Precinct 3 Master Plan outlines nearly $170M in projects for Spring-area parks, trails

ByMelissa Enaje, Emily Lincke, Hannah Brol Community Impact Newspaper logo
Wednesday, October 18, 2023
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HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- Harris County Precinct 3 recommended more than $758 million in improvements to its parks and trails to be completed over the next 20-plus years as part of a plan that will impact roughly 1.26 million people.

Released Aug. 31, the Precinct 3 Parks and Trails Master Plan includes recommendations for 69 existing parks, four new parks and 225 miles of new trails spanning from Cypress to Crosby.

"We needed a plan to connect residents with our amazing green spaces," Commissioner Tom Ramsey said. "Our population is expected to double by 2045, which means engineered solutions for green activity spaces are a must for future generations."

What you need to know

The plan divides Precinct 3 into four areas: Cypress, Spring, Humble and Crosby. Recommended parks projects in the Spring service area total nearly $44.2 million and include new facilities, natural features and renovations, per plan documents.

The plan also recommends 57 miles of trail projects totaling $125 million, the majority of which aim to build upon the existing Spring Creek and Cypress Creek greenways.

Of the four areas, Spring has the lowest anticipated population growth at 59% by 2045. Officials noted all future park development and trail networks will have to respond to the existing framework of the community as many of the area's developments were built over 20 years ago before trail connectivity was a priority.

"It's so important, I think, as these areas are developing to be getting the parkland now so that you can have large, beautiful parks in the future," said Jim Robertson, chair of the Cypress Creek Greenway Project.

Evan Bailey-an avid cyclist who owns Biking Roots with his wife, Alise, in Spring-said he was excited to read through the master plan until he saw the estimated costs and timelines for the recommended projects.

"Twenty years is kind of the timeline for a lot of the (projects) plus another 10 years possibly for delays," Bailey said. "So my kids would be grown and out of the house and have their own families probably by then."

  • Champion Forest Park: renovate parking lot; replace play equipment; and add an overlook of Cypress Creek, new walking trails, shade cover and bleachers to soccer fields
  • Collins Park: renovate parking lot and restrooms; upgrade field lighting; replace site furnishings, including bleachers; and add a war memorial, community center, tennis courts and a new picnic pavilion
  • Meyer Park: renovate parking lot and restrooms; replace all playground equipment and site furnishings; replace basketball hoop with covered basketball courts; and add a fishing pier, fitness equipment, additional playground equipment, pickleball courts and an additional restroom
  • Farm League Park: renovating restrooms and increase tree canopy
  • Kickerillo-Mischer Park Preserve: installing a larger pavilion, extend trails and add an additional restroom
  • Kissing Tree Park: reconfigure parking lot and add seating, walking paths, picnic areas, playground equipment, a pavilion and perimeter fencing
  • Klein Park: improving park drainage, increase tree canopy and consider uses other than baseball
  • Rothwood Park: developing trailhead with parking lot and drinking fountain and add outdoor classrooms, a boardwalk system, seating and a fishing pier

Note: Precinct 3's Spring service area also includes Burroughs and Matthews parks, which are located in Tomball.

How we got here

Following redistricting in 2022, Harris County Precinct 3 encompasses 555 square miles including 4,200 acres of parkland and 3,400 acres of greenway-the most of any precinct countywide. To maintain and improve upon the precinct's existing green space and prepare for anticipated population growth, Precinct 3 officials began working on a parks and trails master plan in 2022.

As part of the master plan, Precinct 3 officials completed an outreach phase to assess the needs and desires of the community, which included six meetings and an online survey conducted last fall.

"Thank you to the residents who took time to provide us feedback," Ramsey said. "They know their parks and trails better than anyone, so we're confident in the information incorporated into the plan."

The parks and trails master plan assesses both current and future needs for the area's parks and trails network. The analysis will inform the recommendations process that has a baseline framework for the next 30 years, according to plan documents.

What they're saying

"Our ability to provide access to green spaces ... is an incredibly important part of what we do as a county."-Tom Ramsey, Harris County Precinct 3 commissioner

"There needs to be a balance of (stormwater) detention, public access and use, and preservation for habitat and refuge."-Jim Robertson, Cypress Creek Greenway Project chair

"I think it's an awesome plan that would take too much money and too (much time) to complete."-Evan Bailey, co-owner, Biking Roots, Spring-area bike shop

What's next

To fund these recommended projects, Ramsey said Precinct 3 will use funding it received through Harris County's $1.2 billion bond passed by voters in November 2022. The bond included a $200 million proposition for parks and trails to be distributed among the county's four precincts.

Additionally, Ramsey said the precinct will partner with local utility districts and nonprofits, and apply for grants to help bring the recommendations to life. Precinct officials will continue to engage with residents throughout the project prioritization process at future forums.

This article comes from our ABC13 partners at Community Impact Newspapers.