HOUSTON – January 29, 2018 – Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) recently launched a major planning effort to bring a new network of waterfront parks and open spaces along Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector, stretching from US 59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. BBP’s goal for this project is to reclaim the waterfront for East Sector residents and create green spaces that will catalyze the equitable revitalization of their communities. The organization will be sponsoring two community town halls to meet with East End and Fifth Ward residents, and business and property owners to shape a vision for the future of Buffalo Bayou. The meetings, which are being co-sponsored with Houston City Council Members Karla Cisneros and Robert Gallegos and Vice Mayor Pro Tem Jerry V. Davis, are being held:
Tuesday, February 6
3303 Lyons Avenue
Wednesday, February 7
Ripley House Community Center
4410 Navigation Boulevard
“We are committed to a strong community engagement process,” says BBP President Anne Olson. “While we want to hear from a range of stakeholders, we are strongly focused on seeking the input of long-time residents and business owners in the East End and Fifth Ward, two neighborhoods that border Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector.” Olson further points out that BBP is developing a plan that is based on:
- Authenticity – Creating unique park spaces that reflect the cultural and industrial legacy of the East Sector
- Connectivity – Rethinking how parks and neighborhoods interact by activating the waterfront and connecting it to surrounding neighborhoods
- Inclusivity – Establishing a pioneering precedent where green space can catalyze equitable communities
- Resiliency – Providing a sustainable waterfront model by limiting environmental or man-made risks while allowing them to adapt in an ever-changing city
The communities of the East End and Fifth Ward have long been separated from Buffalo Bayou, its unique beauty, and exciting industrial context. Long-time East End resident and BBP board member Bolivar Fraga says, “We have a great opportunity to bring together communities north and south of the bayou and connect them to the waterfront and to each other.”
Unlike other parts of Buffalo Bayou, the East Sector was not impacted heavily by Hurricane Harvey due to its higher elevation. Because of this, one of the plan’s areas of focus will be more on long-term resiliency needs such as new housing opportunities.
“We want to not only bring new open space, but also to build a model for resilient, mixed-income residential development that can accommodate Houstonians who were displaced by the storm while enhancing the strong vibrant and culturally rich East Sector,” states Olson.
The high caliber multidisciplinary planning team working on the East Sector plan is led by Michael Van Valkenburg (MVVA), an internationally recognized landscape architecture firm, and HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading real estate, economic development, and public policy firm. Other consultant team members include: Utile(Urban Planning & Design), Huitt-Zollars (Architecture and Civic Engineering), Stantec (Transportation) and Limnotech (Hydrology).
MVVA brings to Houston wide-ranging experience and a proven track record of success in creating acclaimed and economically viable parks and waterfronts such as Brooklyn Bridge Park and Hudson River Park in New York City, and Maggie Daly Park and the 606 in Chicago. The firm is also very familiar with Houston as they recently completed plans for The Menil Collection, Hermann Park and Houston Parks Board.
For more than 35 years, HR&A has been working with parks throughout the US and abroad to develop open space real estate strategies, financing plans, programming activation, and sustainable operations and maintenance programs. The High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, Tulsa Riverfront and Dallas Trinity River are among the more than 100 parks that have benefited from HR&A’s talent.
The Buffalo Bayou East Sector planning project has been funded by Bank of America Charitable Foundation, The Harry S. and Isabel C. Cameron Foundation, The Carruth Foundation, Inc., The Clayton Fund, Fifth Ward Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #18), The Garver Foundation, Greater East End Management District, Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #23), Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, Houston Endowment Inc., Midway, Anne Whitlock and Michael Skelly, The Winston Charitable Foundation and The Wortham Foundation, Inc.
About Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Established in 1986, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is the non-profit organization transforming and revitalizing Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s most significant natural resource. BBP’s geographic focus is the 10-square mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. BBP has raised and leveraged more than $150 million for the redevelopment and stewardship of the waterfront – spearheading award-winning projects such as Sabine Promenade and Sesquicentennial Park, protecting land for future parks, constructing hike and bike trails, and operating comprehensive clean-up and maintenance programs. BBP recently completed the $58 million Buffalo Bayou Park project that includes major destinations, natural landscaping, footpaths, trail lighting, water features and pedestrian bridges. Buffalo Bayou Partnership also seeks ways to activate Buffalo Bayou through pedestrian, boating and biking amenities; volunteer activities; permanent and temporary art installations; and wide-ranging tours and events that attract thousands.