Published Apr 26, 2022 by Brina Morales
There’s no shortage of green space in Houston. In fact, there are more than 366 parks and over 200 green spaces in the city alone. And our city parks are only getting better. Transformative projects are underway at three Houston Inner-Loop favorites – Hermann Park, Memorial Park and Buffalo Bayou.
Memorial Park Land Bridge
The Land Bridge and Prairie project is moving forward as part of the Memorial Park Master Plan. The land bridge tunnels will connect the north and south sides of the park, while a native prairie will cover the tunnels.
The project will create 100-acres of green space for visitors and wildlife to enjoy. The eastbound tunnel is now open, the westbound tunnel is expected to open in May. The project is expected to be fully completed by the end of this year.
The Hermann Park Conservancy recently broke ground on two projects that are part of its master plan. The Commons will be a 26-acre area in the southwest portion of the park, an area the conservancy describes as “underutilized.”
A new two-acre playground for children of all abilities will anchor The Commons. It will also include a decked area that will be designed around the park’s oak trees, new grilling and picnic areas and a central lawn. New nature habitats and renovations to the Fannin Pavilion are also included in the project.
The Commons is set to be completed by 2024. Construction on the McWilliams Dog Park is also underway. It will encompass more than 2.5 acres off South MacGregor Way along Brays Bayou. The park will include separate areas for small and large dogs, a dog wash station, play equipment and more. Construction is expected to be completed this year.
Buffalo Bayou East
For years, most of the development along Buffalo Bayou has occurred west of Downtown, but the Buffalo Bayou East Master Plan is underway to breathe new life to the East End. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership announced the plan in 2019 and it is separated into four sections: Downtown Gateway, Central Hub, Industrial District and Eastern Terminus.
The master plan hopes to add more than 40 miles of new and improved trails and bikeways, seven new pedestrian bridges and seven new water access points. It also calls for creating more than 200 acres of new and improved parks, including upgrades to Japhet Creek and Tony Marron Park, and repurposing abandoned industrial structures along the Bayou. According to Buffalo Bayou Partnership, the East Downtown Trail, which begins just east of Allen’s Landing and stretches to Austin Street, will be completed later this spring.
“It represents a key connection between downtown and Buffalo Bayou East, furthering Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s goal to create connectivity all the way from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin,” said Anne Olson, President of Buffalo Bayou Partnership.
The proposed projects will require public and private partnerships and will take more than 10 years to be fully accomplished.
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