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By MICHAEL KIMMELMAN

Published: December 17, 2006

HOUSTON

ON a strangely balmy late autumn afternoon, while the art world busied itself in Miami with beachfront reservations and limo drivers, Rick Lowe was, as he generally is, on Holman Street in southeast Houston

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He has another partner in Mr. Coleman, the state representative. Mr. Coleman is on the board of the Midtown Development Authority, which has been spending millions of dollars buying property to maintain low-density, affordable rental housing.

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Anyway, how has Coleman siphoned funds from the Midtown TIRZ?

He's on the board of the Midtown TIRZ and, instead of spending the TIRZ funds to improve Midtown, is using those funds to buy lots of land in 3rd Ward. Here's a prior HAIF discussion.

HCAD indicates that the TIRZ's land buying entity, Midtown Redevelopment Authority, has bought many vacant parcels of land in 3rd Ward. I've not gone through the entire list, but didn't see one rental. Is this land speculation and, if so, are they planning on flipping these parcels at some point and, if so, where will the profits go? Since he is saying that they want to keep low income, low density housing in 3rd Ward, then I'm guessing that they'll either buy rent houses or apartments with those profits, and become landlords, or build affordable housing with tax breaks or subsidies. Either way, Midtown wouldn't be the beneficiary.

According to their website, The Midtown TIRZ is authorized to provide, among other things, capital for public works and public improvements within its boundaries. The map on the website shows the TIRZ boundaries to end at 288/59.

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Isnt Midtown a part of Third Ward?

The Project Row House does a lot of good for the area. They have workers there that actually are on a friendly basis with some of the older residents in the area and an after school program for kids from single parent homes where the parents work until 5pm or so. The programs assist the kids with home work and provide a welcoming environment until thier parents are able to pick them up. I went to one of thier functions there and i have to say, i was impressed. ;););)

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Isnt Midtown a part of Third Ward?

The Project Row House does a lot of good for the area. They have workers there that actually are on a friendly basis with some of the older residents in the area and an after school program for kids from single parent homes where the parents work until 5pm or so. The programs assist the kids with home work and provide a welcoming environment until thier parents are able to pick them up. I went to one of thier functions there and i have to say, i was impressed. ;););)

Nowadays it's the land east of 288, south of Downtown, north of the Brays Bayou, and west of TX-Spur 5/Railroad Tracks.

Midtown is all west of 288.

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Historically, the Third Ward used to include the sections near the Museum District, Hermann Park, and the eastern sections of Midtown. Many will forget that 288 ripped that neighborhood apart just as the Pierce Elevated did to the 4th Ward.

Project Row Houses is truly one of the greatest things about Houston. If you want to see vision in action, GO CHECK IT OUT IN PERSON. It is amazing.

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Project Row Houses is truly one of the greatest things about Houston. If you want to see vision in action, GO CHECK IT OUT IN PERSON. It is amazing.

I have and i agree.

The artistic talents of some of the students there caught my eye as well a few months ago. Most impressed with the program. It is also my understanding that university kids volunteered to build some of those structures that are there. I think that is way cool B)

Im very close to giving them money, and for me to say that, its a big thing. I dont donate money easily, thats just how impressed i am with what they are doing and trying to do.

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  • 7 years later...

From Houston tomorrow enewsletter

Project Row Houses founder Rick Lowe awarded Genius Grant

$625,000 to support his work

Kevin McNally, Sep 18, 14.

Rick Lowe - artist, activist, and founder of Project Row Houses - has been honored as a recipient of The MacArthur Fellowship (often referred to as the “MacArthur Genius Grant”), which provides him with an unrestricted stipend of $625,000 paid over five years to further support his creative work in the arts and social activism fields. Lowe - who was also one of last year’s Houston Tomorrow Catalyst Awards recipients - is one of 21 fellows bestowed with the annual honor. More from CultureMap Houston:

The prize is awarded annually by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to residents of the United States who “show exceptional merit and promise for continued and enhanced creative work.”

“All of us at Project Row Houses are so proud and excited that Rick has received this prestigious recognition from the MacArthur Foundation,” Project Row Houses exectutive director Linda Shearer said in a statement. “It will enable him to continue to perform his work in local communities.

“Project Row Houses is now 20 years old and poised to embark on new initiatives into the future. We know he will continue to be a vibrant catalyst in transforming community through the power of art and look forward to his next steps.”

...

“Lowe continues to provide the guiding vision for PRH as he pursues his overarching goal of animating the assets of a place and the creativity of its people,” the MacArthur Fellows Program website notes. “He is not only bringing visibility and pride to the Third Ward by celebrating the beauty of its iconic shotgun houses; he is also changing the lives of many PRH program graduates and expanding the PRH campus to cover a six-block area in an effort to preserve the historic district’s character in the face of encroaching gentrification.”

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