Mayor's Office Press Release
Mayor Names First Neighborhood Parks & Donors in Public-Private Improvement Push
October 15, 2019 -- Mayor Sylvester Turner’s public-private partnership called 50/50 Park Partners has identified its first 22 neighborhood parks for improvements and long-range support, and corporate sponsors have already pledged major gifts to the project.
The selection of the 22 parks (see list below), two in each council district, marks the next steps toward upgrading 50 neighborhood parks run by the city’s Parks and Recreation Department.
H-E-B, Crown Castle, Chevron and Valero Energy Foundation will be the initial donors to the project. Pledges by other businesses, foundations and individuals are under consideration. In addition to providing financial support, Park Partners will each become stewards of a neighborhood park through volunteerism and community engagement.
Funding will also come from the City’s Parks Dedication Fund, established by city ordinance in 2007. It required residential developers to set aside land for parks development or pay a fee to the city to accomplish the same goal.
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the Houston Parks Board and the Greater Houston Partnership are key partners in the 50/50 coalition with the city, which will identify another 28 others based on facility needs.
“Improving neighborhood parks is a key part of the City’s efforts to improve the quality of life for every Houstonian,” Mayor Turner said today at the Houston Parks Board Annual Luncheon. “That is why we are making this commitment to strengthen the 50/50 Park Partners initiative. I encourage all of the leaders within this great city to join us in these efforts, to engage and invest in our communities throughout Houston and become a 50/50 Park Partner.”
Planned improvements to 50 parks, as the first phase of changes to all neighborhood parks, include walking trails, new playground equipment, lighting and outdoor tables.
To select the parks, parks department personnel evaluated the overall condition of parks and traveled through neighborhoods within a 10-minute walk of each one. Demographics of each neighborhood are considered, partly to ensure that the list includes parks in a variety of areas.
“Civic engagement and investment within our neighborhoods greatly improve quality of life, strengthening the region as a whole,” Bob Harvey, President and CEO, Greater Houston Partnership. “Through a collaborative partnership with the City of Houston, Houston Parks Board, and Houston Parks and Recreation Department, as well as the direct support of leading Houston companies, much will be accomplished.”
“We are delighted to play a pivotal role on this important initiative to focus improvements on neighborhood parks that are currently under-resourced,” said Beth White, President and CEO of Houston Parks Board. “50/50 Park Partners will connect businesses with neighborhoods, city agencies, and nonprofit organizations to enrich communities and strengthen our city.”
“Changing parks changes neighborhoods. We would like to thank our Park Partners and the businesses who have stepped forward to join us in this project. Their commitment to neighborhood parks will bring positive changes not only to parks but to neighborhoods across the city,” said Steve Wright, director of Houston Parks and Recreation Department.
Aron Ledet Park
Forest West Park
Hill (E.P.) Park
Freeway Manor Park
Oak Meadow Park
Nieto (Santos and Esther) Park
Tuttle (Cliff) Park
Braeburn Glen Park
Minchen ( Simon ) Park
About the Houston Parks Board:
A nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing access to quality parks and greenspace in the Greater Houston region, Houston Parks Board creates, improves, protects and advocates for parks for everyone. Since 1976, the organization has utilized public-private partnerships and its extensive philanthropic, government and community relationships to improve parks large and small. Houston Parks Board is currently leading the transformational $220 million Bayou Greenways 2020 project to complete a 150-mile network of connected parks and trails along Houston’s major waterways. For more information, visit www.houstonparksboard.org.
About the Houston Parks and Recreation Department:
HPARD stewards and manages over 37,851 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit www.houstonparks.org.
About the Greater Houston Partnership:
The Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the region, the Partnership champions growth across 11 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing more than 1,000 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place companies come together to make an impact. Learn more at Houston.org.