Joe Turner was appointed and approved by City Council as the Director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department in 2004.

As the Director he directs and manages all parks, parkways, and greenspaces belonging to the City of Houston. This includes improvements to those properties and the management of any others assigned to be under his authority by the mayor and city council. It is also his duty to approve and direct all new improvements and maintenance of these properties. He is also authorized to make rules and regulations for park properties.

Under his leadership the Houston Parks and Recreation Department works daily to fulfill the Department’s mission:

"To enhance the quality of urban life by providing safe well-maintained parks and offering affordable programming for our community

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100 Year Park Anniversary Celebration Grand Opening of Gragg Park

On Saturday, October 1, 2016, the Houston Parks and Recreation Department held a sneak peek at the renovations underway at Gragg Park. Final construction elements are underway, and we expect to open the park to the public in mid-October 2016. The headquarters for H.P.A.R.D. since 1976, Gragg Park is famous as NASA’s first location in Houston.


This free public event celebrated the 100 Year Anniversary of Houston’s park system, which was created by city council in 1916. The scope of work for the Gragg Park renovation includes the construction of a playground area with a modular unit with slides, decks, climbers, and plexipanels that cast colors on the ground, a net climber and swing unit, a play hill with decorative elephant statuary featuring the work of graffiti artist Gonzo, shade structures, a picnic area, sportsfield, sportsfield and site lighting, parking, entry signage, expansion of existing parking, trail work, site furnishing, fencing, earthwork, landscaping and irrigation. (Gragg Park Illustrative Plan)

100 Year Park Anniversary Celebration Committee:
Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks & Recreation Dept.

Michael Cordua, Co-Chair
Gene Locke, Co-Chair
Andrea White, Co-Chair

Suzy Bergner
Matt Burrus
Claudia Contreras

Roberto Contreras
Deborah Duncan
Terence Fontaine

Mindy Hildebrand
Caroline Kenney
Roy Marsh

Alicia Smith
Phoebe Tudor
Melissa Wilson
Nina Zilkha

This is a big year for employees and associates of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. We are celebrating the 100th anniversary of the creation of our department by city council and we hope you will join us as we celebrate 100 years of service to Houstonians (Invitation). These events will be part of the festivities:

Gragg Park
2999 South Wayside Blvd.
Houston TX, 77023



On Tuesday, March 8, 2016, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner congratulated the Houston Parks and Recreation Department for 100 years of service to the city and issued a proclamation naming the department’s anniversary date, March 15, 2016, as Houston Parks and Recreation Department Day. District C Council Member Ellen Cohen was on hand to read the proclamation. Photo Link


Houston Parks 100 Golf Party - February 18, 2016 at Memorial Park
Many thanks to all the volunteers and the golfers who made the Houston Parks and Recreation Department’s Caddy Hack Golf Tournament a great success! (Photo Gallery)



Houston Parks and Recreation Department Centennial in the News:

Great Day Houston show, February 4 – H.P.A.R.D. Director Joe Turner and Andrea White discuss the department’s 100th anniversary
Chron Blog, March 16, 2016: Two Big Announcements Made During 100-Year Anniversary Party for Houston Parks
Culture Map, March 16, 2016: Parks Department Celebrates 100 Years of Green with a Throwback Party to Remember


In recognition of the historical significance of Emancipation Park, the City’s celebration of the park’s redevelopment has been rescheduled to Juneteenth weekend 2017. There will be no event on November 12, 2016.

The park will open to the public in January 2017. The Emancipation Park Conservancy and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department will host a celebration of the park redevelopment with a ceremony and festivities on Sunday, June 18, 2017.


Lady Bird Johnson Tribute - Wildflower Planting Project - November 5, 2016
Join H.P.A.R.D. for one of the city’s most popular volunteer activities, the 10th Annual Lady Bird Johnson Tribute - Wildflower Planting Project 9:00 a.m., Saturday, November 5, 2016! Every fall, an army of volunteers meets to spread native wildflower seeds that will fill the city with vibrant colors come spring. To volunteer, please contact H.P.A.R.D. at

Locations and Other Information


Avondale Promenade Park – 424 Westheimer
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department submitted a grant application to Texas Park and Wildlife Department on October 1, 2016, requesting $1,000,000 in grant assistance for the development of Avondale Promenade Park at 424 Westheimer. The 0.2292-acre (9,988 sf) property is located on lower Westheimer at Whitney Street in the Avondale neighborhood of the Montrose area. HPARD acquired the property in 2015 conserve open space in this area of high need for parks.

Fall Activities Catalog Available Now
H.P.A.R.D.’s 2016 Fall Activities Guide and Class Catalog is available online now!

Art In Parks Online
Available as a publication, by cell phone, or on the web, Art In Parks is a multi-platform guide that offers information on 91 pieces of municipal art located in 24 parks across the city

Bayou Greenways 2020
Bayou Greenways 2020 is a public private project being developed to connect green corridors with hike and bike trails along bayous in the greater Houston Area

Bethel Park
Houston City Council has not yet approved fees for reservations at Bethel Park, located at 801 Andrews Street. The Houston Parks and Recreation Department is not yet authorized to issue permits for this site.

Brock Park Golf Course - June 7, 2016 - Until Further Notice
Beginning Tuesday, June 7, 2016, the Brock Park Golf Course is closed until further notice. Recent weather conditions have damaged two bridges in the park and the course is closed indefinitely for repairs.

Clinton Park Prairie Restoration – October 29, 2016
Volunteers are needed to help restore prairie habitat in Clinton Park, 200 Mississippi, from 9:00 – 11:00 a.m., Saturday, October 29!

Hermann Park Conservancy Run in the Park -November 12, 2016
Hermann Park Conservancy will host its 13thAnnual Run in the Park, Saturday, November 12, 2016. Come out for this 5K run/walk and a 1K kids’ fun run under the historic live oaks of Hermann Park.Registration is limited! Register now!

Memorial Park Fitness Center Closed Friday, September 23, 2016 - Monday, September 26, 2016
The Memorial Park Fitness Center will be closed from Friday, Sept 23 - Monday, Sept 26 while repairs to the ceiling tiles is performed. We anticipate reopening the center when repairs have been completed. Fitness patrons may use Fonde Community Center located at 110 Sabine Street during closure.

Municipal Pools Closed for the Season
Houston’s swimming pools are closed until the 2017 summer swim season.

Youth Tennis Summer Programs
The Houston Youth Tennis Program is a free, year-round program offered for youth ages 6 – 18 (ages 4 - 18 during the summer). Registration

Winter / Spring Activities Catalog Available Soon
H.P.A.R.D.’s 2016 Spring / Winter Activities Guide and Class Catalog will be available online soon!

Zina Garrison Academy Fun Walk – October 1, 2016
The Zina Garrison Academy invites Houstonians to take part in their First Annual ZGA Fun Walk, Saturday, October 1, 2016, at MacGregor Park.

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Routine Maintenance / Repair and Improvement Projects

Brays Bayou Trail, south bank between Scott Street and the Tierwester Pedestrian Bridge - November 2015 - Until Further Notice
Brock Park Golf Course - June 7, 2016 -– Until Further Notice
Cambridge Village Park/Southwest Police Station - May 2016 - Fall 2017
E.L. Crain Park - January 25, 2016 - Pavilion area closed - Fall 2016
Friendship Pavilion in Hermann Park - September 15, 2015 - Until Further Notice
Heights and White Oak Bayou Trails - February 27 – Until Further Notice
Keegan’s Bayou Trail - September 2016 - Until Further Notice
Lansdale Park - January 25, 2015 - Sprayground area under construction – Fall 2016
Lee and Joe Jamail Skatepark - April 4 - Until Further Notice
Levy Park - January 2014 - Until Further Notice
Meadowcreek Village Community Center - Under repair but open October 17, 2016 – November 14, 2016
Memorial Park Green Trail - January 29, 2016 - Until Further Notice
Municipal Golf – April 19, 2016
   Brock Park Golf Course is closed.
   Memorial Park is closed on Tuesdays.
   Sharpstown Park Golf Course is open as a par 3 course.
Tanglewood Park – July 15, 2016 - Winter 2017, depending on weather conditions
Tranquillity Park Fountain - July 15, 2016 - Winter 2016/17, depending on weather conditions
Wright Bembry Park - January 11, 2016 – Fall 2016, depending on weather conditions

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» Buffalo Bayou Partnership
» Emancipation Park Conservancy
» Friends of Cherryhurst Park
» Friends of Lee LeClear Tennis Center
» Friends of Mary Ann Francklow Park
» Friends of Mandel Park
» Friends of Oak Forest Park
» Friends of Woodland Park
» Grand Slam for Youth Baseball
» Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park
» Hermann Park Conservancy
» Houston Arboretum & Nature Center
» Houston Parks Board
» Levy Park Conservancy
» Memorial Park Conservancy
» Trees for Houston
» Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy


These facilities and park systems are not operated by the Houston Parks and Recreation Department. We provide this contact information as a public service.

» Alkek Velodrome
» Discovery Green
» Gerald D. Hines Waterwall Park
» Harris County Precinct One Park System
» Harris County Precinct Two Park System
» Harris County Precinct Three Park System
» Harris County Precinct Four Park System
» Heritage Society at Sam Houston Park
» Houston Museum of Natural Science
» Houston Zoo
» Market Square
» Miller Outdoor Theatre


» Capital Improvement Projects
» H.P.D. Crime Monitoring
» Houston Bike Share
» Mayor's Office of Special Events