Why a Houston Council Member Wants a ‘Little Saigon’ District in the City

The area is home to numerous Vietnamese businesses, but not everybody is in favor of the designation.

By Alexandra HartJuly 11, 2016 11:02 am| ,

Houston has been recognized in recent years as one of the most diverse cities in the U.S.  – even more so than the likes of New York and Los Angeles.

One of the most diverse parts of the city is the Alief community, part of which is dubbed the “International Management District” because of its ethnically diverse population.

Now, the city councilman for that district wants to recognize a piece of it as “Little Saigon” for its cluster of Vietnamese businesses. But not everyone’s on board, with some citing concerns about cost and necessity.

Steve Le, councilman for the F district, says that he hopes the proposal will drive tourism to the area, generating revenue. He believes that will offset the $30,000 to $70,000 price tag that has some residents hesitant.

“We’re accounted for $500,000 in council district funds,” Le says. “So $30,000 out of $500,000 in council district funds as an investment to be the catalyst to spur more economic development, I think is a small price tag.”

Houston already has a Chinatown and other similar neighborhoods, so adding this designation isn’t changing anything, Le says. Instead, he wants to designate more neighborhoods, including Little Saigon, in a way reflects their residents, to highlight the diversity in the area.

“Nowhere in the entire U.S. exists all these groups together. And that’s the uniqueness I want to bring,” Le says. “District F is the perfect place for it, because we already are the most diverse district in the most diverse city in the U.S.”

Listen to the full interview in the audio player above.