New Hike-and-Bike Trail Opens on White Oak Bayou Greenway
Rachel Compton, Elmore Public Relations
Rachel [at] elmorepr [dot] com / 713-524-0661
Catherine Butsch, Houston Parks Board
catherine [at] houstonparksboard [dot] org / 713-942-8500 x18
Houston Parks Board Celebrates Latest Bayou Greenways 2020 Project
HOUSTON, TX – December 9, 2016 – On Friday morning, Houston Parks Board, Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ 5), the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Harris County Flood Control District celebrated the ribbon cutting of a new section of White Oak Bayou Greenway as part of the Bayou Greenways 2020 project. More than two miles long, the hike-and-bike trail provides a new off-street route for those traveling to and from downtown, and one section showcases brick salvaged from the historic Yale Street Bridge.
Bayou Greenways 2020 is a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Houston Parks Board, the City of Houston and the Houston Parks and Recreation Department and is being implemented in close collaboration with the Harris County Flood Control District. It will transform 3,000 acres of underutilized land along nine major waterways into a 150-mile park and trail system that crisscrosses the city.
This new segment of White Oak Bayou Greenway, which officially opened on Friday, branches off from the Heights trail where it crosses Studemont Street and extends west more than two miles along White Oak Bayou. The project will give the public unprecedented access to 86 acres of greenspace along the water.
The trail immediately beneath the Yale Street Bridge, which remains closed as the Texas Department of Transportation completes its bridge replacement project, will open sooner than originally anticipated: in the first quarter of 2017.
Amenities along the greenway include a 10-foot wide hike-and-bike trail, landscaping and neighborhood connections to Harvard Street, Bonner Street, Patterson Street, Yale Street and Heights Boulevard. Additionally, brick salvaged from the historic Yale Street Bridge is embedded in the new trail between Heights and Yale. Construction of this segment of greenway, which cost approximately $4 million, was largely funded as a project of the Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority and supplemented by a voter-approved City of Houston bond.
“We are thrilled to celebrate the opening of yet another segment of White Oak Bayou Greenway,” said Beth White, President and CEO of Houston Parks Board. “Our efforts to connect Houstonians to parks and greenspace – and one another – is becoming a reality as we create new neighborhood connections and transform this area for all to use and enjoy.”
“By improving the quality of life for current and future residents, this trail will enhance opportunities for appropriate growth and redevelopment,” said Ann Lents, Chair, Memorial Heights Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ 5). “Our volunteer board is grateful to the elected City officials who oversee our work for allowing us to be a part of such an important project.”
“The completion of this segment of the White Oak Bayou system is a win for all Houstonians,” said Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “We are happy to join with our partners to celebrate this new connection in off-road transportation and recreation opportunities that help bring neighborhoods together through greenspace.”
“Just as it did for the Sims Bayou Greenway, a federal flood damage reduction project has provided a palette for the Houston Parks Board and their partners to deliver this trail project in a cost-effective manner for the benefit of adjacent communities,” said Matthew Zeve, Director of Operations for the Harris County Flood Control District.
In 2012, thanks in part to the “Parks By You!” campaign, Houston voters overwhelmingly approved a bond proposal that set aside $100 million for Bayou Greenways 2020. Houston Parks Board is raising a matching $120 million and is managing acquisition, design and construction of the Bayou Greenways. More than $103 million has been raised to date, including an historic $50 million donation from the Kinder Foundation.
A nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing access to quality parks and greenspace for all people, Houston Parks Board creates, improves, protects and advocates for parkland in the Greater Houston region. 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 create a 150-mile network of connected parks and trails along Houston’s major waterways. For more information, visit www.houstonparksboard.org.