September 12, 2019

Celebrating Our New Municipal Facilities

In what has been much more a marathon than a sprint, we’ve finally reached the finish line and are ready to cut the ribbon.  We’ve marked some important milestones along the way, from the initial groundbreaking ceremony, to the opening of the new City Hall and Council Chamber, and the formal dedication of the Norman-Zarate Police & Municipal Court building.  Now that the final piece is in place with the completion of the Civic Center, it’s time to celebrate!

Over the past few years we’ve endured all the challenges and inconveniences of a major construction site, changes in traffic patterns, reduced parking and limited availability of our public spaces.  The Police Department, Municipal Court and BLIFE program were relocated not once but twice, with no interruptions in service.  Thanks for bearing with us and pardoning our dust throughout the process.

What makes the completion of our Municipal Facilities campus such an achievement is not just the end of construction—that was actually the shortest phase of the whole project.  It started at least as far back as 2004, as part of a broader facilities initiative in the Rebuild Bellaire bond program.  Designing the new buildings and campus, including overall site planning, presented some unique issues we had to work through, but it also proved a wonderful opportunity.  We slowed things down a bit and, working together, took our time to get it right.  With active and engaged public input, including through two ad hoc citizens’ advisory committees, we came up with a plan more representative of our community as a whole, and befitting the prominent role of these facilities in our civic life.

Since we’ve moved in, the feedback from residents, visitors and staff has been overwhelmingly positive.  These buildings are already serving us well and will be for generations to come.  So too their surrounding campus and the beautiful park setting of Bellaire Town Square, newly transformed as it’s been opened up, from the performance pavilion, across the Great Lawn and gazebo, all the way out to South Rice.  An inviting gathering place, perfect for the special events that bring our community together.

We look forward to welcoming you tomorrow evening for our Municipal Facilities Celebration and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.  Staff will be on hand, eager to showcase the City Hall and Civic Center in self-guided tours starting at 4:30.  The ribbon cutting will be at 6:00, followed by a special Concert in the Park featuring Bellaire’s very own Ezra Charles, with hot dogs and soft drinks served by the Bellaire Police Officers Association.  So grab a lawn chair and come celebrate with us!