New Harris Cty. (TX) Park Celebrated
HOUSTON, TX, 12/9/04 – Today, The Trust for Public Land (TPL), along with Buffalo Bayou Partnership and Harris County Flood Control District, celebrated the final step in securing the land for Buffalo Bend Nature Park for Harris County Precinct Two. U.S. Representative Gene Green (D-29) and Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia attended and spoke at the event. Buffalo Bend, located in historic Buffalo Bayou, will offer Houston’s East End residents an anchor park linked by a new trail system to other public space along the bayou.
With the strong support of U.S. Representative Gene Green (D-29), and U. S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), an appropriation of $693,000 was secured from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program (CELCP) for Harris County to acquire the parkland. Harris County, Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD), and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership contributed matching funds for the purchase. Harris County will ultimately own Buffalo Bend, and thus exercise control over the Park’s protection and management.
“The Buffalo Bayou has been a lasting symbol of Houston’s rich history since the Allen Brothers traveled this waterway to found our great city in 1836,” said Rep. Gene Green, who secured nearly $700,000 in federal appropriations for Buffalo Bend. “This dedication of the Buffalo Bend Nature Park is a significant step in our efforts to preserve the Buffalo Bayou for generations to come, and will bring much-needed green space to Houston’s East End.”
“Houston preserves much of its natural landscape through recreational areas such as Buffalo Bend Nature Park,” said Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, a member of the Appropriations Committee. “I am proud to support Harris County in its efforts to maintain the beautiful scenery of Southeast Texas for current and future generations to enjoy.”
“I am proud of the role Harris County has played in this project because preserving green space in the form of park land is a priority for me in Precinct Two,” said Commissioner Sylvia R. Garcia. “Buffalo Bend is an outstanding example of how a large cross-section of both the private and public sectors can work together for the common good. The Trust for Public Land, and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership have worked diligently with my office to help preserve this important green space for all residents of Harris County.”
Buffalo Bend will provide passive recreation and nature education opportunities in an under-served and highly developed area in the East End of Houston. The site will also allow for wetland restoration, increased wildlife habitat, water quality improvements and natural flood control.
“Houston’s East End is severely underserved by existing park resources,” said TPL program director, Linda Shead. “This parkland will give local residents a new opportunity to experience this historically and culturally significant waterway. TPL would like to thank Representative Green and Senator Hutchison for their leadership in securing the federal funds that helped make this park a reality.”
To protect the site, TPL used its real estate and finance expertise to acquire the land from private landowners. They also worked with the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, a non-profit organization charged with coordinating beautification and redevelopment activities along Buffalo Bayou. The new parkland is included in the Buffalo Bayou and Beyond master plan as green space connected by a hike and bike trail to Hidalgo Park and the new Tony Marron Park and North York Boat Launch Facility.
“Buffalo Bend Park is an integral part of our 20-year master plan,” says Buffalo Bayou Partnership President Anne Olson. “In dozens of community meetings, East End residents and stakeholders have expressed the need for more open space, particularly space that can be used for science and educational programs for area children. Buffalo Bend Park fits the needs of the area perfectly. We look forward to working with TPL on similar projects along Buffalo Bayou.”
As one of downtown Houston’s historic waterways, Buffalo Bayou stretches for 75 miles across Harris County. It flows through residential areas, Memorial Park, downtown Houston and the Houston Ship Channel before it joins the San Jacinto River, which empties into Galveston Bay. Buffalo Bend Park will provide a critical connection to open space for residents who live in this high-density area.
The Trust for Public Land is a national nonprofit land conservation organization that conserves land for people to enjoy as parks, gardens, and natural places, ensuring livable communities for generations to come. Since its founding in 1972, TPL has helped protect more than 1.9 million acres of land in 45 states. In Texas, TPL has protected more than 26,000 acres for communities, including areas in and around Austin, Dallas, Houston and San Antonio. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve our land for people mission. TPL’s Galveston Bay Land Conservation Initiative is supported with funding from the Galveston Bay Estuary Program and local foundations. For more information, please visit us on the web at www.tpl.org
The Buffalo Bayou Partnership is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that oversees Buffalo Bayou improvements, incorporating conservation and development into every project. The Partnership also coordinates the integration of major amenities into the Bayou greenbelt and seeks ways to increase community involvement through pedestrian, boating and biking amenities, permanent and temporary art installations, and other natural and built attractions. The Buffalo Bayou Partnership along with The City of Houston, Harris County and Harris County Flood Control District recently unveiled a 20-year plan to redevelop Buffalo Bayou into a pedestrian-oriented waterfront district.