Master-planning stakeholders ponder bold parks transformation
With Discovery Green downtown and the newly revitalized Buffalo Bayou park along Memorial Drive, could West Houston be ready for its own version of Central Park?
The thought-leaders and stakeholders developing The Energy Corridor District’s long-range master plan are thinking big about parks, envisioning places filled with reforested acres, inviting public spaces, sprawling lawns, extended ponds, boardwalks and overlooks along nature-rich riparian zones.
And Langham Creek stretching from the Addicks Dam Spillway to Terry Hershey Park is ripe for just such a transformation, say the urban and landscape experts from Sasaki, OJB and Toole Design Group, three planning firms working with The District’s master plan stakeholders.
“The idea is to create a regional destination for recreation, arts and events, while creating enhanced riparian ecology, greater connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists, better-performing stormwater drainage and grand, delightful parks that neighbors and employees in The Energy Corridor District can enjoy,” explains Clark Martinson, general manager for The District. “It could be The Energy Corridor’s own version of Central Park, straddling the ecological corridor along Langham Creek.”
Plans are preliminary as the master planning team continues to vet ideas and hear comments from District stakeholders.
One idea would be to sprout an ecological center astride a pond, public spaces with lawns and rest rooms along Langham Creek just north of Memorial Drive. There could be places for public art, concerts and festivals.
Weirs could be added to create new water features along the creek. Long ago straightened, Langham Creek might return to its roots, when it once meandered and hosted seasonal wetlands attracting flocks of migratory birds.
Below Addicks Dam, ideas are proposed to create a spillway park with boardwalks, scenic overlooks and an archeological preservation area that could showcase the natural and cultural history of The Energy Corridor.
A pivotal theme of these ideas is to enhance connectivity for pedestrians and bicyclists. Pedestrian bridges might be added over Langham Creek, and boardwalk trails could connect to convenient entry points along popular thoroughfares.
East of the creek and south of IH-10, a neighborhood park has been imagined with a community garden, playground, sports fields and picnic areas complete with barbecue grills.
“The already popular Terry Hershey Park and Langham Creek corridor could evolve into world-class parks,” says Martinson. “Great parks become a destination, not only for people and communities, but also for wildlife. Transformational ideas such as these can help make The Energy Corridor an even better place to work, live and invest to years to come.”
The Energy Corridor District’s final, proposed master plan will be unveiled this spring.