NEWS Parks near UH to be connected

The National Park Service is teaming up with the University of Houston and their community partners to improve hike and bike connections between three Southeast Houston neighborhood parks and the new 31-mile Brays Bayou trail. By connecting these parks (MacGregor Park, Park at Palm Center and George T. Nelson Park) with a nearby Houston Bayou Greenway trail, the community will have recreational access to nearby park lands, recreational amenities and natural landscapes.

"The UH project, Southeast Houston’s Pathway to Houston’s Future, won support from the Rivers, Trails & Conservation Assistance Program (RTCA), the community assistance arm of the National Park Service, because of its demonstration for a strong collaborative effort between multiple community partners, its proven commitment to public engagement, and for the project’s potential of providing for multiple recreational, educational, cultural and health benefits for the community," said Krista Sherwood, community planner, NPS RTCA.

“While touted as the world’s energy capital, Houston is also a lush green canopy of trees and multiple waterways of bayous, streams and lakes,” said Carroll Parrott Blue, a research professor in the Center for Public History and principal investigator for the National Endowment for the Arts funded Southeast Houston Arts Initiative based at UH. “Houston’s leaders signal much promise in Houston becoming a green and sustainable city. The Houston Bayou Greenway Initiative proposes to employ a series of connecting bike and hike trails to link all bayous to each other. This new UH-Southeast Houston partnership with the National Park Service’s RTCA program will help us to achieve our goal of connecting UH to Southeast Houston by making most of Houston’s 656.3 square miles accessible by bike or hike bayou trails.”

The support from RTCA will help UH and the Southeast Houston Transformation Alliance (SEHTA) develop strategic plans and processes for organizational and trail development, identifying additional partners and provide overall technical support in local planning processes. RTCA will also assist in identifying funding sources and youth engagement opportunities.

“Houston Bayou Greenways is an approximately $480 million project that will be tackled by many public and private stakeholders in several phases over 10 to 15 years. When complete, the greater Houston area will have added 4,000 acres of new and equitably distributed green spaces that can also serve the function of flood control and storm water quality enhancement,” said Roksan Okan-Vick, executive director of the Houston Parks Board. “We will also have completed 300 miles of continuous all-weather hike and bike trails that will meander through those greenways – an amenity unparalleled in the nation. We are delighted to see initiatives, such as Southeast Houston’s Pathway to Houston’s Future, will provide connections from neighborhoods to Bayou Greenway trails.”

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