New park aims to reclaim more green in downtown Houston

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A growing city often means a loss of green space, but in downtown Houston, there's a big effort to reclaim land for green space to make it a better place to live and work.

Park plans are moving forward for a one-acre lot at 1500 Fannin, which is currently a parking lot and automotive shop.

Bob Eury, of the Downtown Redevelopment Authority, says it secured a ground lease on the property and has received substantial input toward the new park's features.

"First, it's a neighborhood park. It's exciting when people come from longer distances," says Eury, emphasizing the growing residential population.

He says when it comes to the park's future visitors, "many of them are already here."

There are plans for the southern Downtown Park to include a dog park, a two-story café, a game room, as well as a garden and lawn with a stage and recreation area.

The land is near the South Texas College of Law, a block from the light rail, and just three blocks from the Toyota Center.

Cindy Thomsen's restaurant, Your Pie Houston, is at ground level, just below hundreds of residential units on this block. She says the people in the neighborhood could really use the dog park.

"Just this area within a two-block radius has become more vibrant. We've had the restaurant here for about two years, and you can just feel it," said Thomsen.

A longtime preschool nearby, Crme de la Crme, says it serves many downtown office workers' families. Preschool director, Brenda Rhodes, believes this will mean a breath of fresh air for staff and students.

"A lot of parents will come and have lunch with their children, so it would be a great opportunity for them," Rhodes said.

The specific park plans are preliminary. The Downtown Redevelopment Authority says the next step is to choose a design firm. Construction of the park is scheduled to be finished by late 2020.

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