Please vote for one of these official nominees in this, the second-to-last category of the 2010 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate. It’s for the Neighborhood of the Year.
You can vote for your favorite nominee any or all of 4 ways: in a comment beneath this post, in an email to Swamplot, from Twitter, or in a post on the wall of Swamplot’s Facebook page. Here are the official voting rules. If you want to start a campaign on Facebook or some online forum in support of your choice, go right ahead. Just make sure all the votes get in by 5 pm on Monday, December 27th.
Which Houston-area neighborhood deserves to be called Neighborhood of the Year? Here are the official nominees:
1. Montrose. “No other neighborhood comes close to the housing, culture, and amenities available in Montrose. Just wish it was more affordable.”
2. Westbury: “Spacious lots. Tree-lined streets. It’s close to everything — but still affordable. Lots of original owners still live there. The Westbury Community Garden, and the Willow Waterhole greenspace, where the Audubon Society conducts monthly bird surveys. An active garden club. The Westbury Pool is operated by city and had the highest number of adult water fitness participants in Houston this summer.”
3. Woodland Heights. “A small town within a town (the greater Heights), within a city (Houston). Woodland Heights’s greatest feature is the eclectic group of people who call it home, including: chicken ranchers, farmers, writers, beekeepers, gardeners, musicians, artists, political bloggers, community activists, chefs and biodiesel manufacturers. And these are just their hobbies! Woodland Heights is a front-porch community, living outside as well as in. We know our neighbors, socialize with each other, our kids attend the local elementary school and play at the local parks together, we sweep the leaves out of each others’ gutters, bring in each others’ trash cans and mail, keep an eye on our neighbors’ kids, watch movies together at the park, and together play host of the best Fourth of July and Christmas parties in the city.”
4. Houston Heights. “Really, what neighborhood this year has generated more resentment? When some Heights residents expressed opposition to the
Heights West End Washington Heights Walmart, it sparked accusations of class snobbery and NIMBYism, plus a snide comment or two from the city’s chief development officer. Supporters of new restrictions on historic-district developments complained about Heights builders and real-estate agents who tried to thwart the changes; but to the ordinance’s opponents, the new laws’ supporters in the Heights were threatening homeowners’ rights to control their own property. Still, the Heights’ White Linen Nights draws huge crowds on steamy summer nights — plus there’s the fun run, bike rally, home tours and monthly arts market. And everybody loves the Heights’ new hike-and-bike trails. Admit it, Houston: You love us. You really do.”
“Things have changed in the Heights. When people don’t have a lot of money, they tend to rely on other people for things like child care, help moving, fixing their cars, borrowing things, and organizing citizens’ watch programs. These things build relationships. When people do have a lot of money, they buy what they want and hire constables. West of Studemont used to be more neighborly, but since the invasion of the McMansions with their 6-ft. fences and alley-access garages, it’s changed. Many of the McMansion folks have little reason to set foot in their own front yards, and some of them have other homes where they spend weekends. The Heights has lost its community spirit, but gained fine dining.”
5. Brookesmith. “Brookesmith has the amenities of the Heights without Heights prices; surprisingly little crime; and its own Day of the Dead celebration. Plus: the farmers markets on Airline — and Teotihuacan.”
6. Lindale Park. “Moderately priced homes; a great neighborhood feel; wide, tree-lined streets; the fabulous Fourth of July parade, all those trick-or-treaters at Halloween; the bicycle ice-cream man; and our own Teotihuacan. A great picture of Houston’s diversity.“
7. Idylwood. “People who actually know their neighbors and look out for one another. A sense of community that welcomes a variety of cultures and backgrounds. Residents who have a passion for preserving their neighborhood and ensuring quality of life. A central park that provides a gathering place for both official and informal gatherings, for children to play, and for dogs to run. Affordable housing. Varied and eclectic offerings at nearby dining establishments. Beautiful historic homes with mature trees, varied wildlife and actual hills. Convenient access to all areas of Inner Loop Houston (no 20-minute treks through Heights traffic to reach home after exiting the freeway). As yuppie-vanilla culture invades the Heights and Montrose, Idylwood will only grow in popularity.”
9. Cinco Ranch. “Deserves this award for its efforts in stretching the outer reaches of ‘Katy’ further and further west — and doing it in style. Plus, there’s now a Lupe Tortilla nearby! Perfect after a day of beach-clubbing and lake sailing — unless, of course, you prefer the sorta-new La Madeleine.”
“Perfectly imperfect: Roads curved just enough to make it seem like you’re not driving in any direction in particular, but are rather wandering through a maze of pleasure. Or you’re on one of the 2 main drags, driving twice the speed limit with everyone else. Shopping convenience — if you need pizza, furniture, or tires. If you need a car wash or cellphone reception, just drive on out to the strip on Mason Rd., Cinco Ranch’s own version of Westheimer, complete with billboards, energetic signage, and American-made cars. All just 25 miles from Downtown Houston on the newly revamped I-10 or — for maybe $4.65 — the Westpark Tollway.”
10. Sherwood Oaks. “Close to CityCentre at Beltway 8 and I-10. Because it’s a little tucked-in, north of the freeway, and unknown, housing costs have stayed low. Everyone knows each other, and it’s very safe and quiet. Huge trees, well-maintained yards. Second-generation homeowners have been moving back ‘home.’”
11. Rice University. “Not the surrounding neighborhoods, but the campus itself. They’ve got historic (without having to petition the city for anything), they’ve got LEED-certified buildings (how many neighborhoods can say the same?), the pubs and neighbors get along, and the city isn’t tearing up any of the streets! What could be better than that?”
Time to make your choice! Which of these nominees should be crowned Neighborhood of the Year?
- How To Vote in the 2010 Swamplot Awards for Houston Real Estate [Swamplot]
- Swamplot Awards Ballots 2010 [Swamplot]
Photos: HAR (1410 Marshall St., 11407 Gaymoor Dr., 3212 Morrison St., 1224 Harvard St., 712 Northwood St., 203 Sue St., 6629 Sylvan Rd., 7919 Montglen Dr., 4707 Mesquite Meadow Ln., and 11307 Ash Creek Dr., all for sale); Wayfaring Travel Guide (Brochstein Pavilion)