Back in the early 90’s, Dick Schiveley and others were flying from a street behind Sam’s Club on I-45 North. He got fed up with kids farming the strip he kept mowed that was right along side the dead end from which we were flying from.
He took it upon himself to find the owner of the vacant field behind Olshans lumber on SH249. After a lot of red tape, he discovered that it belonged to an estate that was controlled by a local lawyer. He leased the field to Dick for a modest amount per year and gave him permission to fly there. Dick began to work on the empty field. It was a popular place to illegally dump trash so there was a great deal of work involved. I began to fly there after being invited by Mr. Shively himself.
After Dick poured countless hours into the new field, and lots of his money (heavy equipment) the field was not only flyable, but had a very good, flat grass surface (better than most current clubs). We tried to form a club with an off the wall model insurance company. That company went under and finally we got together and sanctioned ourselves as an AMA club. We paid only $50 dues to ensure money would be given to keep the mowers running. All this time, volunteers mowed the entire field every week all summer, every summer.
Suddenly, we began to grow…we had to set a cap on membership. The club generally was a wonderful, enjoyable place because of the club’s relaxed status…nobody had to go to any meetings, nobody had to mow unless they wanted to help the everyday mowers. This worked, but as the club grew it sometimes became clear that more control had to be enforced to prevent bad safety issues and/or accidents. We formed an executive council and I (Mark Hunt) became the president, secretary, and treasurer…for two years. I talked Peter into stepping in along with Billy Howard so that more of the members would be involved with control of our club. Just about that time, our housing development neighbors moved in. The possibility of our owner now selling the property forced us (exec. council) to close the field.
In the meantime, we had been looking for a new field and had a draft of a lease on the table from Waste Mgmt. for a closed landfill site on Cutten Road near Willowbrook Mall area. Everything seemed peachy…. until we performed a frequency check…. not a single channel was safe due to stray frequencies from a nearby cell tower. Some people began talking about an empty soccer field on Kuykendahl…. mostly everyone talked…but only Dick Schiveley and Peter Muchmoore acted. They took the initiative to knock on doors and play phone tag with the county to finally talk with Mr. Eversole. Dick was able to speak candidly with officials, who then gave us the instructions for writing and submitting a proposal. It took a few months, but they accepted our proposal and granted us the lease. Who knows where it will go from here…. the sky is the limit.
By: Mark Hunt
Billy Howard, as the only original officer and member of the club, shares Dick’s vision on club expenses.
The club expenses have always been extremely low, due in no small part to our founder Dick Schiveley. The original field, on West Mount Houston, was prepared and maintained by Dick using his personal equipment and funds, and everyone could fly free. We formed a club, and collected dues, to pay ongoing expenses and to pay for any events that the club sponsored; this allowed us to put on an event without charging anything. When we had to close our field Dick was instrumental in obtaining our current field from the county and getting a very favorable rate. Our club begin to grow we started to have more events, the only event that we charged a landing fee was the Toys for Tots, all proceeds were given to the charity, the club paid all expenses.
As we continue to grow, have more events, and give to more charities, I hope we do not lose sight of what the club represents.
By Billy Howard