City of Houston hires renowned designer to revamp Memorial Park


Everything you love about Memorial Park is going to be enhanced, but the project could take a couple of decades to finish.

There's never a shortage of people who love Memorial Park.

"I think so many utilize this park, and this park is so well known by everyone, even people outside of the state," runner Linda Nunez said.

But decades of constant use and that devastating drought two years ago have taken their toll. There are fewer trees, more erosion and a lot of frayed edges to the much beloved park. It's time to make some major changes.

Shellye Arnold with the Memorial Park Conservancy asked, "What can this park be for Houston? How can we fix a damaged ecology? How can we improve the amenities, how can we fix the infrastructure issues?"

About a year ago, the Memorial Park Conservancy formed a committee to conduct a nationwide search for a landscape architect to overhaul the park. This week, it announced that New York-based Thomas Woltz will lead the effort.

"The commitment is to retain the natural beauty here but also to make sure whatever's addressed here is providing the input and capability to make sure the nature here lasts," committee chair Chris Knapp said.

The initial phase will involve lots of public input. The entire project could take 20 years to complete. But when it's done, it could be a park that will be forward-thinking, yet still respectful of its long history.

"I think we need to try to restore it to the way it was, and maybe even better," runner Manuel Bedoy said.

One of the priorities is refreshing the popular jogging trail.

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