HOUSTON – If you have driven through Memorial Park lately, you have seen lots of construction.
Workers are preparing to build a lake and picnic area on the east side of the park. They will name it the “Eastern Glades.”
The Uptown Houston Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone is providing public money to help pay for the project.
“The leap of imagination here is imagine this road gone. This road is moving to the east. And all of the trees and the woods and everything you're seeing here will become connected as one part of the park,” Sarah Newbery, of Uptown Houston, said.
The movement of the road on the east side, along the running trail, means the running path will expand to a full 3 miles.
Shellye Arnold, president and CEO of the Memorial Park Conservancy, the group that manages 1,100 acres in the park, says the addition will be a great place for family picnics.
“It will contain trails and boardwalks. Additional restrooms. Picnic pavilions. It will be essentially a park within a park in 100 acres that doesn't exist today,” Arnold said.
The drought killed tens of thousands of trees in the park.
Park director Jay Daniel said there are now more trees in Memorial Park than before the drought.
“People don't realize that there were 20,000-30,000 trees that came out of the park. But since then -- and you can really see that across the way here -- there have been close to 130,000 trees replanted in the park,” Daniel said.
Compost from the shredded, dead trees will go back into the park to improve the soil quality.
“So what we're going to be doing is taking this compost material and inoculating it with these types of plants so that we can get a rich compost for our restoration projects throughout the park,” Memorial Park Conservancy conservation manager Carolyn White said.
The long-term plan called for more bike paths and a land bridge to connect the north and south sides of the park.
It is all part of the master plan paid for with public and private money.
“It's a real honor to be serving Houston and creating something that's better today and better for generations to come,” Arnold said.
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