts Fair is held in Meyerland.[10]

Education

Primary and secondary education

Public schools


The neighborhood is served by several Houston Independent School District schools.[11][12] The community has long been recognized for its exemplary and recognized magnet schools.[2]

The portion of the neighborhood north of the Brays Bayou is zoned to

Almost all of the neighborhood is zoned to Johnston Middle School, also located in Meyerland.[16][17] A small portion is zoned to Pershing Middle School.[12][18] All students who are zoned to Pershing, Johnston, or Long have the option to apply for the regular program at Pin Oak Middle School in the city of Bellaire. Therefore Pin Oak Middle School serves most of Meyerland.[19] One section of Meyerland is zoned to Fondren Middle School.[20]

Meyerland residents are zoned to Bellaire High School, which is also in the city of Bellaire.[21] Meyerland is immediately south of Bellaire.[22]

History of public schools

From the opening of the subdivision in 1955 until 1958, Meyerland residents attended Horn Elementary School in Bellaire. Bellaire High School opened in 1955. Lovett opened in September 1958. Johnston Junior High School opened in 1959. Kolter opened in 1960. Herod Elementary School opened in 1961.[1]

In December 1991, before Christmas, an HISD document was given to an attendance boundary committee convened by the district. The document, labeled as a "draft", illustrated Meyerland being moved into the attendance zone of Westbury High School. This caused panic in Meyerland as the community feared that moving to Westbury, which was less prestigious than Bellaire High, would cause a decrease in property values.[22] On May 21, 1992, the HISD board adopted attendance boundary committee recommendations stating that the Bellaire High attendance zone would not be altered.[23]

Bellaire High School was remodeled in the 1992-1993 period.[1] The current Herod Elementary building opened in mid-January 2011. The current Lovett building opened in August 2011. The rebuilds of Herod, Lovett, and Horn Elementary of Bellaire together had a cost of $49 million and were a part of a $1 billion bond program approved by HISD voters in 2007.[24]

Gallery of public schools

Private schools

Several private schools, including St. Thomas' Episcopal School, are in Meyerland. The Robert M. Beren Academy, Episcopal High School (Bellaire), Corpus Christi Catholic School, and Emery/Weiner School are near Meyerland.

Public libraries

The Houston Public Library operates the Meyer Neighborhood Library, which is near Meyerland.

Transportation

The Metropolitan Transit Authority of Harris County (METRO) operates public transportation.

Around 1988 METRO proposed having Beechnut Street widened. Residents of Meyerland, Maplewood, and Robindell appeared before the METRO board and protested the plans, stating that they would result in increased traffic. METRO dropped the plans.[25]

Police service

The neighborhood is within the [1]. The homeowners association maintains a contract with Harris County Precinct 5 Constable for improved local security.

Parks and recreation

Two city-operated parks are in Meyerland. Meyerland Park, located at 5151 Jason, is classified as a neighborhood park.[26]

Godwin Park, located at 5101 Rutherglen, is classified as a community park.[27] The Godwin Community Center, on the same lot, has an outdoor pavilion, a playground, and a lighted sports field.[28] The sports facilities include a baseball diamond, a soccer field, and a covered basketball court. Godwin Park, adjacent to Kolter Elementary, is about one city block large. Many mothers and children gather at the park on weekends. Mimi Swartz of the Texas Monthly said "[t]he grass is shorn and green, the playground equipment freshly painted and sturdy. The park is shaded by benevolent oaks that are about the same age as the homes that surround it[...]"[3]

In the early years of Meyerland's existence, eight garden clubs formed. Little league baseball was first organized in Meyerland in 1957, with games occurring at Meyerland Park. By 1958 the Meyerland Teen Club and the Meyerland Civic Club opened. On May 24, 1958, the Meyerland Club officially opened; families gathered at the club, which hosted a swim team. The club closed in 1996 and was sold to the Jewish Community Center, which redeveloped the facility into the Merfish Teen Center.[1]

Media

The [2] local section.

The

The Meyerland Journal is an alternative weekly political paper that covers the Meyerland and Bellaire regions.

References

  • McAdams, Donald R. Fighting to Save Our Urban Schools-- and Winning!: Lessons from Houston. Teachers College Press, 2000. ISBN 0807770353, 9780807770351.

Notes

External links

  • Official Meyerland Community Improvement Association website
  • Meyerland Plaza website

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