H.P.A.R.D. Park Histories


Mason Park Flood Control Project along Brays Bayou


1979 - 2007

1979

James and Margaret Elkins, Jr., gifted the City of Houston a 500-acre park. It was named Keith-Wiess Park after her  parents, Harry Carothers Wiess and Olga Keith Wiess.

Funds from the Brown Foundation and a Land and Water Conservation Grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife  Department purchased 717 acres in East Houston. The new park was named Herman Brown Park.

The new clubhouse at Brock Park Golf Course was dedicated in December, 1979, by Mayor Fred Hofheinz.

1980

Harris County and the Flood Control District entered into a realignment project for Sims Bayou, which took the bayou  through Glenbrook Park Golf Course. The course was reconfigured to use both banks of the bayou.

1981

The 81.78-acre Cambridge Village Park was bought with a $430,000 Federal Matching Grant and $970,977.24 in  City funds.

The architecturally significant, earth-bermed community center at Tidwell Park was built for $970,000.

1982

The Stude Park Pool underwent a massive renovation.

1983

The Army Corps of Engineers and the City of Houston signed a lease to create the 9,269.82-acre Cullen Park. The  Cullen Foundation funded the park, and over the course of several years it was developed into a recreational gem.

1984

Melrose Park, a 39.96-acre park in North Houston with a lighted golf course and an airport for radio controlled model  aircraft, was transferred from Harris County to the City of Houston in December of 1984.

1986

The Taylor and Stevenson families donated 10 acres of the ranch founded by their forebears to the City of Houston.  Protected forever as a memorial to them and as a nature preserve, it is named E.R. and Ann Taylor Park.

The community center at Moody Park was built, replacing an old one long considered to be inadequate for the  neighborhood's needs.

1988

The newly renovated clubhouse at Sharpstown was opened to the public.

The swimming pool complex at Emancipation Park received an extensive makeover.

A recreational complex including a swimming pool, gymnasium, and tennis courts was built at Tidwell Park.

1989

Cullinan/Oyster Creek Park was bought, preserving a pristine nature preserve from the encroachment of suburbia. It  was paid for through gifts of Nina J. Cullinan and the Brown Foundation, and through City funds. The park was  named after Miss Cullinan’s parents.

1991

111.46-acres were purchased for $1,399,000 to form Clear Lake Park. The park would be renamed Sylvan  Rodriguez Park in 2001, in honor of a long time Houston journalist who succumbed to cancer in 2000.

1993

City of Houston purchased Alief Park. Once a country campus of First United Methodist Church, the 37.3 acre  complex came complete with a community center/gymnasium, a swimming pool, a tennis complex, and plenty of  wide-open spaces.

1994

Sunnyside Park kicked off the Parks to Standards program with major renovations. Input by the neighborhood’s  residents, including students at Sunnyside Elementary School, was an integral part of the design process.

The campaign to give the Memorial Park Golf Course a major renovation began. The course, a local favorite with a  national reputation, reopened to glowing reviews in 1995.

1995

Mason Park’s weight room and tennis center were upgraded.

The Southwest Tennis Center was renamed the Lee LeClear Tennis Center after its long time director, who had  recently died.

1996

Milby Park became the headquarters for the Houston Metropolitan Area Youth Soccer League.

The Louis and Annie Friedman Clock Tower went up at the corner of Travis and Congress Streets, built by Saul and  Elaine Friedman to honor his parents. The clock in the tower was originally housed in the 1904 City Hall building  which was lost in a fire. The clock tower overlooks Market Square Park.

1997

Mason Park, already at more than 100 acres, acquired 3.92 more through purchase from the Texas National Guard  Armory.

The Hispanic Culture Plaza was built in Moody Park, along with a beautiful new swimming pool complex.

Stude Park was renovated to better serve citizens in the 21st Century.

1998

Emancipation Park received renovations through the Parks to Standards program.

2000

The First Tee at F.M. Law Park opened October 28, 2000. In its first 5 years, 6,000 students participated in this golf  education program and life skills program.

2003

Houston became the 4th city in the U.S. to sign the Urban Conservation Treaty for Migratory Birds.

2004

Joe Turner was named Director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department in July, 2004.

2006

Keith-Wiess Park was the scene of a massive flood control program. The carrying capacity of Halls Bayou was  greatly increased when a series of wet bottom detention ponds were created at Keith–Wiess. As part of the project,  the park received a new trail system around the ponds' native landscaping.

Lake Houston Park, a 5000-acre tract of woodlands trails and creeks ready for canoes, was transferred from the  Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to the City of Houston on August 25, 2007. Addition of the park to H.P.A.R.D.  brought camping and overnight cabins into the city system, as well as new equestrian trails and bird watching  opportunities.

Reveille Park renovations were unveiled on September 23, 2006. They included the replacement of the pool  complex. Funding included a $100,000 contribution from the George Lindler family.

Levy Park celebrated its renovation on September 30, 2006. Its two-part redo was funded by the Upper Kirby District  and the Intown Chamber of Commerce, and included a dog park.

The Department celebrated the 50th anniversary of the construction of its Gragg Park building. Built in 1956 as the  Farnsworth and Chambers Building, the Gragg Building served as NASA’s first Houston base of operations, and  subsequently became H.P.A.R.D.’s home in 1977.

Mason Park, located on Brays Bayou, received a new flood control project. Dedicated on October 27, 2007, a series  of wetland ponds was designed to filter urban pollution from storm runoff and slow its rush into the bayou. The  project was built through the partnership of several agencies and included volunteer work by students from Austin  and Chavez High Schools.

Fonde Park received a makeover and was dedicated on November 4, 2006.

Renovation of Baldwin Park was undertaken by the Midtown Management District. The dedication was held on  November 13, 2006, at a ceremony attended by City and State dignitaries.

2007

H.P.A.R.D. held its largest Arbor Day ever when 1,300 volunteers planted 20,000 trees in 1 day on the Will Clayton  Parkway esplanades. Additional trees were planted in the area by TxDOT, which increased the total number of trees  planted on the esplanades to 35,000. The new urban forest was designed to present a green welcome to our city for  people arriving at Bush Intercontinental Airport and will help reduce pollution and cut down on summer heat and  water runoff. Partners included the Houston Airport System, Trees for Houston, TxDOT, and Congressman Ted Poe.

On March 24, 2007, Randall P. Jones Park was renamed Richard Brock Park after one of Houston’s early black  leaders. Among Mr. Brock’s achievements was the establishment of Booker T. Washington School.

The City of Houston and the Houston Parks Board agreed to purchase the 20-acre tract long known as West 11th  Street Park. While most of the property was bought outright, a 5-acre tract was used as collateral for a H.P.B. loan.  The Texas legislature, under the guidance of State Senator John Whitmire, included the $3,750,000 necessary to  pay off the loan in the state budget. Signed on May 28, 2007, the budget ensured that the towering trees and their  ecosystem  will be protected forever. The park was transferred to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

On June 8, 2007, the City of Houston announced plans to renovate the Hermann Park mini train, extending its tracks  to include stops at three additional depots in the park. An $11,000,000 renovation of the park’s Lake Plaza also  occured, greatly improving the accessibility of the park and Zoo. This project was a joint effort of the City of Houston  and the Hermann Park Conservancy.

In August, the former private Hackberry Golf Course was added to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department  as the 22-acre Hackberry Park.

New amenities at Haden Park opened to the public in September, including a new playground, improved security  lighting, asphalt trail, walkways, drinking fountain, and a gazebo. The renovations totaled $394,000.

The Soccer After School program expanded to benefit 400 students at six middle schools

The Nature Center at Lake Houston Park opened in November, made possible by a $100,000 donation from the  George Mitchell Foundation.

A statue of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was unveiled in December at Hermann Park’s Houston Garden Center.  Created Ed Dwight, the statue was the result of the work of Council Member Ada Edwards and the Hermann Park  Conservancy.

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