Will the New Memorial Park Master Plan Be for the People?

Nov. 5, 2014

Public Meeting Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, on proposals for a new Memorial Park Master Plan.

The prison-grade fence preventing access to the $1.3 million landscaped not-a-canoe launch and secret wild woods with spring-fed pool in Memorial Park west of 610.

The prison-grade fence preventing public access to the $1.3 million SWA Group- landscaped not-a-canoe launch and secret wild woods with spring-fed pool in Memorial Park west of 610.

The Memorial Park Conservancy, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Uptown Houston TIRZ are holding the second of four community meetings Monday, Nov. 10, 2014, about proposals for a new $1.8 million Memorial Park Master Plan.

The meeting will be from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the White Oak Conference Center, 7603 Antoine Drive, 77004.

Go and ask them why they have locked up an entire forested section of our Memorial Park south of Woodway west of 610 and closed off access from there to Buffalo Bayou, access that historically had always been open to the public.

As far as we know, which is not much, the proposals for the new master plan make no mention of Buffalo Bayou. The previous master plan from 2004 recommended that the bayou be left alone as “a symbol of dynamic natural process.”

The 2004 plan reported that “a study of the Bayou’s dynamics and stability concluded that, after adjusting to increased urban runoff and water management structures upstream, the Bayou is vertically and horizontally stable, i.e., it is not deepening its channel nor is it dramatically widening its path.”

The landscape architecture firm of Nelson Byrd Woltz is leading the development of the new master plan. The City of Houston and the Uptown TIRZ plan to spend  $100 to $150 million in tax money on capital improvements to the park in the next twenty years. None of that money is for park maintenance.

3 thoughts on “Will the New Memorial Park Master Plan Be for the People?”

  1. Al Salinas says:

    As we have seen from the last meeting which was “CLOSED” to the public, they’ve already made up their mind irrelevant of “US” who care about the future of the bayou and its riparian forest. This meeting will more than likely be “CLOSED” to the public on a last minute notice. All they care about is money-the driving force behind it all.

    1. Raj is right. Somehow Mr. Salinas’ comment slipped through moderation without notice.

      The $6 million project to dredge and channelize our natural Buffalo Bayou as it flows past Memorial Park is called the Memorial Park Demonstration Project. The Harris County Flood Control Task Force voted in favor of it in a closed meeting Oct. 27, 2014. The Memorial Park Conservancy, a private non-profit organization charged with protecting and maintaining the park, supports the plan to destroy this last long stretch of natural Buffalo Bayou as it flows past Memorial Park.

      The purpose of the upcoming meeting Nov. 10 about the new Memorial Park Master Plan, sponsored in part by the Memorial Park Conservancy, is ostensibly to let the public know about designs and proposals for capital improvements to Memorial Park to be funded with some $100-150 million in taxpayer funds through the Uptown Tirz 16. The meeting is a public presentation without any kind of deliberation or vote, and it will not be closed to the public. How much of the still-developing plan will be shared with the public and how much of a say the public will have in developing the plan at the meeting or outside the meeting are other questions.

  2. Raj says:

    I think it is important to note that the Memorial Park master plan is a separate process and project from the demonstration project. Even if one were to have similar objections to both, it could be counterproductive to confuse the two. The closed meeting about the demonstration project had nothing to do with the Memorial Park master plan.

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