Patricia King-Ritter — who’s found herself embroiled in a controversy about the illegal construction of a Bellaire parking lot in a deal between Evelyn’s Park and a Southside Place commercial interest — is stepping down as staff director of the park.
The conservancy which operates Evelyn’s announced Monday (June 1) that King-Ritter, the staff director for two years after serving on the board, would resign at the end of June “to focus her energy and time on her family as her 3 children transition schools.”
In a search for answers how a large parking lot was constructed illegally at Bellaire’s gateway, on residentially-zoned CenterPoint property between the railroad tracks and homes in the 4200 block of Bellaire Boulevard, King-Ritter’s name emerged on documents dealing with a city official who has since left his position.
Even after the lot was ruled to be in violation of zoning regulations and ordered removed, King-Ritter contacted City Manager Paul Hofmann and was able to get the lot tracked for consideration by the Planning & Zoning Commission.
The Evelyn’s Park Conservancy was scheduled to deliver its quarterly report to Bellaire City Council at its semi-monthly meeting tonight, something King-Ritter usually does.
The announcement from the Evelyn’s board, was effusive in its praise for King-Ritter. But the list of bullet points of her contributions was largely either those accomplished by her predecessor, Denton Ragland, or exaggerated the progress the park has made in its three years of existence.
In its second phase of development, Evelyn’s continued to underperform, even before the pandemic limited access. Shade features are lacking, turning the park into a ghost town for months each year, and the events center and anticipated variety of community events and classes have yet to materialize consistently.
Before her volunteer service on the conservancy board, King-Ritter’s only real experience was as a volunteer member of the Bellaire environmental sustainability board, and there was concern that she didn’t have the professional qualifications needed to run Evelyn’s, develop programming and the events center, and handle fundraising and volunteers.
“The board is developing transition plans and a search process for a successor director,” the statement from Board President Jerry Wische said.