Only a year ago, the property at 8015 Spencer Hwy. was a place known for being a bastion of drugs and sex offenders.
A little more than a year after Deer Park City Council approved the rezoning of the property and Savannah Oaks Apartments were razed, 8015 Spencer Hwy. has a new look and a safer environment.
Starbucks recently opened on the property, with a Jimmy Johns, SmashBurger and other popular chains set to open soon and breathe new life into a once dark hole in Deer Park.
Deer Park Police Chief Greg Grigg said the small complex was the city's most concentrated area for crime.
"Drugs. Aggravated Assaults. Felony-type thefts. Suspicious people coming in and going all the time. Disturbances. People running in there from thefts. It was all there in that little complex," said Grigg. "We had nine total sex offenders living on that property."
"It was a place that was allowed to become dilapidated. Once the criminal element starts moving in, people who can leave start moving out. That allows more of the criminal element to move in," he said. "Unfortunately, there are residents who lived there who were not a part of this and could not move out away from the crime."
City officials and community members celebrated the grand reopening of the Battleground at Deer Park Golf Course Tuesday evening. The event took place a little more than a year after the city of Deer Park came to a leasing agreement on the course with Touchstone Golf.
Mike Shoelen, general manager of the course, said the celebration was the highlight of a remodeling effort inside the clubhouse that will be inviting for both golfers and non-golfers.
The interior of the banquet room and restaurant features bright new carpeting, chairs, as well as a revamped restaurant area complete with a full bar.
Prior to the regular business of the meeting, the Board heard from parent Brent Ewald who expressed his concerns over a summertime reading assignment for his seventh grade student.
Ewald said his student is in the gifted and talented language arts program, but did not name the campus. His concern that the book titled "The Book Thief" contained language that he deemed too offensive and go against his morals.
"The Book Thief" is a book set in World War II Nazi Germany, telling the story of a young girl and the plight of her family during that war-torn time.
Ewald said he contacted the teacher, whom he did not name, and said the teacher immediately responded by providing alternate reading material.
Recently, Shell Deer Park partnered with Texas Parks and Wildlife to take on a special volunteer project to plant approximately 300 native trees across five acres at the San Jacinto Battleground State Historic Site.
Sponsored by the Shell's HSSE department, the outdoor project drew 50 volunteers to the site where the epic 1836 Battle of San Jacinto took place between the Texan and Mexican armies. The newly planted trees will not only contribute to habitat improvement but will also help beautify the landscape for the many visitors who travel to the local state park every year. It's also part of a larger initiative to transform the surrounding land to its 19th century appearance, according to Andy Sipocz, Natural Resources Coordinator with the Park.
The community service project was made possible through collaboration between Shell Deer Park, Apache Corporation and several site contractors who provided valuable services and equipment to facilitate the volunteer work.
Volunteers planted live oak, cedar elm and loblolly pine saplings donated by Apache Corporation. Turner Industries provided an auger to dig the holes and staged the trees and United Rentals supplied hand washing stations and amenities to enhance the safety of the experience.
Drawing a metaphor from history about the significance of this storied area, Marcus Dominguez with the Shell Deer Park's Security Department and the event's organizer, said, "Today, we're out here focusing on another 'Must Win' – our People... and we're giving everyone out here an opportunity to change the face of this landscape just like those guys a 178 years ago changed the face of Texas."
The airman completed an intensive, eight-week program that included training in military discipline and studies, Air Force core values, physical fitness, and basic warfare principles and skills.
Airmen who complete basic training earn four credits toward an associate in applied science degree through the Community College of the Air Force.
Lopez is the son of Donna M. Lopez of Pearland and Rene Z. Lopez of Pasadena and is a 2010 graduate of Deer Park High School.
10:46 a.m. Possession of marijuana, 500 Wisdom Dr.
2 p.m. Driving while license invalid, 3400 Luella Ave.
5:56 p.m. Theft, 2600 Center St.
8:17 p.m. Possession of drug paraphernalia, 1300 W. San Augustine St.
10:29 a.m. Possession of a substance in Penalty Group 1, 1700 Center St.
6:49 p.m. Assault causes bodily injury-family violence, 900 E. San Augustine St.
11:44 p.m. Driving while license invalid, 4500 Glenwood Ave.