January 6, 2021

We Are #OneBellaire

Given the political climate across our country in recent years, it’s no surprise we too have become increasingly polarized here in Bellaire.  The sidewalks charter election in November, which was never really about sidewalks, only underscored the point.  Down-ballot of the presidential election, we achieved a nearly 84% turnout, with 2,000+ ballots more than were cast in our last three City Council elections—combined.  And our voters split pretty much right down the middle.

But even more than the incredibly close outcome, it was the conduct of the election that laid bare the depths of our division.  It got intensely personal, heated and sometimes downright nasty.  People said stuff online to and about their neighbors they’d (hopefully) never say to their faces.  And this has been going on for some time now.  Sadly, we’ve been allowing our political disagreements to tear at the fibers of our social fabric.

Our beloved hometown's turning against itself is for me a call to action.  We have so much to be proud of, and thankful for, and I know Bellaire can do better.  I ask you to join me, in resolving this New Year, to begin the process of healing our divided community.

It could start with something as simple as doing a good deed for a neighbor.  Or making it a point to introduce yourself to someone down the block.  Throughout 2021, the City will be offering a number of opportunities for us to come together as #OneBellaire.  This will serve as our theme for the year and we hope you will embrace it and share what you love about Bellaire with your friends and neighbors.

The timing of all this is uncertain as it will depend on hoped-for improvements in the COVID-19 situation and on public health guidelines, but for now, here’s what we’ve got penciled in:

Neighborhood Picnics in the Park

Building on our hugely successful Picnic in the Park at the 2019 grand reopening of Lafayette Park, we are planning to host a handful of these community-building events at different parks around town throughout 2021, once we can return to in-person public gatherings.

Neighborhood Block Parties

You don’t have to wait until National Night Out for a block party on your street to reconnect with your neighbors.  Contact Community Relations anytime for information on how to obtain a permit for street closure and to request a visit from the Police or Fire Departments at your block party.

Citywide Events

Again assuming COVID-19 conditions will allow, we look forward to resuming our popular citywide events in 2021, including:  Party at the Pavilion (first Friday of every month March through November), Trolley Run, July 4th Parade & Festival, Arts & Crafts Festival, Holiday in the Park, PATRONS for Bellaire Parks Tents-in-Town and Dive-in Movie Nights, Nature Discovery Center Pumpkin Patch, Evelyn’s Park Touch-a-Truck, Bellaire Business Association Foodie Fest, and more!

Volunteer Opportunities

Get involved in your community by applying to serve on one of our several citizen boards and commissions:  Audit Finance Board, Board of Adjustment, Building and Standards Commission, Culture and Arts Board, Environmental Sustainability Board, Evelyn’s Park Conservancy Board, L.I.F.E. Advisory Board, Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, and Planning and Zoning Commission.  Contact the City Clerk for more information and to apply.

Bellaire Citizens Academy

The Bellaire Citizens Academy is an eight-week program providing an in-depth look at how the City functions.  Participants have the opportunity to observe, ask questions, see equipment and facilities, and meet the staff responsible for all city operations.  Each class is limited to 20 residents, on a first-come, first-served basis.  This year we anticipate starting in late summer or early fall.

Community Partners

We’re fortunate to partner with several local organizations that work closely with the City in furtherance of our shared objectives and for the betterment of the community.  These groups offer a great way to get involved and would welcome your participation and support.

#OneBellaire belongs to all of us, so we encourage you to come up with your own ideas for bringing people together and share them with others!  When attending any of our city events in 2021, or one of your own, be sure to post your photos and use the #OneBellaire hashtag to spread the word.  We look forward to seeing you and to celebrating what unites us all and makes our community so special.