NRPA’s Parks Build Community initiative is an extreme makeover with a purpose—to show the transformative value that urban parks can bring to a community. Begun in 2008, Parks Build Community projects have been completed in cooperation with NRPA’s vendors and other partners at Marvin Gaye Park in Washington, D.C., Selena Butler Park in Atlanta, Georgia, and the El Sereno Arroyo playground and children’s nature play garden in Los Angeles, California.
Design work is nearly complete for the latest Parks Build Community project in Houston, Texas, and the park is expected to be completed in time for the 2013 NRPA Congress. The latest Parks Build Community project is a retrofit of an existing park, Shady Lane, in north Houston. This park and community center serve a predominately Hispanic and African-American community which is composed in large part of families with young children. The park presently contains a small community center, an outdoor basketball court, soccer fields, and a modest playground, all of which are heavily used by members of the community, many of whom walk to the park.
NRPA, in collaboration with the Houston Parks & Recreation Department, the Houston Parks Board, and nearly a dozen partners, has been working for the past year on the design of the latest Parks Build Community project to serve this neighborhood. Once complete, the park will feature a new nature-themed playground a donation from PlayCore, a longstanding partner and donor to the Parks Build Community projects.
The new playground at Shady Lane has been designed by Merrie Talley of Talley Landscape Architects in conjunction with M2L Associates Landscape Architects. The park plan is already in final construction-phase drawings, and construction is expected to start in early summer.
The new playground will contain a water play feature, a climbing log, a mini wetland with a replica bayou boat that will be used for outdoor education, and trail connections that will eventually link to a regional trail system. The project will also feature an overlook and access point to Bretshire Basin, a major flood-control and bayou restoration project of the Harris County Flood Control District and the City of Houston Public Works Department.
The playground project was recently selected for a $220,000 Urban Outdoor Recreation grant by the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.
Tour and Dedication ceremony to be held during 2013 NRPA Congress
If you are attending Congress this year and would like to visit this remarkable Parks Build Community project and attend the planned dedication ceremony, mark your calendar for Thursday, October 10, 10:30 a.m., and check the Congress program for details on how you can sign up.
For more information about this Parks Build Community project and details on how you can contribute to its success, please contact Richard Dolesh at 703.858.2158.
Get additional details about the Shady Lane project by reading upcoming articles in issues of Parks & Recreation.