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NEWS

PHOTO: CRYSTAL SIMMONS

Precinct 4 to Open New NW Harris County Park Theatre Under The Stars Raises Nearly $700,000 with its One Night Only Gala The Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) One Night Only 2017 Gala, which honored Margaret Alkek Williams for her many contributions to the arts community in Houston, was held on Saturday night at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Becky and Bart McAndrews and Paul-David Van Atta chaired the event. The evening raised nearly $700,000! All proceeds from the evening benefit the TUTS Education and Community Outreach Programs. Guests of the gala were transported back to the 1960s as they enjoyed cocktails and dinner inside Sarofim Hall. The stage shimmered in purple and gold, and was filled with flowers, candles and a center table with a mirrored top where the guest of honor was seated. The decor for the evening was created by The Perfect Touch. Entertainment for the evening featured performances by stars from the cast of the upcoming Theatre Under The Stars production of DREAMGIRLS -- Phoenix Best, Ta’Nika Gibson, Zonya Love, Kerissa Arrington, Thomas Hobson, and Wonza Johnson. This year TUTS extended the fun with its first after party -- the Grand Finale - a throwback to the heyday of the 70s club scene complete with disco balls, a roller skating raffle, and disco hits of the 70s and 80s played by the Richard Brown Orchestra. David Peck and Hector Villareal served as chairs for the Grand Finale.

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MARCH 29 - APRIL 18, 2017

Precinct 4 is bringing another community closer to nature with the opening of the Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve. People of all ages can canoe the waters of a serene lake, stroll underneath a canopy of trees, or take a rest while observing countless wildlife. In the TUTS One Night Only gala and peaceful setting of this new greenspace, resiGrand Finale after party was support- dents can relax, unwind, and appreciate the ed by longtime partners who provided sights and sounds of nature. The park spans items for the evening’s festivities 80 acres and features the 40-acre Marshall including Zadok Jewelers, Elaine Lake with a 1.7-mile paved trail that circles Turner, Kendra Scott, Van Cleef & the water. Arpels, Gillman Automotive Group, West U Travel and Katz Coffee. The Precinct 4 celebrates the grand opening of event was catered by Culinaire. its newest park with the public on Saturday, April 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. During the The evening’s festivities were attended event, visitors can explore the lake by canoe by 400 people. Notable guests of the or from Precinct 4’s pontoon boat, fish from evening included Margaret Alkek the banks, and take in nature presentations. Williams and Jim Daniel, Amy and Rob Pierce, Bobby and Phoebe Tudor, Natural Floodplain Buffer Steve and Leticia Trauber, Faith and Lee Majors, Penny and Paul Loyd, Situated along Hwy. 249, the property is Frank and Demetra Jones, Jay Landa an important anchor park for the Cypress and Daniel Turner, John Nau, Roxann Creek Greenway. The 40-mile linear trail will and Tim Neumann, Randy and Sandy stretch from west of Hwy. 290 eastward to Stilley, Pierce Bush, Roselle and Den- the Spring Creek Greenway at Jesse H. Jones nis Baldwin, TUTS Executive DirecPark & Nature Center. tor, Hillary Hart, and Artistic Advisor, Sheldon Epps. As with other parts of the Cypress Creek Greenway, Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is serves as a natural floodplain buffer. “During Houston’s leading Musical Theatre storm events, parks like Kickerillo-Mischer Company since 1968, with a focus on serve as natural detention facilities. They education and community engageact like giant sponges, slowing floodwaters, ment. TUTS is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit capturing sediment, and absorbing runOrganization that relies on the gener- off,” says Dennis Johnston, Precinct 4 parks ous support of our donors to deliver administrator. first-rate theatre experiences. Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is Though Kickerillo Companies and Mischer the official healthcare partner of The- Investments first donated the land to Preatre Under The Stars and the official cinct 4 back in 2009, construction of staff sponsor of the 2016/17 Season. United offices deep in the floodplain proved cost Airlines is the official airline partner prohibitive. When Prestonwood Forest Utilof Theatre Under The Stars. KTRK ity District (PFUD) agreed to lease its former ABC13 is the official media partner of fire station building, located directly adjacent Theatre Under The Stars. to the property, Commissioner R. Jack Cagle

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recognized an opportunity for a staff building and a greenlight to construction of the park. “That agreement with PFUD saved taxpayers about $2 million,” Johnston says. Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve has restrooms and showers, making the newly developed land an ideal camping site for scouts and other community groups in the future. The park will be staffed with a director and onsite caretakers who will provide a variety of Precinct 4 park programming, as well as additional educational offerings in collaboration with Bayou Land Conservancy. Other park features, such as fishing piers, a picnic pavilion, outdoor classroom, and an amphitheater, are being considered as futu re amenities. Grassroots Effort The two-phase, $3.4 million project included road improvements, hike-and-bike trails, construction of parking lots, utility infrastructure, a restroom facility, trail connections to the parking lot, renovation of the old firehouse, fencing, and a bridge across Cypress Creek. PFUD also donated 25 percent of the cost of the new bridge, which totaled $212,832. The preserve was first deemed parkland in the early 2000s, in part thanks to the Friends of Kickerillo-Mischer Preserve. The grassroots organization urged thenowner, Hewlett-Packard, to preserve the land for hikers, bikers, and nature lovers. HewlettPackard stipulated that the wooded preserve be set aside for use as a passive recreational park when the company sold 462 acres to developer Vincent Kickerillo in 2005. Harris County Commissioners Court accepted conveyance of the 80-acre property in 2009 from Vincent Kickerillo and Walt Mischer’s V&W Partners. V&W brought together representatives from Precinct 4, the Friends of the Kickerillo- Mischer Preserve, and local landscape architect, Clark Condon Associates, to create a master plan for the park.

Public News #43  

Houston's Arts & Entertainment Digital Press March 29 - April 18, 2017

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