HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner was joined by Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia to announce the creation of the Houston-Harris Special Events Task Force on Wednesday.
The 10-member task force will review and make recommendations to improve communication, protocols, and permitting requirements in Houston and Harris County to ensure consistent operational standards for future events, according to a release.
Turner said the city and county have experienced significant growth over the years and have experienced an expansion in local events and shows. He said the events were halted during the COVID-19 pandemic but are now making a comeback.
Turner and Garcia have collaborated to create the task force in efforts to produce great events, establish new guidelines and procedures while reviewing previous procedures. The task force will make sure all agencies are partnering together to help operate big events.
“Our decision to form the task force is about looking to the future and not back on any one incident,” Turner said.
The mayor was referring to the Astroworld Festival tragedy that happened on Nov. 5, where 10 people were killed, at least 300 injured during a massive crowd surge. Turner said the deadly festival influenced them to create the task force to make sure events safe as possible.
To represent Houston, Turner appointed the following members to the task force: Director of Mayor’s Office of Special Events Susan Christian, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner, Houston Fire Chief Sam Pena, and two national leaders, Vice President of the Event Safety Alliance, Steven Adelman, and Rob McKinley, co-founder of LD Systems.
Garcia said in the aftermath of the terrible tragedy in November, it is important to establish guidelines and procedures.
“I know things can go sideways pretty easy,” Garcia said.
The commissioners announced his nominees to the task force, Major Rolf Nelson of Harris County Sheriff’s Office, Ryan Walsh, executive director of the Harris County Sports and Convention Corp. and NRG Park, Mike Demarco, Houston Rodeo and Livestock Show Chief Show Operations Officer and Harris County Chief Fire Marshal Laurie Christensen.
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