Looking for a little escape from the house this weekend? We all need a little change from our weekly routines and now Houston has a new addition to explore. Memorial Park’s first expansion is now open. The Memorial Park Master Plan is a long-term plan to preserve and expand Houston’s largest urban wilderness and recreation park for future generations. To see some of the photographs and details, visit the Houston Chronicle.
Memorial Park’s Eastern Glades, a 100-acre addition, is now open
By Elliott Lapin, Staff writer Updated 8:03 am CDT, Saturday, August 1, 2020
The 100-acre Clay Family Eastern Glades, the first significant project of the Memorial Park 10-year master plan is now completed and open to the public
The first project in the 10-year, $205 million Memorial Park master plan has been completed.
The 100-acre Clay Family Eastern Glades was finished on July 29 and is now fully open to the public.
Among the features of Eastern Glades are: the 5.5-acre Hines Lake and wetlands, which provides stormwater detention and reuse for irrigation as well as aquatic habitat, over 2.5 miles of new boardwalks and accessible walking trails, and several pavilions and picnic areas.
Eastern Glades stands on what had previously been largely inaccessible and ecologically distressed parkland and part of East Memorial Loop Road.
“The very act of creating parkland where none existed here in the very center of the city, I think is one of the most important stories that we can tell,” said Memorial Park Conservancy Chief Operating Officer Cara Lambright.
Memorial Park Conservancy is a non-profit organization whose mission is “to preserve, restore and enhance Memorial Park for the enjoyment of all Houstonians, today and tomorrow,” per its website.
The Memorial Park Master Plan is a long-term plan to preserve and expand Houston’s largest urban wilderness and recreation park for future generations.
Four million Houstonians from more than 170 zip codes visit Memorial Park each year. The Eastern Glades has been a welcome addition for many who come to the park often.
Ashley and Luis Larios, who were there with her father, Abi Pineda, stopped to take a family photo beside Hines Lake. They live about a half-mile away and walk the park’s Seymour Lieberman trail daily.
“We’ve been waiting and waiting,” Luis Larios said. “What’s really nice is the European vibe you get. It reminds me of Paris.”
He was speaking of the terraced areas at each end of the lake. Walk a few hundred yards further along the boardwalk, and you’re in wooded urban wilderness.
Larios had already visited the Glades one recent evening, before the fences were completely down, without his wife and father-in-law. He especially loves the views at dusk, when lights embedded in the limestone pedestals illuminate a pathway across the lawn and the lake. (The pedestals memorialize the soldiers who tread that ground during World War I, when this part of the park was Camp Logan.)
“It’s definitely going to be where everybody takes their pictures for baby showers and weddings,” Ashley Larios said. “It’s going to be a great place to quarantine because of all the places that feel private.”
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