Memorial Park to get a facelift

February 19, 2008 5:02:21 PM PST
There are some big changes coming to Memorial Park.The city is looking to raise $10 million to improve the popular Houston spot.

So far the city has committed to $3 million with another $1.1 million donated privately. Now organizers are looking for the public's help to raise the rest.

"It's the best place to be in Houston," said runner Bob Benoza.

Benoza goes to Memorial Park every day. When he isn't feeding the squirrels, he's running the trails and is far from alone.

"On Saturdays and Sundays, if you don't get out of here by 7am, you can't find parking," said park user Gary Schueler. "On the weekends it gets very crowded as it is in the evenings."

Crowded trails and a lack of parking are familiar complaints about Memorial Park, but change is on the way. Tuesday, Mayor Bill White announced the $10 million campaign to add amenities for hikers, bikers and runners.

"The running community in Houston has a special fondness for Memorial Park, and for good reason," said Mayor Bill White in a release. "The running trail system is one of the best in our area, and the planned improvements will only add to its distinction as one of the favorite running spots in Houston."

"It will allow more people to spread out," said Otis Johnson who works as the park's tennis center manager. "Right now we're all congested in one spot, this will help tap some of those people away and enable everyone to use the park more fully."

The project will include:

  • A longer outer loop running trail that will approximately parallel the current Seymour Lieberman Exercise Trail
  • A pedestrian/bicycle bridge to allow park visitors to safely cross Memorial Drive and provide connectivity to the North and South sides of the park and its trails
  • A new Running Center will be built at the end of Picnic Lane complete with showers and other amenities for runners
  • A new Tennis Plaza is also being planned, in front of the existing Tennis Center
  • Improved lighting along the trails is also in the plan

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