New Kid in Town
New Parks Board director meets Houston's greenspace movers and shakers
H-Town's green leadership turned out in force recently to get a fix on the new head of the Houston Parks Board, Beth White. More than 70 interested parties greeted the powerhouse CEO, arriving from Chicago where she oversaw the development of the super cool, award-winning innovative park and elevated trail system known as The 606.
Since mid-June, White has been sharing her expertise, much of it honed in her position with The Trust for Public Land, and her vision with the non-profit parks board which is leading the highly-touted Bayou Greenways 2020.
The notably forward-thinking Michael Skelly and Anne Whitlock opened their historic home, Fire State #2 in the East End, for the event. The heavy-hitter guest list included Hermann Park Conservancy president Doreen Stoller, Houston Zoo CEO Lee Ehmke, Bike Houston's John Long, Memorial Park Conservancy's Shellye Arnold, and the Bayou Preservation Association's Kathy Lord.
"All of these groups are doing important work in quality of life issues," White told CultureMap. "What's going on in Houston is extraordinary."
She applauded the collaboration between so many organizations working toward the goal of transforming the city's 150 mile network of bayous. As for the parks board, White said, "This board doesn't rest on its laurels. We're already looking beyond 2020."
Among the who's who of green group representatives were Rice Design Alliance's Linda Sylvan, Carter Stern of Houston Bike Share, Doug Overman of Levy Park, The Menil Collection's Sheryl Kolasinski, SPARK School Park Program's Kathleen Ownby, new deputy director of the city's Public Works Department Carol Haddock, Pat Jasper and Sara Kellner with the Houston Arts Alliance, Deborah January-Bevers of Houston Wilderness, Trudi Smith of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, Houston Parks Boards' Chip and Mary Place, and Gary Zika of Harris County Flood Control District.