Major plans approved for the City of Houston - FOX 26 News | MyFoxHouston

Major plans approved for the City of Houston

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Washington Avenue is the latest hot spot in Houston. During the weekends, the lanes are jammed with people bumper to bumper.

That's why Qyen Diep, manager of Star Pizza in the intersection of Harvard Street and Washington Street, is disturbed by a proposal recently approved by Houston City Council.

It creates the parking benefit district in the Washington Avenue corridor. That means permits to park in residential areas and 350 parking meters on the main thoroughfare.

"Having the parking meters would reduce it one more lane. I'm afraid people are not going to pay for parking and park in our lot when we need it the most," says Diep.

City leaders say there is a need for the parking district to deal with overcrowding on Washington Avenue. The effort will also generate a lot of money for that community.

Mayor Annise Parker says how the money is used from the parking district will be decided by that community. The choices vary from more police presence to a parking garage.

"There are some who would like to see it used to create shuttle service," says Mayor Parker.

The other big news out of city hall was a big building. City officials approved the construction of another convention center hotel with a price tag of $324 million, of which the city will foot $138 million of that.

The 1,000 room Marriott Marquis will also have a lazy river on top on the building and is scheduled to open in 2016. It will be located near the George R. Brown Convention Center and a stone's throw away from the Hilton Hotel near Discovery Green.

Mayor Parker says it puts Houston on par with other major cities when it comes to hotel rooms.

"A lot of jobs are gonna come from construction and it will make us competitive as a convention destination," says Mayor Parker.

And then there was the tax increment reinvestment zone also created by the city council on Wednesday. City Controller Ronald Green says it was a request from Harris County Commissioner El Franco Lee to spur economic growth in areas stretching from Reliant Park to downtown Houston.

City leaders believe the old lingering Astrodome may be able to take advantage of the TIRZ for a possible future.

Commissioner Lee says a TIRZ could take the burden of dealing with the Astrodome off the backs of taxpayers. Green says ultimately the taxpayers will see the immediate impact with expanded economic development.

"You've seen Midtown. Midtown has been one of the most successful TIRZ that still has some capacity. Well, you have lots of barren wasteland," says Green.

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