H.P.A.R.D. Park Histories
2008 - 2014
The Memorial Park Conservancy undertook a $10,000,000 capital campaign to provide new amenities and improve connectivity in the park.
The inaugural run of the improved Hermann Park Mini-Train took place in March. The Hermann Park Conservancy began renovation of Lake Plaza as part of Phase II of its Master Plan.
The grand opening of the Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark took place in May. The 30,000-square foot facility was named in recognition of a gift from the Jamail family.
A massive flood control project built within Keith-Wiess Park opened in August, including new ponds and woodland trails for the passive use of park visitors.
The historic clubhouse in MacGregor Park was outfitted as a fitness center.
Hurricane Ike hit Houston in September
The skatepark at Cliff Tuttle Park, built in January 2008, was renamed the Joe and Theresa Padilla Skatepark.
In October, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department became the largest park agency in the United States to be accredited through the National Recreation and Park Association’s CAPRA accreditation program, the gold standard for parks agencies.
Townwood Community Center opened to the public in December. Renovations to Townwood Park included a new playground, sidewalks, trail improvements, a new parking lot, landscaping, and site drainage improvements.
Held in January, the first annual Metal & Muscle Expo introduced paralympic sports to wounded veterans and others with physical and visual disabilities.
Carverdale Park was renamed R.L. and Cora Johnson Park.
Phase I of the Memorial Park Conservancy’s $10,000,000 Capital Campaign began in January with construction on a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to span Memorial Drive, connecting the north and south sides of Memorial Park for the safety of park visitors.
Hackberry Park Community Center opened.
Cloverland Park Community Center was renamed for Bessie Swindle.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Urban Forestry Facility opened in northwest Houston.
Construction began in September on the CVS Boundless Playground at Eastwood Park. Designed to allow children of all abilities to play together, the playground was a partnership between H.P.A.R.D., the Houston Parks Board, CVS Caremark All Kids Can, and Boundless Playgrounds, Inc. Total cost for the playground was $408,000.
September’s Park to Park Walk in the Fourth Ward celebrated the new West Webster Park and groundbreaking for renovations to Wiley Park.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department and SWA Landscape Architects received the Award for Excellence from the Texas Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for the Lake Houston Wilderness Park Master Plan.
In November,the Houston Parks and Recreation Department moved from temporary offices to its newly-renovated permanent home at Gragg Park.
Also in November, the ribbon was cut on the Living Bridge in Memorial Park, begun in January to provide safe transit for pedestrians and bicyclists across automobile traffic on Memorial Drive.
In January, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department received a $50,000 grant from the United States Soccer Foundation to expand the department’s after-school soccer program, Soccer for Success.
The Boundless Playground at Eastwood Park opened.
Construction began in March on the Rosemont Bridge, designed to span Buffalo Bayou and Memorial Drive for pedestrians in Buffalo Bayou Park.
In April, the Houston Astros Major League Baseball Youth Academy opened at Sylvester Turner Park to provide free baseball and softball instruction to Houston youth.
In July, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department opened a new 4.5-mile trail in Lake Houston Wilderness Park, the work of three teams of the AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps.
A 1,200-square foot water sprayground opened in August at Hackberry Park, funded by H-E-B.
Renovation began in August in Sam Houston Park through a $1,000,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, combined with $1,000,000 in Capital Improvement Plan funds.
An $80,000 grant from the Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice in August funded three additional After School Achievement Program sites.
In December, a $15,000 state-of-the-art GTECH After School Advantage Computer Lab opened at the Tidwell Park Community Center.
Extreme winter weather occurred in February.
The renovated Godwin Park Community Center reopened to the public. Improvements included a new roof, new HVAC system, and complete renovation of the building interior.
Buffalo Bayou Park’s Rosemont Bridge opened in March, connecting trails on the north and south banks of the bayou with trails and parks in nearby neighborhoods.
A new Playground Without Limits and an Adaptive Trail at the Metropolitan Multi-Service Center opened to the public at March’s Festival of Abilities. The wheelchair-accessible playground gave children of all abilities a place to play with their friends and families, and the trail was designed to give people a place to train and improve their wheelchair skills.
The ninth H-E-B-funded water sprayground in the Houston Parks and Recreation Department opened at Jaycee Park.
A historic drought caused water shortages, tree deaths, and a smoking ban in city parks during Fall 2011.
In September, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department received a $1,000,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department for Phase I of the expansion and renovation of Emancipation Park.
A new 8,600-square foot greenhouse opened in December in Memorial Park, replacing an old greenhouse which had been damaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008. The cost for the project was $1,445,727, partially funded by the Hurricane Ike Aid and Recovery Program.
In January,the Summer Food Service Program, sponsored since 1984 by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, received a $35,000 contribution from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program.
Five Houston Parks and Recreation Department projects were recognized in the Houston-Galveston Area Council Parks and Natural Area awards: Lake Houston Wilderness Park Phase I Improvements; the Memorial Park Planned Forestry Conservation and Management Demonstration Project; Market Square Park; the Rosemont Bridge; and the Memorial Park Outer Loop Trail.
In February,the Houston Parks and Recreation Department received a $20,000 grant from the National Recreation and Park Association to support its sports and physical activity programs for disabled veterans.
The grand opening of Phase I improvements at Lake Houston Wilderness Park in March introduced the public to a new park entrance, new cabins and campsites, over five miles of new roads and trails, and a new lake.
The Winzer Park basketball court was chosen in April as one of the recipients of a grant from Sprite.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department received a $53,200 grant in May from the Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program and the National Recreation and Park Association to promote the Summer Food Service Program.
The completion in June of the Jaycee Park Renovation Project resulted in a walking trail, renovated tennis courts, a new playground, an H-E-B sprayground (opened in 2011), reforestation, tables, benches, and beautification.
Scottcrest Park was renamed Margaret Jenkins Park.
Twenty cherry trees were planted in Hermann Park’s Japanese Garden to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the Houston-Chiba City sister city relationship.
In June, the Emancipation Park Capital Campaign Project received donations from the Kinder Foundation, Houston Endowment, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department totaling $5,000,000.
The newly renovated Glenbrook Park pool opened during July’s Splash Day celebration.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department and TIRZ 14/Fourth Ward Redevelopment Authority announced plans in August to preserve the site of the historic Bethel Missionary Baptist Church as Bethel Park.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department entered new digital ground by offering Art in Parks, a multi-platform guide to municipal art in city parks.
The Kingwood Community Center opened in September.
A $35,000 grant received in October from the Walmart Foundation supported the Summer Food Service program.
Renovation plans for Moody Park were announced at October’s Fall Fiesta.
The Emancipation Park renovation project received a $120,000 grant in October from the Timken Foundation for a fitness center.
The Sam Houston Park Master Plan began with an October groundbreaking ceremony.
A $250,000 grant from the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo was announced in November to replace trees lost in Memorial Park during the 2011 drought.
Houston voters passed a bond referendum that included $160,000,000 in park improvement funds.
In January, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department received a $220,000 Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Urban Outdoor Recreation Grant to renovate Shady Lane Park.
The United States Soccer Foundation awarded the department a $50,000 grant in February to light a soccer field at Milby Park.
Houston Rockets Point Guard Jeremy Lin held a basketball skills clinic at Fonde Recreation Center.
Also in February, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and Harris County Precinct One received a $399,999 Coastal Impact Assistance Program grant from the United States Department of the Interior to restore the natural environment of Willow Waterhole Greenway and install educational signage.
Hermann Park’s Houston Garden Center closed in July to undergo transformation into the McGovern Centennial Gardens. The area’s sculptures were removed for restoration and storage before being returned to the park.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department received a grant from Dr. Pepper/Snapple for 24 recycle bins to be placed in Houston parks.
In August, the Transportation Enhancement Program administered by the Texas Department of Transportation awarded four grants totaling $6,594,406 to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department to complete hike and bike projects.
The public was given the opportunity to dig up plants from the Houston Garden Center prior to its renovation. Plants sold for $2 each.
In September, the Friends of the Lee LeClear Tennis Center announced a $5,000,000 capital campaign to renovate the 40-year-old facility.
Construction on the Running Trails Center in Memorial Park marked the near-completion of the Conservancy’s $10,000,000 capital campaign.
Renovated greens at the Sharpstown Golf Course reopened for play in October.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department hosted the annual National Recreation and Park Association Congress and Expo, during which it was announced that the department had been re-accredited by the organization. A vast renovation project at Shady Lane Park was opened to the public.
TXU Energy planted more than 200 trees in Herman Brown Park.
December’s grand opening of Bethel Park celebrated the transition of a historically important site into a park property in the shadow of downtown Houston.
The newly renovated Moody Park Community Center reopened in February. The renovations and upgrades were funded through a combination of approximately $3,800,000 in capital improvement funds and a $500,000 Housing and Community Development grant.
In May,the Houston Parks and Recreation Department received a grant from Dr. Pepper/Snapple for 24 recycle bins to be placed in Houston parks.
A new playground and a refurbished swimming pool building opened to the public at Schwartz Park.
In October,the department received a $38,000 grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to support the Houston PARKS Adventure program at 24 community centers.
The ribbon was cut at October’s Fun Fall Festival, opening Phase III improvements at Keith-Wiess Park to the public. Amenities included a new 135-space parking lot, sidewalks, picnic tables, barbecue grills, soccer goals, lighting, and bleachers on concrete pads.
The first stretch of bayou trails completed through the ambitious Bayou Greenways 2020 program was opened during a ribbon cutting ceremony at Spurlock Park, on Brays Bayou.