New initiative to bring more green spaces to Houston

July 20, 2010 4:59:00 PM PDT
Safe places to walk, jog and bike are all part of a plan to bring more parks to the Houston area -- and that's not the only plus. The added parks and bayou work could also help with the flooding problems some neighborhoods have to deal with.

It's called the Bayou Greenway Initiative and in large part it looks to return bayous from the drainage ditches into which they were transformed years ago by the Army Corps of Engineers, into the waterways they were generations ago. The balancing act is to have them continue to carry floodwater to the bay, while providing Houston with a new green identity.

Most cities are founded on the banks of a river or a bay, but Houston was founded beside a bayou. Now people are starting to embrace that past and build on it.

"No major city in America will have the green identity, the green space we have already and as we begin to develop these bayous," said Jeff Mosley of the Greater Houston Partnership,

Ten major bayous cut through the city and county. Buffalo Bayou is already an attraction with its walking trails and the greenway project would bring some of the same amenities to other bayous - 250 miles of trails, some 50 parks and natural areas beside the waterways, touching every part of the county.

It's already drawing big supporters such as developer Ed Wulfe for one.

"Well, lasting impact. I think it could be as significant as the building of the Port of Houston which certainly changed the whole economic structure and life of Houston," said Wulfe, President of Wulfe and Co.

Under the plan, flood control would be helped by retention basins that could also double as park space. Art Story Park is one example.

For those who like to hike and bike, new trails mean new paths to travel.

"I think it would add real value to the city by far," said jogger Mike Huertes.

"If the trails came up into Spring Branch and we could take it into White Oak, it'd be fantastic," said biker Joel Smith.

Parks, exercise, flood control - all in one package, says the Greater Houston Partnership

"This is one of those classic win-wins where you have water quality, air quality and green space for the public," said Mosley.

Click here for a closer look at the Houston Bayou Greenway Initiative, where we have maps that detail the plans for parks and bayous all over town.


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