The City of Houston notifies The Center of plans to seize the West Dallas campus.
On March 23, 2007, Forest R. Christy, Jr., director of real estate with the City of Houston, wrote a letter to The Center notifying us that the City plans to sell the property we recognize as the “West Dallas campus,” located at 3550 West Dallas. The Center was asked to sign a short term lease of three years and agree to then leave the property.
Board member Jack Manning is chairing a task force to work through the legal issues regarding the property on West Dallas. The task force includes Eva Aguirre, executive director, and members of the Board of Governors and the Foundation for the Retarded Board of Trustees. They are C. Wayne Johnson, David Baldwin, president of the Foundation, B.Z. Lee and Chris Borreca. “We have a 99 year lease on five acres of property, which was signed in 1963, and which is still fully in effect. And, we have a preferential right to a 30 year renewal on the remaining one acre,” states Jack Manning. “These leases have been honored by seven Mayors: Lewis Cutrer, Louie Welch, Fred Hofheinz, Jim McConn, Kathy Whitmire, Bob Lanier and Lee Brown — all of whom were able to guide the City’s financial affairs without seizing properties utilized to serve the City’s retarded population. Only Mayor Bill White has suggested the eviction of the mentally retarded in order to enhance the City’s revenue stream.”
In fact , in 2002, the City presented The Center with a renewal lease for a term of 30 years; The Center signed the renewal lease and returned it to the City. But, the City, despite drafting and presenting the renewal lease, declined to sign it. C. Wayne Johnson, president of The Center’s Board of Governors was shocked when he read Mr. Christy’s letter. He stated, “Over the past two years The City has sent representatives to look at our campus and we have been very clear that moving from this campus would be very problematic. We were hopeful that the City of Houston would agree that the services we provide outweigh their desire to do some real estate housekeeping.”
The task force finally met with the Mayor on August 24, 2006 to inform him that The Center is not willing to sign a short term lease and leave the West Dallas property. The Center has now received an additional letter from the Mayor, dated October 25, indicating that his position remains unchanged and that “We intend to sell this property.”
“We need the families that we serve and our friends and supporters to understand the gravity of the threat we are facing,” states Manning. “Our legal rights are clear. And with the unanimous support of the Board of Governors, we intend to resist this seizure by all available means.”
WE NEED YOUR ASSISTANCE.
Here’s what you can do:
- Call, write or e-mail the Mayor and all City Council members and advise them that you object to this action by the City. Do all of these things if you can. Click here for a list of Names, Titles, and Addresses
- Contact everyone you know (family and friends, e-mail lists, etc) and ask them to do the same.
- Sign the petition