District I

Wortham Restoration & Glenbrook Botanic Garden Proposals

In January 2015, City Council unanimously approved long-term lease agreements with the Houston Golf Association (HGA) to restore and operate Gus Wortham Park Golf Course, and with the Houston Botanic Garden Board (HBG) to transform the existing golf course at Glenbrook into a world-class Houston Botanic Garden.

Over the last decade, municipal golf courses have seen a decline in the number of rounds played and a drop in revenue, making the agreements vitally important to the future success of both green spaces. HGA and HBG have committed to revitalize these underperforming golf courses. In total, both organizations are expected to invest over 50 million in private dollars to improve and operate these parks.

This public-private partnership will be similar to the successful partnerships the city has had in place at two other iconic public green spaces: Hermann Park and the Houston Zoo. Both city-owned properties are privately managed and operated.

Both parks will help attract tourism and spur economic development throughout the community and city. In fact, studies by the Greater Houston Partnership and East End Management District projected a botanic garden alone in Houston could pump as much as $25 million per year to the local economy.

Lease and operating agreements (.pdf)

The agreements include provisions similar to what is in place with other city-owned properties that are privately managed and operated. For example, both parks will be privately run and operated, and the revenues generated will be reinvested within the properties (just like Hermann Park and Houston Zoo) for operations, maintenance, and to ensure the visiting public has an exceptional experience.

Timeline and progress

HGA – Gus Wortham

  • HGA must raise $5M by December 31, 2015 – Goal Met
  • Broke ground on Phase I (golf course restoration) in Jan. 2017, expect re-open end of 2017
  • The club house and other improvements must be completed by the end of 2019
  • Fundraising is ongoing and phase one construction began Feb. 2017

HBG – Botanic Garden at Glenbrook

  • HBG must raise $5M by December 31, 2015 – Goal Met
  • HBG must raise $20M by December 31, 2017 BEFORE BREAKING GROUND (City Council can extend up to 1 year)
  • Must complete construction of first phase no later than 4 years after taking control of site
  • Fundraising and master planning are ongoing
Gus Wortham Golf Course
Houston Botanic Garden

Moving forward
The HGA and HBG will continue to update the community through meetings and regular updates on their website. You can also visit www.houstontx.gov/council/i or sign up to receive Councilman Gallegos’ monthly e-newsletter HERE (or text districti to 22828.)

For additional information, please contact the District I office at 832.393.3011.

Public announcements/presentations