Keeping tabs on the progress of Manvel Town Center? We know we are. Sierra Vista is just a hop, skip and a jump away from what will be one of the largest open-air retail centers in the Houston area.

The 273-acre shopping center located on the west side of the SH 288 and SH 6 intersection in Manvel will feature more than 1 million square feet of retail, entertainment, hospitality, medical and office space.

It will be anchored by the city’s first H-E-B which is slated to open later this year. The new store will be more than 100,000 square feet and include a fuel station and car wash.

Additional confirmed tenants include Aki Steak & Sushi, Marble Slab Creamery, Prime Urgent Care, McDonald’s, Heartland Dental, and AT&T, while additional proposed tenants include Target, Lowes, Wells Fargo and Burlington Coat Factory.

Getting to Manvel Center will be a breeze due to the construction and planned expansion of the Brazoria County Expressway as well as improvements to both Kirby Drive and Highway 6.

Manvel Town Center is just one of the many reasons moving to Sierra Vista makes sense. You’ll get a beautiful home, fantastic amenities and friendships that last a lifetime.

One of the best things about moving to a new community like Sierra Vista is the opportunity for you and your family to make new friends. It can also be the hardest. How do you go about meeting and building a relationship with those living near you? We have some thoughts:

Knock on the Door

It’s a classic for a reason. Bring a small gift such as a plant or a plate of cookies. Introduce yourself. Be polite and open, expressing your excitement about living in the neighborhood. If knocking on the door seems a little too bold, approach them on the weekend when they are tending to their yard or playing outside with their kids.

Go High Tech

Check to see if your community has resident-only social media groups or an app dedicated to local news and events. Introduce yourself virtually. You can also use these platforms to ask questions, seek recommendations and start conversations with your neighbors.

Host a Welcome Party

Invite neighbors for a backyard barbecue, a potluck dinner or a simple afternoon tea. It’s a relaxed way to break the ice and allows your neighbors to mingle with one another as well.

Do What You Love

Common interests can jump start friendships. If your community has an amenity complex, you can take your kids to the pool, invite a neighbor to play pickleball or hang out at the dog park. If there are neighborhood clubs, join or start one of your own.

By participating in activities you enjoy, you’ll naturally form connections.

Be a Good Neighbor

A simple yet effective way to build connections with your neighbors is to be a good neighbor yourself. Keep your property well-maintained, follow local rules and regulations and be considerate.

Move to Sierra Vista

An easy way to make friends is to move to a great community like Sierra Vista. We’ve designed our neighborhoods and amenities to maximize your ability to make connections. Visit today.

August 9 won’t just be any ordinary first day of school for young residents of Sierra Vista — it will be the first day of a brand-new school now open in the community.

The Delbra Orum Nichols-Wilma Fountain Mock Elementary is expected to serve nearly 400 students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade in its first year. On an 18-acre site along Crystal View Drive, the 101,858-square-foot campus cost $28.59 million to build.

Leading Nichols-Mock Elementary is Principal Sandy Holdsclaw, a 23-year educator. She has worked 13 years in Alvin ISD and is an alumnus of Sul Ross State University and Lamar University. She and husband Casey have a daughter who is a 2023 graduate of Alvin High School.

Holdsclaw says that as she welcomes the Nichols-Mock Voyagers to their new school, she and her team will work hard to continue the legacy of the school’s namesakes, calling them “voyagers in education.”

Wilma Fountain Mock was the first black teacher in Alvin ISD. She was hired to coach gymnastics at Alvin Junior High in 1972. She then moved to Alvin High School where she taught PE and coached gymnastics, track and cross country. After four years, she began teaching at EC Mason Elementary School. She remained there for 14 years, winning the EC Mason’s Teacher of the Year award in 1992. She helped open Hood-Case Elementary in 1997 and was named Hood-Case Teacher of the Year. She took home the Alvin ISD District Teacher of the Year soon after. Mock retired in 2004 but continues to tutor elementary school students in the district.

Debra Nichols was a teacher in Alvin ISD from 1974 to 2009. Her first teaching position was at Longfellow Elementary where she also taught PE. In 1982, she began teaching ELA and social studies at EC Mason. She joined Mock in opening Hood-Case and was named Teacher of the Year there. She retired in 2009. Like Mock, she continues tutoring youth in the district.

Enjoy your new school, Voyagers! We can’t wait to see the great heights you’ll soar to!

Reading as they say, is fundamental. Studies show that children who read for pleasure do better in school, scoring higher on measures of comprehension, vocabulary and even math. Nurturing a love of reading is the greatest gift a parent can give a child. With the school bell about to ring for young Sierra Vista scholars, here are some tips for encouraging a life-long love for books:

Read Together 

Parents often stop reading to their children once they start school. That’s a mistake. Reading together is an excellent way to bond and foster a love for storytelling no matter how old your child is. Choose books that match their interest and take turns reading. They will become confident in their reading skills, and everyone will have fun.

Keep Bookshelves Stocked

Surround your child with books. Every room should have at least one shelf featuring a wide variety of topics. You can even put books in a basket in the bathroom. Age-appropriate book series are a great way to keep them engaged and eager to read more.

Stop In at the Library

Make regular visits to the library. Most libraries offer a storytelling hour for young children and book clubs for older children and teens. Introduce them to the children’s book section and let them browse. Get to know your librarian. He or she can help your child select books that are age-appropriate and interest them.

Every Book Needs a Nook

Create a reading nook for your child. This could be the closet under the stairs, a window seat or just a corner of the game room. Make it inviting with soft cushions, good lighting and a shelf filled with books that cater to their interests. It won’t be long before you find them curled up with a good book.

There’s Always Something to Read

Reading isn’t just about books. Encourage your child to read in different situations. When cooking, let them read the recipes. When gardening, encourage them to read the seed packets. Younger children can be encouraged to point out and read signs. Praise them for doing a good job.

Set Reading Goals

Setting reading goals can be tricky. Many children see it as just doing school at home. Instead, celebrate when your child finishes a book by taking them to the store to purchase another. This works particularly well if your child has fallen in love with a book series.

Let Them Catch You

Let your kids catch you reading. Be sure to discuss the books, newspapers and magazines you ae reading at the dinner table and encourage them to do the same. Give your child a book you enjoyed as a child and tell them why you enjoyed it.

What If It’s Hard?

If your child is having difficulty reading, don’t be afraid to have them evaluated for dyslexia. Catching it quickly means you can intervene and teach your child coping strategies. Let your child know it’s okay to read at a slower pace. It doesn’t mean they are stupid; they simply have more opportunities to enjoy the story.

Be Supportive

Be patient, understanding and supportive throughout your child’s reading journey. Avoid putting pressure on them, as it may create a negative association with reading. Instead, offer encouragement, praise their efforts and celebrate every small reading achievement.

Vacations are great for relaxing, rejuvenating and connecting with the family. That’s the theory anyway. Travel delays, different time zones, jet lag and more can turn a “vacay” into a “stresscay.” The answer? One of the many amazing vacation destinations available right here in Texas. Just rent a hotel room for the week, plan your itinerary and go! Check out these great staycation spots less than two hours away from Sierra Vista.


Tourists from around the world visit the Bayou City, reveling in great food, high-end shopping, arts and entertainment and more. If you’ve been limiting your trips there to the weekends, you are missing out. Book a stay at the Marriott Marquis with its Texas-shaped lazy river or the Omni Houston with its Kids Sensory Suite. Explore the Houston Museum District, shop the Galleria or roll down Hippie Hill in Hermann Park. Animal-loving kids will want to spend hours at the Houston Zoo while astronauts in training will enjoy Space Center Houston. There are plenty of great dining spots but if you are looking for something family-friendly, we suggest Swanny’s Grill or Little Matt’s. No trip to Houston would be complete without a stop at Fat Cat Creamery for a sundae.


When the heat is on, Texans escape to the coast. Take advantage of summer specials at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center for a stay and tickets to all the attractions. Romance is sure to be in the air if you book a room at the Grand Galvez. Once you’ve dropped off your room key, explore the Galveston Strand Historic District, relax on the beach, visit the famous Galveston Island Pleasure Pier and discover the rich maritime history at the Galveston Naval Museum. When it comes to dining, you don’t want to miss out on a burger at island famous The Spot.

Surfside Beach

Head down Highway 288 for 40 minutes and bam! You can take advantage of sun and surf in a charming beach town. Surfside Beach has four miles of coastline which makes it imperative to rent a beach cottage for maximum enjoyment. The Breeze Hotel & RV Park is great if you prefer to bring your accommodations with you. Once you’re there, put up your beach umbrella, hand the kids their pails and shovels and lounge around. Or you can visit Surfside Jetty County Park for picnics and follow the Surfside Beach Bird & Butterfly Trail. When you get hungry, enjoy the view from the Beachfront Deck Bar & Grill or fresh fish at the Red Snapper Inn.

Lakeside Camping

If you like spending your vacations by the lake, there are several approximately an hour and half away from Sierra Vista. Huntsville State Park is a hidden gem where you can spend the day hiking, kayaking and swimming. Hitch up your boat and head to Lake Livingston State Park for fishing, swimming and enjoying the stars. Sheldon Lake State Park and Environmental Learning Center is perfect for wildlife lovers. Bring cameras to capture memories. There is no place to camp in the park, but you can stay at Junction Meadows nearby.


Known as the heart of the Texas Bluebonnet region, Brenham offers picturesque countryside views and charming downtown streets filled with antique shops, boutiques, and local eateries. Main Street House is a cozy bed and breakfast. Ant Street Inn is a boutique hotel in Downtown Brenham. The Lake Somerville Marina & Campground offers cabins, tent campsites and 168 acres of wilderness to explore. Be sure to visit Blue Bell Creameries & Ice Cream Parlor for a sweet treat in between visits to the Washington-on-the-Brazos-State-Historic-SiteChappell Hill Lavender Farm and the Brazos Valley Brewing Company. When it’s time for dinner, check out Nathan’s BBQ or Chappell Hill Sausage Company.