Houston’s Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is launching a major planning effort along Buffalo Bayou’s East Sector that will continue the non-profit organization’s legacy of transformative parks, trails and open space. In revitalizing the waterway east of downtown (from US 59 to the Port of Houston Turning Basin), BBP seeks to establish a pioneering precedent where green space can be a catalyst for inclusive growth and community development.
“At its heart, Buffalo Bayou Partnership is about creating parks, trails and bridges to bring Houstonians outdoors,” says Tom Fish, BBP Board Chair. “Here in the East Sector, we have an opportunity to bring together communities north and south of Buffalo Bayou that have long been disconnected from the waterfront and each other.”
Buffalo Bayou Partnership has assembled a high caliber group of consultants to develop this very important master plan for Houston and its East Sector neighborhoods. Working with BBP on this important planning initiative will be a multi-disciplinary consultant team led by Michael Van Valkenburg Associates (MVVA), an internationally recognized landscape architecture firm, and HR&A Advisors, an industry-leading real estate, economic development and public policy firm. Other consultants include: Huitt-Zollars/formerly Houston’s Morris Architects (Architecture & Civil Engineering), Utile (Urban Planning & Design), Greenberg Consultants (Urban Design), Nelson/Nygaard (Transportation), and LimnoTech (Hydrology).
MVVA brings to Houston wide-ranging experience and a proven track record of success in creating acclaimed and economically viable parks and waterfronts such as Brooklyn Bridge Park and Hudson River Park in New York City, and Maggie Daly Park and the 606 in Chicago. The consultants also are very familiar with Houston as they have recently completed plans for Hermann Park, The Menil and the “Beyond the Bayous” plan for the Houston Parks Board.
For more than 35 years, HR&A has been working with parks throughout the US and abroad to develop open space real estate strategies, financing plans, programming activation, and sustainable operations and maintenance programs. The High Line and Brooklyn Bridge Park in New York City, Tulsa Riverfront and Dallas Trinity River are among more than 100 parks that have benefited from HR&A’s talent.
“While we want to build off our past projects such as Buffalo Bayou Park, Sabine Promenade and Allen’s Landing, we realize that we are dealing with an entirely different context,” says Anne Olson, BBP President. “We not only want to reinvigorate the waterfront but bring equitable revitalization opportunities to the East Sector neighborhoods.” Olson points out that the Second Ward has been designated one of Mayor Sylvester Turner’s “Complete Communities.”
BBP is committed to a plan that is based on:
- Authenticity –Creating unique park spaces that reflect the cultural and industrial legacy of the east sector
- Connectivity – Rethinking how parks and neighborhoods interact, activating and connecting the waterfront and surrounding neighborhoods
- Inclusivity – Establishing a pioneering precedent where green space can be a catalyst for inclusive revitalization.
Bo Fraga, a BBP board member and East End resident, says BBP is committed to a strong community engagement effort and input from a range of stakeholders. “We plan to work hard to involve as many people in ways that are engaging, thought-provoking, and fun,” says Fraga.
This past week a Community Stakeholder Committee, comprised of East End and Fifth Ward residents and civic leaders, met for the first time. This group will offer advice and recommendations throughout the planning process.
The Buffalo Bayou East Sector planning project has been funded by Bank of America Charitable Foundation, The Carruth Foundation, Inc., The Clayton Fund, Fifth Ward Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #18), The Garver Foundation, Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority (TIRZ #23), Albert and Ethel Herzstein Charitable Foundation, Houston Endowment Inc., Midway, Anne Whitlock and Michael Skelly, The Winston Charitable Foundation and The Wortham Foundation, Inc.
About Buffalo Bayou Partnership
Established in 1986, Buffalo Bayou Partnership (BBP) is the non-profit organization transforming and revitalizing Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s most significant natural resource. BBP’s geographic focus is the 10-square mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou from Shepherd Drive to the Port of Houston Turning Basin. BBP has raised and leveraged more than $150 million for the redevelopment and stewardship of the waterfront – spearheading award-winning projects such as Sabine Promenade and Sesquicentennial Park, protecting land for future parks, constructing hike and bike trails, and operating comprehensive clean-up and maintenance programs. BBP recently completed the $58 million Buffalo Bayou Park project that includes major destinations, natural landscaping, footpaths, trail lighting, water features and pedestrian bridges. Buffalo Bayou Partnership also seeks ways to activate Buffalo Bayou through pedestrian, boating and biking amenities; volunteer activities; permanent and temporary art installations; and wide-ranging tours and events that attract thousands.
Buffalo Bayou Partnership is the non-profit organization revitalizing and transforming Buffalo Bayou, Houston’s most significant natural resource.