City Votes To Plant New Sunnyside Multi-Service Center Closer to Home, Steering Clear of Tired Brownfield

Houston City Council voted unanimously yesterday to purchase 2 vacant parcels of land — just under 8 acres total — off Reed Rd. in Sunnyside for a new community service center and health clinic, as well as an adjacent park. Unlike the more remote site the officials first proposed for the new service center — on city property next to a former landfill that’s still home below ground to 3.5 million tires — the Reed Rd. location has never been developed, is just down the street from the existing center at 9314 Cullen Blvd. (pictured at top), and is now privately-owned.

A garbage incinerator once located on the 299.5-acre landfill on Bellfort St. just east of 288 closed in 1974 after a report from the Environmental Protection Agency said it was letting off deadly levels of lead into the air. The city commissioned new soil tests last year and argued that the brownfield — shown above — was safe. But the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality says it’s still contaminated with metals, pesticides, solvents, and potentially toxic volatile organic compounds.

Here’s what the furnace — dubbed the Holmes Road Incinerator — looked like around the time the city shut it down:


City officials had been pushing for the center to be built adjacent to the landfill since 2016, but last month they announced they’d instead seek a different site, citing opposition from Sunnyside residents as a reason for the change.

The map below indicates the new location proposed for the facility and park on Reed Rd. as well as the spot where the existing Sunnyside Multi-Service Center and adjacent Sunnyside Health Center sit now on the corner of Cullen and Wilmington:

The 42-year-old service center houses senior programs, adult education classes, juvenile probation offices, parenting classes, nutrition programs, and other resources.

Photos: Swamplot inbox (Sunnyside Multi-Service Center); University of Illinois at Chicago (former Holmes Road Incinerator site); U.S. National Archives (Holmes Road Incinerator). Map: Mayor Sylvester Turner

Holmes Road Incinerator