Sunday, November 11, 2012

Last weekend's arts festival at Butler Longhorn Museum

Having recently exhausted myself with municipal mayhem, I thought I'd counterbalance with someting a little bit more light (at least I try to end this post that way).

Did you happen to notice the bandit signs around League City last weekend?  They were advertising this arts festival at Butler Longhorn Museum
Let's take a closer look at that...
Classic example "bandit sign".  The legality of these things is questionable, especially because League City Parkway is technically a TxDOT roadway, and state law prohibits certain signs from being placed like this, but I don't know the specifics of what's allowed or not allowed.

Anyway, I'm not necessarily opposed to signs that are placed temporarily to convey information that may be in the public interest, which arguably this might have been.  I mean, it's not just another in an endless stream of snake oil salesmens' weight-loss advertisements. 
I'd really like to see more events along these lines come to League City so that it becomes more of a proverbial destination instead of a "place people drive through on their way to [spending their money] somewhere else".  It's actually been described that way in the press, but internet content shelf-life being what it is (i.e., gone in the blink of an eye in many cases), I haven't found any of the original URLs where it was stated that way. 

However, there certainly are some practical challenges involved with this lofty League-City-as-destination goal, specifically because we as a city are so lacking in basic infrastructure.
This is what Coryell Street looked like during that arts festival.  I had originally planned to attend, but upon seeing the traffic mess and lack of parking, I gave up on the idea - too much hassle.  I love, love, love art festivals of all kinds.  I routinely spend money on art, especially when the sale of it has a local conection of some kind.  But it defeats the point of the participation experience if there are road blocks (quasi-pun intended) standing between it and myself.  Seeing the mess on Coryell, I decided to wait for the next Bayou City Art Festival instead. 
And of course the problem with hosting an event of this type at Heritage Park is, not only can you not park there, you can't safely walk there either.  It's simply unpleasant and anxiety-provoking to have to share the road with motor vehicles, as this brave dog-walker is doing here on Wisconsin Avenue, about a block southwest of the Butler Longhorn Museum.

Obviously if there's no room to even walk here, there's no room for parking on the non-existent shoulder, either. 
Let me state the obvious once again here.  This will sound broken-record-ish for those of you who are regular readers of this blog, but we have new City Council members who were elected on what appears to be platforms of fiscal conservatism - but as the old saying rightfully goes, you have to spend money to make money, and League City needs to carefully spend money on infrastructure if it wants to realize real economic gains along the "destination" line.  So it's worth re-articulating this kind of thing. 

For the record, we should review the reasons why many recreation-seekers exit the freeway at FM 518 and drive straight through League City on their way to Kemah.  They do that because they can friggin' park in Kemah.  And then after they've parked, they can step out of their cars and actually walk around without fear of getting mowed down by motor vehicles. 

I have a young teenager who, along with her buddies, has not exhausted her delight for the boardwalk's attractions.  I drive down to Kemah more times than I care to admit, and although traffic routinely escalates into annoying outright grid-lock, I never have trouble accomodating our transit and parking needs.  The place was designed to serve people, in other words.

Heritage Park is a neat little park and a great place to take children of all ages.  I know this from experience because we used to live quite close to it before moving to Centerpointe.  It is most unfortunately situated in the shadow of a hulking sewage treatment plant which basically equals it in the size of its footprint...
The park is contained within the roughly square patch at photo right, the tract of land with the winding walking paths.  Those circular things to photo left are sewage clarifiers.  The rectangular things next to the circular things appear to be sewage aeration basins.  This is the Dallas Salmon Waste Water Treatment Plant, and in years past, it racked up an unacceptable number of odor complaints from nearby residents (if you'd like to see the extensive list, you can go to this site and enter Dallas Salmon in the Regulated Entity Name search box).  However, since about 2009, the frequency of formally-registered complaints has declined, and so the plant's operators may have finally gotten a handle on what it takes to run this facility with a greater degree of effectiveness.  Thus it may not be having as much of a deleterious impact on the Heritage Park visitation experience as it once did. 
So do visit Heritage Park when you get a chance - just be careful about trying to access it whenever there's a special event going on. 

And when you go, do make sure that you visit with the turtles!!  The turtles are our favorite part, and are most easily visited from the pavillion-slash-gazebo that is built on that little island in the park pond.  Got grandkids?  If so, this is the place to take them - and it won't cost you a dime!  Here are some candids of the turtles as they were when we stopped by to visit them about a month ago.
"Here I am!  Don't let all that clinging algae fool you!  I'm really a sharp fellow!  A rolling stone may gather no moss, but the same cannot be said for turtles!"
"Here I am, too!  Party's on!"
"And collectively, we would do just about anything for a little nibble of that granola bar you are carrying!"
And with that I say, happy park-ing, of a sort. 

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