By Jim Rogers
When I bought my Bryan Place home in 1980, Bryan Street was open and carried thousands of cars every day. It was a major artery out of downtown in the evening and at night heavy trucks used it to get to the I-45, Central Expressway and Woodall Rogers’ ramps. With some homes’ bedrooms only 14 feet from the street curb, that was a problem.
There had supposedly been an agreement between Fox & Jacobs and the city to divert the traffic over to Live Oak but that wasn’t happening. While F&J was selling the homes on Bryan Street, the street was closed due to continuing utility construction which just happened to be completed once the homes on Bryan Street were sold.
Getting something done about this was the impetus behind forming the Bryan Place Neighborhood Association. Neighbors met in Mike Richardson’s living room on Bryan Street and I walked out assigned the task of being the President and responsible for forming the Association and working to get the traffic off of Bryan.
We met with area businesses, lobbied the city council and had a resident or two speak before the city council every Wednesday for almost a year. Our plan was to close Bryan at Cantegral and we had the votes for our plan but the morning of the vote, F&J showed up with the plan you see on the ground today. We got the traffic off of Bryan Street but we didn’t get the larger neighborhood tied
together like we wanted.
Back then the Exall Park Recreation Center was a military surplus metal Quonset hut building from World War II. At that time the Recreation Center was used mostly by kids from Roseland Homes. I thought those kids deserved a quality Recreation Center so I lobbied the city and we got funds for the current Recreation Center included in the next bond election.
Another project we did during the almost 6 years I was President of the BPNA was the pool and clubhouse. We canvassed the neighborhood door to door to see what amenities the homeowners would most like to see added – tennis courts in the park, a community swimming pool, a club house, etc. The overwhelming preference was to have a swimming pool and clubhouse. I worked with F&J to develop a funding plan for the $300,000 project, conducted a membership drive to raise the homeowners’ $100,000 share and worked with the entire community to design the facility (size of pool?, depth of pool?, children’s pool?, hot tub?, type of fence?, etc.) in one large meeting in the Quonset hut building (yes, design by committee – but it worked and it worked well).
Dean Vanderbilt, the F&J Bryan Place manager at the time, commented that he was fairly certain that F&J would not have to come up with its share of the funds because there was no way anyone could get the few homeowners at the time to contribute the required $100,000 but we did it. Once we had the money, we needed the land. The current location of the pool was most central to the neighborhood at the time but there was a small frame house on the corner and the owner did not want to sell or trade or move. I met with her many times and we finally negotiated that she got a half interest plus a life estate in the other half interest of a new home on Adolph plus $3000 to buy a new washer, dryer, refrigerator, etc. I was sad to see her house and the gigantic beautiful pecan tree in her backyard come down but that is where the pool is today.
Mike Levitt, Bill Morrow and I then served as the committee to get the pool and clubhouse built. Since then I have served as the BPNA Treasurer, the Landscape Chair and the Communications Chair from time to time.
Published on September 13, 2012