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What ever happend to Downtown's Cotswold District?


editor

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In the early years of this century, the city spent a bunch of money sprucing up several streets near Market Square, declaring them to be the "Cotswold District."  Central to the street "activation" was a number of large-scale public fountains, that were supposed to be followed up with a lot of streetscaping and pedestrian improvements.

The fountains were built, but it doesn't look like they were maintained.  20 years later, and they're a disaster.  They look like monuments from a past civilization.  Only one is working, and it's not working right.  It has water leaking out the side of it, and the plants that were planted at the top have apparently been relying on Mother Nature to take care of them, because clearly the city never did.

That seems to be a recurring theme with Houston's infrastructure: Build it new, but then don't maintain it and let it rot and make the city look bad until it gets torn down and replaced by something else.  A real shame, and an apparent waste of taxpayer money.

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The "fountain" on Prairie at Travis, on the north side of the Rice garage, is oftentimes used as a bathtub by the homeless.  These and the planter pylons ought to be removed.  They serve no purpose and create no benefits for those of us who live downtown.

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3 hours ago, ATH said:

The "fountain" on Prairie at Travis, on the north side of the Rice garage, is oftentimes used as a bathtub by the homeless.  These and the planter pylons ought to be removed.  They serve no purpose and create no benefits for those of us who live downtown.

That just sounds like scapegoating.  Homeless people take dumps on the sidewalk, should the city stop building sidewalks?

The fountain pylons were very nice when they were new.  I enjoyed seeing them all the time.  They could be fixed up, but the larger question in my mind is why all those tax dollars were allowed to rot in the first place.

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Editor, you hit the nail on the head. Everything this city does, apart from say a few local TIRZ, gets neglected with time.

The only good maintenance I've seen in this city is Uptown/Galleria area. Buffalo Bayou park to, can be said, have done a good job with the continuous floods. Waste of money to build and then let rot. That's why I always complain about the Dallas Street Retail improvement. Why? By the time any retail actually gets built there, all the improvements will be trashed. 

 

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I suppose the sidewalk paving has aged better than the fountains, and Preston Street still winds instead of going straight. Most of the east/west streets in the area now have diagonal parking with lots more trees and generally nice paving, although I would have chosen a darker shade of pink/red, more like what's on Main Street. The view down Preston to or from Minute Maid with all the sycamores (think that's what they are) is quite nice.

But yeah, the fountains aren't doing well, and I don't think the materials they used were seriously meant to last. May be worth just removing them? Or make them simpler and stronger, like the drinking fountains in Rome.

 

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The best way to see some change is to hit up the Downtown Management District. If they have enough money to hire workers to sweep and clean up downtown daily, then they can address this issue. This is similar to the fountains on Main Street Square or the lights on the 59 bridges. Why even build it if you're never going to use it? If a few of us send the district an email, we'll get some info on what the issue is. I think one of the problems is that some of the people in charge don't walk the streets how we do. They don't take the time to see what the issues really are. Then they give that job to someone else who lives in Katy to oversee what Downtown needs. At the end of the day we need to put pressure on the people in charge. Even if it annoys the hell out of them because it annoys the hell out of me seeing something just go to waste that could aesthetically benefit the city.

They have a form already set up so no need to email. 

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/contact/

Edited by j_cuevas713
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3 hours ago, j_cuevas713 said:

The best way to see some change is to hit up the Downtown Management District. If they have enough money to hire workers to sweep and clean up downtown daily, then they can address this issue. This is similar to the fountains on Main Street Square or the lights on the 59 bridges. Why even build it if you're never going to use it? If a few of us send the district an email, we'll get some info on what the issue is. I think one of the problems is that some of the people in charge don't walk the streets how we do. They don't take the time to see what the issues really are. Then they give that job to someone else who lives in Katy to oversee what Downtown needs. At the end of the day we need to put pressure on the people in charge. Even if it annoys the hell out of them because it annoys the hell out of me seeing something just go to waste that could aesthetically benefit the city.

They have a form already set up so no need to email. 

http://www.downtowndistrict.org/contact/

Add that water sculpture thing in front of GRB. That thing stopped working almost immediately. 

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On 11/7/2021 at 4:17 AM, editor said:

In the early years of this century, the city spent a bunch of money sprucing up several streets near Market Square, declaring them to be the "Cotswold District."  Central to the street "activation" was a number of large-scale public fountains, that were supposed to be followed up with a lot of streetscaping and pedestrian improvements.

The fountains were built, but it doesn't look like they were maintained.  20 years later, and they're a disaster.  They look like monuments from a past civilization.  Only one is working, and it's not working right.  It has water leaking out the side of it, and the plants that were planted at the top have apparently been relying on Mother Nature to take care of them, because clearly the city never did.

That seems to be a recurring theme with Houston's infrastructure: Build it new, but then don't maintain it and let it rot and make the city look bad until it gets torn down and replaced by something else.  A real shame, and an apparent waste of taxpayer money.

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Is this the one you said was leaking water out the side?  If so, that’s the design of the fountain.  Always had that “weeping wall” feature.

FWIW, most of the pylons were never fountains.  The one with the baseball crashing through the sidewalk also works, so we are up to at least three that are still working fine.

Sadly I believe it is true that some are turned off because they became baths/urinals for the homeless.  That   points to a failure to address the homeless issue (an issue that is not unique to Houston, by any means).

 

 

Edited by Houston19514
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