The Greater Third Ward encompasses the area south of UH to Old Spanish Trail, north to the Gulf Freeway, west to Fannin and east to the H.B. & T Railroad. Taking Scott Street most easily accesses the District. Cutting through the heart of Third Ward, Scott links major thoroughfares and freeways such as Gulf Freeway, Elgin, Old Spanish Trail and South Loop East. A roughly six-mile segment of the roadway runs through neighborhoods comprising Texas Southern University, University of Houston and a predominantly single-family residential area.
Texas Southern University is a beacon in the community and provides leadership and support to major community efforts to maintain and improve this historically rich District.
At first glance, the Third Ward appears to be just another inner-city neighborhood in the midst of tremendous revitalization efforts, however, the area boasts of its very own oasis, the largest and oldest community garden in Houston.
The Alabama Garden, a 56-bed vegetable garden at 2818 Alabama, was started by Verious Smith in 1985 after he decided he wanted to grow his own food. When he saw how fertile the ground was, he enlarged the garden, and his brother Voydell Smith and friend Christopher Warren cleared additional land so they could plant, too.
Most of the gardeners give away their produce, taking it to shut-ins or those in the area who are sick. The gardeners also host school supply drives, Easter egg hunts and holiday food drives for Third Ward residents.
Alabama Garden is affiliated with the Houston chapter of Urban Harvest, the national organization that encourages community gardening as a means of feeding the poor. Texas Southern University owns the land on which the garden is located.
Texas Southern University is also a partner in the landmark Third Ward to Main Street Connectivity Project.
The Third Ward to Main Street Connectivity Project is a collaborative, transportation initiative to link Houston's Third Ward community with the Main Street Corridor and light rail system. The Third Ward is predominantly an African-American community, immediately adjacent to the Main Street Corridor. Included in the Third Ward are the Texas Southern University and the University of Houston. Both institutions are largely commuter campuses and together serve a student population of over 39,000. Building upon and leveraging the planning, transit, redevelopment and other revitalization activities of the Third Ward Redevelopment Council, OST/Almeda TIRZ, the Main Street Coalition, METRO, TxDOT and the City of Houston, the project will focus on improving and expanding transit access between the Corridor and Third Ward neighborhoods and institutions, creating essential east-west, transportation and pedestrian connections.
This initiative will have a major influence on the future vitality of the Third Ward; it will significantly improve the physical appearance of the neighborhood and boost its economic stability through the construction of transit-related physical improvements along various transit corridors. This will result in the attraction of additional reinvestment to the neighborhood. Reaching into the Third Ward community to enhance and improve transit, pedestrian and alternative transportation linkages between the Main Street corridor, the light rail system and the neighborhood will be the key to unlocking job opportunities within the Main street Corridor, as well as, opening up the neighborhood to the rest of the city and to the institutions of higher learning.