For His Half Century of Service to The Woodlands Community; Waterway Pedestrian Bridge Named in Robert Heineman's Honor

By: Rachel Norton
| Published 03/08/2021

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THE WOODLANDS, TX — The Waterway Pedestrian Bridge was dedicated to Robert Heineman, March 8, for his commitment to The Woodlands Community.
 
Heineman recently retired after half a Century of devotion. He began his 48-year career here in The Woodlands in 1971 while studying for his Master's Degree in Urban Design and Architecture at Harvard University.

It all started when his mom sent him an ad for an internship position for a project called, ‘The Woodlands’. Thankfully, he took that role as a summer intern at the Mitchell Energy and Development Company, where he worked alongside planners preparing the ‘master plan’ of The Woodlands. Upon his graduation in 1972, he joined the company full time and was integral to The Woodlands official opening in 1974.

“Little did he know responding to that article, that add for a summer internship, that he’d have a lifetime career and also a career of a lifetime,” said Jim Carman, President of the Houston Region at The Howard Hughes Corporation.

The impact made by Heineman has been tremendous. He has overseen The General Plan of The Woodlands, commonly referred to as the ‘master plan’, as well as The Village and Neighborhood Plan, The Environmental Plan, The Drainage and Open Space System, The Mobility System, Parks and Pathway Plan and System, and The Plan for the Town Center including the beautiful Waterway.

He also served on numerous committees and boards, including his position as Vice President of The Woodlands Area Chamber of Commerce, and his membership within both the East Shore Design Committee and Carlton Woods Design Committee.

In 2018, Heineman was named Hometown Hero by Interfaith of The Woodlands, and in 2010, he received the prestigious George Mitchell Award. He has dotingly been nicknamed, ‘The Conscience of The Woodlands,” by his fellow employees due to his dedication to making sure the organization stays true to the original goals set forth by George P. Mitchell, Developer of The Woodlands.

Heineman noted that in reflecting on 48 years of planning within this community, there has been a common thread; a commitment to a long-range vision.
“Mr. Mitchell certainly had that vision,” he said. “For [Mitchell], if you planned for the future, the present would kind of take care of itself … The goal was to create a complete community where one could live, work, play, learn, and pray,” he said.

The concept of the Waterway began as Heineman’s simple sketch in 1972, and with his hard work and care has become the architectural jewel and community staple that it is today. 

“Robert Heineman’s vision has really become synonymous with The Woodlands,” Carman said. 

The sketch can be seen on the plaque placed at the entrance of the Waterway Pedestrian Bridge. 

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