News Categories: Community Centers

29 Jun
By: Communications 0

A New Purpose for Mangum-Howell Center

Precinct 4 Encore! has always served the community by providing bus trips, volunteer activities, and recreational activities for adults over 50.

So when the coronavirus outbreak began, staff had to find novel ways to help those in need.

As reports of food shortages began surfacing, Jan Sexton, Precinct 4’s Encore! and community centers director, brainstormed ways to help.

After contacting the Houston Food Bank to offer Mangum-Howell Center as a distribution site, she learned that the most significant need was for volunteers to sort and package items. Through a combination of logistics, ingenuity, and hard work, staff transformed the room once used for luncheons, dances, and performances into a food-sorting assembly line, with pallet jacks and forklifts to move heavy food products.

“We had a staff of about 25 people every day — all Precinct 4 employees,” said Sexton. “The majority of them were from the community centers, Mangum-Howell and Big Stone Lodge. Some were the transportation and Encore! departments. We were supplemented by a few people from Events, and some troops from the National Guard would assist.”

Over the next 30 days, the food bank brought thousands of pounds of fresh produce and dry goods from their central facility to the center each day for sorting into individual boxes. Each box contained enough food for six meals.
Encore! staff continued to do their part by making welfare calls and registering families for deliveries through CrowdSource Rescue.

Maria Bonilla, the network capacity coordinator for the Houston Food Bank, worked closely with Precinct 4 during the process. The experience stood out to her in more ways than one.

Bonilla said she used to bring her children to the Mangum-Howell Center when they were young. Now, her children bring their kids there to play. When she learned that Mangum-Howell Center also served as a sorting site, she couldn’t hide her excitement.

“You all have made a difference in so many people’s lives, including mine,” Bonilla said. “We are forever grateful for all the efforts that were made to complete so many bags and pallets of produce. It truly made the lines move much faster during the distribution.”

Sexton said partnerships are why Commissioner Cagle puts so much focus into the community centers.

“It solidifies why Commissioner Cagle so strongly believes in how important community centers are to Precinct 4 — for the services they provide,” she said. “People have opportunities there that they don’t have otherwise, because of the activities that go on. We were certainly grateful for the opportunity to provide this service for the food bank and the community on the commissioner’s behalf.”

Read More
23 Jul
By: Communications 0

Answers to your FAQs: How many community centers are in Precinct 4? What do they offer?

Mangum-Howell Center at Doss Park is Precinct 4’s only dedicated community center in a precinct of nearly 1.4 million residents. The facility spans 15,600 square feet and offers adult and limited children’s programs throughout the year. Visitors can enjoy evening exercise programs, crafts, games, and monthly luncheons. Center hours are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

In addition, Big Stone Lodge at Dennis Johnston Park offers programs Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. The building doubles as an office for Precinct 4’s Parks Department and an activity center for residents.

A new Precinct 4 community center will open in 2021. The 24,500-square-foot facility named for President George H.W. Bush is near the Barbara Bush Branch Library and Precinct 4’s Collins Park, all in the Cypress Creek Cultural District. The center will offer a variety of intergenerational programs and services for people of all ages, along with public events, activities, and public meeting spaces. A grand hall with seating for 700 people will also be available to reserve for events including town hall meetings, banquets, and receptions.

Additionally, Precinct 4 partners with 23 local organizations to offer luncheons, dances and trips to residents 50 or older through Precinct 4’s Encore! Program. For more information, visit

Read More
21 Jun
By: Communications 0

Countywide Voting Planned for November General Election

Harris County voters may notice changes during the next general election.

Commissioners Court unanimously approved a request by the county clerk for state approval to launch the Countywide Polling Place Program for the November election and subsequent elections. Approval of the program would mean voters could cast their ballots at any county polling location on Election Day. In the past, voters could vote at countywide polling places only during early voting.

A trial run of the program kicked off in March when Texas Secretary of State David Whitley approved Harris County as one of six Texas counties with a population of more than 100,000 to participate in the Countywide Polling Place Program for the May 4, 2019, election. Whitley will now decide whether to approve Harris County to continue the program for all subsequent elections.

With more than 2 million registered voters, Harris County is the largest county in the country to implement the program.

“The voters of Harris County have made it clear that a Countywide Polling Place Program would have a positive impact on elections, and I am confident that the transition to a Countywide Polling Place Program will be successful,” said Harris County Clerk Diane Trautman.

Lubbock County was the first Texas county to participate in the program during the November 2006 general election. That number has now grown to 52 counties designated as “successful” under the countywide polling place program.

For more information, visit




Read More