Upper Kirby District Street Talk
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Construction Update
Surls on Kirby Public Art Event
Community Resources
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Upper Kirby Update 

February 15, 2013  

Richmond Drainage Improvements:  
Final Push



Richmond construction is nearly complete. Final asphalt activity will account for the majority of the work next week along with lane striping and general project area restoration. 

Crews have been working on driveway reconstruction just west of Audley this week and will be finishing up that process shortly. Crews were able to overlay the westbound left turn bays this week as well.

Crews are scheduled to complete eastbound lane patching next week and will begin sodding back-of-curb areas. Final inspection and documentation of the storm lines will also take place.

Westheimer Drainage Improvements and Streetscape Installation 


Design is now nearly complete on the Westheimer Paving, Drainage and Streetscape Improvements Project between Shepherd and Buffalo Speedway. This is the final piece of storm drainage work needed to complete the Kirby system.

Work on Westheimer will follow the scope of the Kirby Drive reconstruction project fairly closely. It will entail the burial of all overhead utility lines; new storm drainage, water and sanitary facilities; complete roadway repaving and the installation of a full pedestrian-oriented streetscape that will include pedestrian lighting and furniture, street tree installation and irrigation, brick paved crosswalks, widened sidewalks and upgraded traffic signal and streetlight standards.

The project will be implemented in two sections, the eastern phase will extend from Shepherd to Kirby Drive and the western phase will continue from Kirby to Buffalo Speedway. Each of these phases will be split into a utility relocation phase followed by a roadway, infrastructure and streetscape phase.

The project will likely begin at Shepherd where the contractor will be responsible for constructing the underground duct-banks that will house the existing overhead wires in the future. The contractor will then asphalt over the work area, re-stripe the roadway and remove all traffic control and equipment.

We will close out the contract at this point to avoid disruption to the traveling public and to the local businesses and property owners while we wait for Center Point and all telecommunication companies to transfer services to the new underground facilities and remove the wooden utility poles. Because the length of this process is uncertain, we have planned the project to pause and restore the roadway completely while the utility companies are completing their work. Once the terminal poles have been removed by Center Point, we will bid the roadway phase of the project and begin the reconstruction.

The first utility phase, originally planned to bid in December will wait to bid likely until late March. The design has met with some delay in the city review and comment phase but should be signed and ready to advertise by the end of the month. Please look for further detail on the timing and implementation of this project as plans are finalized.  


For more information on Upper Kirby construction projects and for issues and concerns as construction progresses, contact Travis Younkin at 713.524.8000 or email travis@upperkirby.org.        

Arts Supporters Gather for Surls on Kirby  

Clayton and Shel Erikson Kick off  Fundraising Effort

James Surls Discusses the Art


Major players in the Houston arts community came together Friday, February 1 at the home of Clayton and Shel Erikson to kick off private fundraising efforts for the coming Surls on Kirby public art project. The effort aims to install a 30'-tall original James Surls sculpture entitled, Tree and Three Flowers in the median on Kirby Drive just south of Westheimer Road.


Surls was on hand to discuss the monumental effort with attendees and encourage private contribution to the project. The target fundraising goal for the Surls on Kirby project includes $850,000 for the artwork and another $150,000 for a proposed documentary that will catalogue the process from inception to installation.  


From Left: Bob and Lane Schultz and Ford Hubbard


The Upper Kirby District Foundation is spearheading this iconic project and has secured to date $450,000 in public sector investment from the Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority and Harris County Improvement District No. 3 as well as over $200,000 in private donations. The target installation date is December 15, 2013.


James Surls is an internationally known artist and one of the most preeminent sculptors in the United States. James was born in Terrell, TX in 1943. He graduated from Sam Houston State Teachers College in 1966 and from Cranbrook Academy of Art in 1968. He taught at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX from 1968 to 1976. He taught at and founded the Lawndale Alternative Arts Space at the University of

Fundraising Co-Chair, Dan Hedges Addresses the Crowd

Houston in 1976.


His sculpture was highlighted in the Magnificent Seven: Houston Celebrates Surls exhibit at Rice University in October 2010. Before Houston, 5 of the 7 sculptures were on display on Park Avenue in NY. His sculpture, Points of View, is in Market Square in downtown Houston, and his Standing Vase with Five Flowers is at the City of Houston, Parks and Recreation Department.


The Upper Kirby District is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit. To make a charitable contribution or to find out more about the Surls on Kirby project or the Upper Kirby Civic Arts Initiative, call 713.524.8000 or email, travis@upperkirby.org.



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Upper Kirby is a constantly evolving urban area marked by an outstanding location, great shopping, unique residential neighborhoods, smart development and a small town feel. It is an area of successful businesses, involved communities and a synergy between the public and private sectors. It is the heartbeat of Houston and everywhere you want to be.