New $100 Million Park

A Green paradise: Memorial Park's $100 million makeover promises to be a dream for bikers and walkers

Memorial Park's $100 million makeover promises to be dream for bikers

Memorial Park Golf Course
The Memorial Park Long-Range Master Plan calls for more than doubling the amount of pedestrian and bike trails to 50-plus miles. (File photo) Courtesy of www.pgal.com
Rendering of proposed Land Bridge at Memorial Park (aerial view); Rendering courtesy of Nelson Byrd Woltz September 2014
Aerial view rendering of proposed Land Bridge at Memorial Park. Rendering courtesy of Nelson Byrd Woltz
biking biker bicycle in Memorial Park bike trail
The Memorial Park Long-Range Master Plan designates 8.5 miles for mountain bike trails. mbaction.com
Memorial Park Golf Course
Rendering of proposed Land Bridge at Memorial Park (aerial view); Rendering courtesy of Nelson Byrd Woltz September 2014
biking biker bicycle in Memorial Park bike trail

Bike and pedestrian trails in Memorial Park will more than double to 50-plus miles as part of the proposed $100 million makeover of Houston's well-loved 1,500-acre green space.

Thomas Woltz, principal with Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, has been highlighting the updates to the Memorial Park Long-Range Master Plan at the many ongoing public input meetings hosted by the firm and key players. The final design is to go before the Houston City Council for consideration most likely in April.

Woltz says the plans call for dedicating 8.5 miles for mountain bike trails, as well as 17 miles of paved walkways for bikers and pedestrians. These trails would take park enthusiasts over the proposed land bridge over Memorial Drive and loop around the perimeter of the park. He also discussed the doubling in size of the trails' length.

 Woltz is leading the effort to vivify the grounds that were ravaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and by the droughts that have plagued Texas. 

The details come after initial presentations earlier this fall had Woltz revealing the proposed grass- and tree-covered land bridge spanning about 800 feet across Memorial Drive designed to reconnect Memorial Park's north and south sections.

Woltz is leading the effort to vivify the grounds that were ravaged by Hurricane Ike in 2008 and by the droughts that have plagued Texas in recent years. He has surrounded himself with a team of 70-plus local ecology, history, archaeology, plant biology and more experts to assist in the massive undertaking.

The Houston Parks and Recreation Department began in 2011 to begin developing a long-term forestry management plan for the park, with the ongoing drought the driving force behind the initiative. In May 2013, the Uptown Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone boundary was expanded to include Memorial Park, and in September that same year, the privately funded Memorial Park Conservancy selected Nelson Byrd Woltz to oversee the major undertaking to restore this 1,500-acre escape that attracts four million visitors each year.

Funding for the project, estimated to cost upwards of $100 million and take as long as 20 years, is coming from the three entities.