Hermann Park lake to close for year

HOUSTON Hermann Park's lake plaza shut down this week for a $15 million renovation project. The work will require the area be closed during the year long construction project.

When completed, Lake Plaza will be almost double in size and will provide improved access to the Houston Zoo, a renovated pedal boats facility with a new boathouse, a new Hermann Park Mini-Train depot with satellite stations around the park, a new restroom facility, a new food pavilion, and a new bridge across McGovern Lake.

Vaughn Construction is the contractor hired by the Hermann Park Conservancy to complete the construction. Renovations are expected to be completed in March of 2009.

"While no one wants to be inconvenienced by construction, the end result will be well worth it," said Joe Turner, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department. "We are sure the improvements will enhance the park experience for visitors for decades to come."

The entire Lake Plaza area, from the front edge of the central parking lot to McGovern Lake, will be closed for construction. A protected pedestrian walkway will run from the parking lot, providing uninterrupted access to the main entrance to the Houston Zoo.

"The Lake Plaza project will further enhance the Hermann Park experience for all visitors," said Doreen Stoller, Executive Director, Hermann Park Conservancy. "When completed, Lake Plaza will offer visitors a shaded terrace with a café featuring a full array of food and drinks, as well as chairs and tables where people can congregate and mingle with neighbors and family members. We hope park visitors will bear with our growing pains and look forward to the reopening of Lake Plaza in March of 2009."

In addition to the beauty and enhanced functionality of Lake Plaza, the project is "going green." In an effort to adopt an environmentally friendly approach to construction, the new buildings will be built to the standards of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™, the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings. The landscaping and plaza itself will be designed to protect against erosion and collect rainwater for park maintenance.

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