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Buffalo Bayou named one of America's great places

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The American Planning Association has named Buffalo Bayou one of America's Great Places. That's quite a change from when I moved to Houston in 1999 and it was just a stagnant smelly backwater that the city had turned its back on. On Sundays I used to sit under on the concrete abutment under an abandoned railroad bridge and read the newspaper by the water. The only thing that ever moved was the occasional snapping turtle coming up for air.

Despite a century of road building surrounding Buffalo Bayou, increasing numbers of bikers, hikers, and dog walkers today take advantage of the 20 miles of trails that weave through central Houston's section of the waterway. This includes the reconstruction of the Sandy Reed Memorial Trail by the City of Houston and TXDOT.

Special events like the Buffalo Bayou Regatta, now in its 40th year, and the annual Kid's Day bring thousands more people to the bayou every year. The annual Freedom Over Texas Fourth of July event brings more than 100,000 attendees to Buffalo Bayou Park.

A $30 million gift from the Kinder Foundation, the largest private donation for park development in Houston's history, catalyzed the launch of a $55 million renovation of the Bayou's Downtown Sector in mid-2012. The Buffalo Bayou Park: Shepherd to Sabine Project is expected to be complete in late 2015.

Linky: http://www.planning.org/greatplaces/spaces/2012/

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