HOUSTON – A Third Ward developer has loaned a vacant lot at McGowen and Live Oak streets in Houston for a community chess park, according to Third Ward Complete Communities.
Ciara Jarmon, a developer and realtor with Realinc LLC that specializes in Third Ward real estate, said she provided the land and hopes the park becomes a safe green space for residents of all ages. She said she wanted to offer a fresh outlook to stakeholders of what community advocates are willing to bring to Third Ward.
“I am doing what I can do to be a part of the solution to this major problem, not just for my family but for others as well,” said Jarmon, who lives in Third Ward with her family. “I am hoping to generate and bridge more collaboration between the public and private sectors and increase black ownership and generational wealth in Third Ward.”
For many years before the formalized park, local residents frequently came together to play games such as cards, dominoes and chess. They meet regularly at the corner of Sauer and Tuam streets in a vacant lot under a tree with discarded tables and broken chairs, according to Ed Pettitt with the Third Ward Complete Communities program.
A new owner recently purchased the vacant lot where residents played. In recent years, developers have torn down the shotgun and bungalow houses in Third Ward to make room for luxury townhomes, Pettitt said.
“The realization that this vacant lot may not be vacant much longer sparked an effort to identify a new space with better infrastructure to make a case for long-term investment,” he said.
Pettitt, who is the chair of the Parks & Neighborhood Character work for Third Ward Complete Communities, is calling for partnerships with the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and other partners.