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I was shocked at Memorial Park's appearance. Maybe more than some people due to the fact that I hardly ever pass by the Galleria. I couldn't believe it. My heart sunk. A drought after the last hurricane took it's toll. I feel the same way when traveling down the Gulf Freeway. Winter time makes everything look desolate, as well. Hopefully, we wll see a lot of rain this Spring.

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Eastern Glades was open to the public today.  It was kind of empty of people because it was raining, but I would imagine this will attract quite a crowd when the weather starts getting cooler.   Very

Memorial Park expansion by Marc longoria, on Flickr   Memorial Park expansion by Marc longoria, on Flickr   Memorial Park expansion by Marc longoria, on Flickr  

I biked through the park today and noticed that they have begun installing the pre-fabricated sections of the tunnel.  I think this is the east tunnel (the one closer to downtown). It is much bigger t

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I have heard rumors that the Uptown area is going to create a TIRZ (tax increment reinvestment zone) that includes Memorial Park, for the purposes of rehabilitiating it. If you are unfamilar with how a TIRZ works, basically once a TIRZ is established, instead of all the property tax revenues from the properties just going into the general coffers at the county tax office, a portion is earmarked for reinvestment within the TIRZ, for infrastructure improvement, beautification, etc. If this rumor is true, it is a very, very promising development.

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I have heard rumors that the Uptown area is going to create a TIRZ (tax increment reinvestment zone) that includes Memorial Park, for the purposes of rehabilitiating it. If you are unfamilar with how a TIRZ works, basically once a TIRZ is established, instead of all the property tax revenues from the properties just going into the general coffers at the county tax office, a portion is earmarked for reinvestment within the TIRZ, for infrastructure improvement, beautification, etc. If this rumor is true, it is a very, very promising development.

 

Technically, they are annexing Memorial Park into the existing Uptown TIRZ.

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I read somewhere last week that people in charge of the park are concerned about this happening. I guess they don't want people who know nothing about parks making decisions without community/their input.

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I read somewhere last week that people in charge of the park are concerned about this happening. I guess they don't want people who know nothing about parks making decisions without community/their input.

I guess that leads to the question of who controls the uptown tirz.

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I read somewhere last week that people in charge of the park are concerned about this happening. I guess they don't want people who know nothing about parks making decisions without community/their input.

 

I don't know, maybe I am wrong, and there is something to that concern, but it seems unlikely. It's not like the uptown park shopping center owners, et al will suddenly own or control the park and do whatever they want with it. The plan the TIRZ board proposes will have to go through public comment period and city council approval, and it will still be the city using the money and doing the work. The Parks department has to answer to the city now, it will have to answer to the city then, it will just be following a plan that it gave plenty of input on and the public and city approved.

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I found the article www.google.com/m?q=+Houston+memoril+parrlkvtirz+concerns

It's the fourth from the top. Chron April 26

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Their concerns seem pretty vague, and I don't see them really making a case for how the public has any more say in how the park is managed now than it would be under the TIRZ. I also see them not coming up with an alternative - the city doesn't have the money under the status quo. Forgive my cynism, but as an environmental scientist who has worked in the environmental field for going on 15 years now, too often have I seen how "environmentalist's" poor understanding of environmental issues, heavy on emotion, light on facts and understanding of environmental science, regulations, and risk, can really foul up projects to the detriment of the environment. So, I am pretty skeptical when environmentalists oppose plans with nebulous concerns like the ones I see here.

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http://www.chron.com/life/article/Memorial-Park-proposal-bridges-history-and-ecology-5763029.php?cmpid=bna

 

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emorial Park could dramatically change if a long-range master plan being proposed is adopted byHouston City Council.

The long-range plan was commissioned by theHouston Parks and Recreation Department, the Uptown Park tax increment reinvestment zone and the privately-funded Memorial Park Conservancy. The internationally-renowned landscape architecture firmNelson Byrd Woltz is nearly three months into a 10-month design process, and should have the master plan complete by April, when it would go before the council for a vote.

The city's premiere park stretches across 1,500 acres, almost twice as large as New York's Central Park. But to Thomas Woltz, Nelson Byrd Woltz principal, it feels much smaller. Over time the land has been divided into 24 tracts by roads, railroads and recreational amenities.

At a public meeting Wednesday, Woltz presented his firm's initial design strategies and the reasoning behind them - which were driven by previous public input and a year's research by a team of about 70 local experts in fields like soil science, ecology, history and archaeology.

He used maps, drawings and aerial views to explain the park's ecological and cultural histories, also unveiling a dramatic solution to one of the landscape's biggest problems. Woltz is proposing a grass- and tree-covered land bridge, 800 feet long, that would rise gently across Memorial Drive, over a tunnel, to reconnect the park's north and south sides.

While it's not realistic to remove the street, which is crucial to Houston's traffic circulation, the land bridge is "a kind of triumph ... the park wins," Woltz said.The current pedestrian bridge on the park's western side, completed in 2009, was an important first gesture toward stitching the park's landscape back together, Woltz said. "This land bridge builds on that beginning at a much larger scale."

That's just the most visible aspect of a plan that would also restore the damaged ecology, enhance recreational amenities and optimize the park's potential to be what he calls a "performative" landscape. A natural pond system, for example, could be used to irrigate the golf course, saving 68 million gallons of water a year.

Woltz envisions a mixed landscape of savannah, wetlands and prairie, more like what the Karankawas experienced when they lived in the area centuries ago. And he would add a tribute to the soldiers of Camp Logan, the World War I training camp that was there from 1917 to 1919. Those plans will be revealed at the next public meeting on Nov. 10.

The park's recreational amenities also would be improved. High-activity areas currently on the park's south side could be relocated within the park to protect the least-disturbed, fragile ecologies along the bayou - an area Woltz sees as a preserve for people on foot or on bikes.

The Uptown Park TIRZ is committed to spending $100 to $150 million on the restoration projects and infrastructure, project director Sarah Newbery said. Memorial Park Conservancy is studying how much it can raise in the next 10 or 20 years toward the effort.

"But we think of this in terms of a 100-year or 75-year plan. We'll execute large parts of it in the next three to 15 years; but there can be a road map for the next generation as well," conservancy executive director Shellye Alford said.

 

 

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Awesome plan! These bridges exist in Europe to help maintain safe crossings for wildlife, and now it's bridging humans to be able to enjoy the huge space that is Memorial Park. Really spectacular. I'm interested to see the plans for the bridge over 610 as it seems to be a bit smaller.

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Canada has wildlife crossings too - they're either overpasses or underpasses for roadways.  Personally I think its a good idea.  It'll bring the park together better.  Makes sense to me - I've long wondered why this wasn't thought of previously.

 

Besides, it'll give us a few more hills in Houston for our kids to roll down, sit on watching fireworks and concerts and just gaze upon.  I'm all for it.

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This is incredible news. Probably the most exciting component in this isn't the land bridge or the trails, etc.... (although those are pretty awesome), but it's the reason why this place is called Memorial Park in the first place, and by creating a dedicated portion of the park to represent those that served our country in war and tell more about Houston's history is what really hits home for me. This really shows a huge potential shift where we might see a sort of restoration in civil pride for our history, those who came before us, and our city in general which has been sorely lacking. Great master plan overall. Now could they use these same city planning skills elsewhere too? Seriously!? Please!?

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http://blogs.houstonpress.com/news/2015/03/memorial_park_has_a_master_plan_but_not_everyone_is_thrilled_with_it.php

 

I can't believe how closed minded some people!

 

If you have fears of what might change....it's got to make sense -.-

 

Oh yeah lets not build the hills because we want to keep the park as natural as Ima Hogg wanted it. Because Memorial Drive the most natural thing in this park *sigh*

 

The one that slays me is this one guy the park enthusiast of 49 years who is all bent out of shape because they want to move the fields around and because he is against it has created some conspiracy that it's an effort to completely get rid of the fields all together to stick it to Hispanics. Absolutely pathetic.

 

I say this anytime there is opposition to anything and that is; where is your plan then? Because unlike you two "enthusiasts" the Conservancy is actually taking the entire park into mind and not one persons selfish interests. Did any of those two or the opposition do any research of their own to come up with a better plan? Nope. Do they have their own plan to restore this park after a decade of being ravaged by Hurricanes, drought, and a recession? Nope. Their nostalgia is clouding their minds and keeping them from seeing the overall picture.

Edited by Luminare
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Has anyone else seen this:

 

http://www.houstonpublicmedia.org/news/planners-release-new-renderings-of-memorial-park-master-plan/

 

what are your thoughts?

 

I was pleasantly surprised, I thought I would absolutely hate the whole thing, but it's tasteful and doesn't lose the spirit of what the park is.

 

I heard someone the other day arguing against the land bridge, but I think if they did nothing else, the land bridge is just about the best idea for the whole thing. call it a tunnel for memorial drive if you like, but it's really a terrific solution.

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I'm sure this will be moved to the other Memorial park Master Plan thread, but yeah I agree I don't understand the opposition.

 

I wrote in the other thread yesterday that I simply could not understand the opposition to the land bridge by that one Frank Smith person. Well in that article he makes himself look like more like a fool by these statements.

 

"Frank Smith strongly opposes that part of the plan. Smith is a retired engineer and founding member of the Memorial Park Conservancy.

'I don’t really think that the golfers and tennis players on the north have any particular interest in walking over Memorial Drive to get to the south side to picnic and bird-watch,' Smith said.

He called the plan a waste of taxpayer money."

That is probably the most inept reason to oppose something ever. Why are engineers these days so darn safe? (save the explanation because I know why)

He seems to still be looked into a older modernist planning idea that was all about the separation and singularity of land uses which is completely opposite of today's ideas of multiplicity, diversity, and cohesion.

This Master plan is excellent and it really is a comprehensive plan that aims to turn memorial park into a park for everyone! The land bridge is a major symbol of this and is something that not only bridges different park users together, but also helps bridge a long standing void that was created by Memorial Drive.

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I think we need to get rid of golf courses inside the loop at Memorial and Hermann Park, and also turn Gus Wortham into an actual park. They just take up so much space and I would personally prefer to see more soccer and baseball fields with more basketball and tennis courts. I think Hermann Park would become very active if they converted the golf course into things I mentioned in the previous sentence. 

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I think we need to get rid of golf courses inside the loop at Memorial and Hermann Park, and also turn Gus Wortham into an actual park. They just take up so much space and I would personally prefer to see more soccer and baseball fields with more basketball and tennis courts. I think Hermann Park would become very active if they converted the golf course into things I mentioned in the previous sentence. 

 

From the plan I'm looking at they balanced out all potential activities that this park would hold including the golf course. I mean that is an enormous area to fill. Not something easily done by just throwing in more baseball and soccer fields. I mean look at all the new amenities that they are adding to this park WITHOUT slashing any part of the golf course. That's a fantastic job. The golf course should stay as it now with other uses actually enhances the park as something else for others to do. Now if the golf course was like some virus that leaching life and attention away from other areas then I would agree or if it was dying in of itself, but from what I know it's a very popular course. Good luck trying to get rid of it though...

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ugh, I didn't even think to look in a neighborhood section, as I think of the park system, and memorial park especially as part of the whole town, so didn't think to look outside of the "Houston and the Environment" area. thanks mods for fixing.

 

I'm sure this will be moved to the other Memorial park Master Plan thread, but yeah I agree I don't understand the opposition.

 

 

"Frank Smith strongly opposes that part of the plan. Smith is a retired engineer and founding member of the Memorial Park Conservancy.

'I don’t really think that the golfers and tennis players on the north have any particular interest in walking over Memorial Drive to get to the south side to picnic and bird-watch,' Smith said.

He called the plan a waste of taxpayer money."

 

 

Yes! This guy!

 

What a horrible reason. I hope he is strictly offering opposition because you've got to have dissenting opinion to properly vet an idea.

 

I suspect though that he is an avid golfer and doesn't care about anything else that this park does/has. It says he's a founding member of the conservancy, I hope he isn't a current member of the conservancy, it would seem to me that he is far too closed minded to be of any real benefit to the community that group should be serving. I guess it was too much to hope for, just checked the website, he's a life member so I guess he can safely say stupid stuff like this without fear of not being asked to come back.

 

Anyway, his opposition is (should be, at least) irrelevant. The main jogging loop will always be on the north side, since joggers can't park in the golf lot, they have to park on the street, or the south side parking lots and cross Memorial. Making joggers cross Memorial at grade because you don't think golfers and tennis players care about the south side of the park is a really weak argument.

 

This land bridge will make what is essentially two parks separated by a major arterial road a single park with a major arterial road that goes through it.

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The city has really made some incredible course altering decisions this past week. This park unanimously being voted in favor of as well as the plan for the Astrodome! Definitely an important week we will certainly be looking back on as a turning point.

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so is there anything else this has to go through,  and now we just wait 20 years for the unveiling?

 

They are doing the project in stages. That's why it's just a master plan. They approved the plan that has the projects that are inside the master plan. When each project in the master plan becomes a little more developed and is ready to move forward with construction then they might each need to be approved individually (i'm speculating). I think what most people assume is that the the council along with approving this master plan also approved the exact budget of this. The figure that they put out the press and is being reported is an estimated figure of the potential costs of the project, but it is neither the budget or the amount of money that the project will get. This master plan is simply the first step! It still has a long way to go, but this is an important first step and I think this is very revealing in terms of the current state of the council where they are shown that they are willing to bankroll large civic projects such as this. Everything will be constructed over the next two decades, but it's not going to be like the park will close for 20 years and then boom 20 years later is ribbon cutting time.

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