New project planned for Houston's east end

January 25, 2011 6:01:46 PM PST
Changes are coming to Houston's east end near downtown, thanks to the future Dynamo stadium.

The stadium is set to be built off Walker and Dowling streets. Now developers are working to build a place for families along nearby Bastrop Street.

People excited about ushering in a new era for downtown's east end are hoping another major project set to coincide with the opening of the Dynamo stadium will a bring even more uniqueness.

The view from one east downtown townhome is less than desirable for Terry Penrice.

"Looking at what we are working with, no it's not the most attractive thing to come out to your balcony and see," he said.

But soon the desolate city easement will be transformed into a symbol of international unity that represents Houston and its sister cities.

Preliminary concepts show an 80-foot right of way that spans six blocks on Bastrop from Bell to Walker, taking on a new identity called the Sister Cities Promenade.

The pedestrian-themed park will lead to the door step of the future Dynamo stadium.

"We intend to have sculptures and possibly fountains and related park," said Jim Olive with the Houston-Shenzen Sister City Association.

The Sister Cities of Houston is still months away from finalizing a design and breaking a ground, but the multicultural promenade will likely feature 17 gardens representing each sister city of Houston.

Planners also want it to be an integral part of experiencing a Dynamo game.

"Including before the Dynamo games we will have some sort of festivities and then everybody walks into together, as they do in Seattle," said Ellen Goldberg, president of Sister Cities of Houston.

It's a $3 million project that one east downtown dweller can't wait to become reality.

"It shows that this is a progressive environment and what was once probably an eyesore can be changed to something positive and beautiful for all of us to enjoy," Penrice said.

Before deciding on a final design, Sister Cities organizers will seek community input, and they would like the park's grand opening to coincide with the Dynamo stadium grand opening next year.