June Scenic Citizen: Danny Perkins, Hobby Area District

Danny Perkins with Mayor Sylvester Turner at the Broadway/Hobby Corridor Redevelopment Project ribbon cutting.

We are excited to celebrate Danny Perkins as Scenic Houston’s Scenic Citizen for June. His passion for and commitment to redeveloping the Broadway/Hobby Corridor in 2017 is the perfect example of how one person can make a huge difference in our collective scenic experience.

Danny is chairman of the Hobby Area Management District and was Scenic Houston’s partner on the 2017 completion of the Broadway/Hobby Corridor Redevelopment Project. The project has been an enormous success story not only for the Hobby District but for all Houstonians who take pride in our city. The “Gateway to Houston,” or the thoroughfare to and from Hobby Airport on Broadway, was completely transformed. The finished product accomplished multiple objectives, but primarily it considerably upgraded the condition of the roads, improved walkability in the pedestrian areas, and added lush landscaping to enhance the scenic quality of the esplanades and shared public spaces.

Because Danny’s home and business was located in the Hobby District for many years, he knew the area needed a major facelift, but says that the inspiration primarily came from a not-so-flattering article written after the 2004 Super Bowl in Houston. The author of the article said that driving along Broadway to Hobby Airport was like “driving in a 3rd world country.” 

That article stuck with Danny, then the chairman of the Hobby Area Chamber of Commerce. He knew that the Chamber wouldn’t be able to fund the real changes that needed to happen to make Broadway a more scenic, safe thoroughfare to the airport, so he took on the enormous task of creating what is now the Hobby Area Management District.

It all started with a meeting with state Rep. Garnet Coleman, who agreed to sponsor a bill to create the district. Danny spent an enormous amount of time in front of civic and legislative committees. The bill passed the Senate and House and went to Governor Rick Perry’s desk to sign. There were only 3 management districts approved during that session and the Hobby District was one.

Between 2008 and 2014, the Management District formed and conducted multiple community assessments. Then in 2013, Houston was awarded its third Super Bowl. Danny wasn’t about to let his district suffer the same image problem it did in 2004 and he took his case to Mayor Annise Parker. The project had been on the city’s capital improvement projects list for years but had never been funded. Mayor Parker agreed to fund the majority of the project, and Scenic Houston played a role in the beautification efforts of the reconstructed street, sidewalk and greenspace area. The project took 2 years to complete. Just in time for the Super Bowl, the “Gateway to Houston” was transformed into a beautifully landscaped, safe and appealing shared public space that transformed visitors’ first impression of our city.

Danny, the owner of ESC Polytech Consultants, has accomplished many professional goals but says that the Broadway/Hobby Redevelopment Project gives him the most pride. The economic boost that the project gave the district can be seen as you drive to and from Hobby. Businesses improved, more businesses moved in and many reinvested in their facilities. It has also created a new sense of place and pride for the citizens of the Hobby District. “The Broadway Redevelopment Project became infectious. It’s like a domino effect. Now you see residents building new homes or improving their current properties more than ever before,” says Danny.

Seeing his district changed in such a positive way brings him great joy. “I don’t see anything that I can do to top that”.

Thank you to Danny Perkins, Scenic Houston’s June Scenic Citizen for making such an impactful scenic change for all Houstonians and demonstrating that any citizen has the ability to make positive changes in the scenic character of our city.