Houston may add a new feature to 5 nearby parks: rainwater drainage

Sports activities fields and strolling paths at 5 Houston parks will be transformed into rainwater traps throughout heavy rains. plan Metropolis officers hope it is going to scale back flooding in close by neighborhoods.

The 5 recreation areas – Boone Park, Hackberry Park, Cambridge Village Park, Edgewood Park and EP Hill Park – are situated in south or southwest Houston and had been chosen after a citywide evaluation of flood-prone neighborhoods by the Departments of Public Works, Parks and Recreation. , which is collaborating on the pilot undertaking.

If the pilot program is deemed profitable, it could possibly be deployed to different parks throughout the town as a part of Houston’s flood mitigation efforts, in response to metropolis officers, who described it as a small however necessary method to defend houses as local weather change intensifies hurricanes. more and more heavy rain, Overburdening the town of Houston Infrastructure and Flood Defenses.

A public listening to on the pilot is scheduled for 9 a.m. July 13 at Metropolis Corridor.

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Below the plan, the 5 parks will bear development to enhance their capacity to carry water throughout heavy rains. At Hackberry Park in Alief, for instance, officers are proposing changing an outdated golf course right into a wetland and deepening a number of ponds to higher comprise rainwater. At Edgewood Park in southeast Houston, the town will erect a brand new soccer subject barely decrease than the remainder of the park to carry massive quantities of water.

If doable, the adjustments will likely be accompanied by upgrades to draw wildlife and enhance park facilities, mentioned Kelli Ondracek, director of pure assets for the Parks Division.

“The top aim will likely be to assist with the floods in a serious storm, however on a day-to-day foundation these parks will nonetheless function the best way they at all times have,” mentioned Ondasek.

Design and development at Hackberry and Boone Gardens, in Alief, is predicted to price $8.1 million and catastrophe restoration prices will likely be paid for by the U.S. Division of Housing and City Growth, mentioned Roberto Medina, a public works spokesperson. He mentioned no price estimates had been given for the opposite parks.

Houston’s intensive community of bays and streams has lengthy performed an necessary function in flood administration. For at the least a decade, metropolis planners have designed public lands, from Brays Bayou to Keith-Wiess Park in North Houston, with an emphasis on rainwater retention.

A plan to transform 5 metropolis parks into rainwater retention websites has been within the works for 2 years. Parish Ladd, a public works analyst, mentioned the designers drew inspiration from James W. Lee Park in Spring Department, which has been transformed right into a reserve jail for Julie’s Brickhouse, a concrete-lined channel draining a part of the White Oak Bayou watershed.

District Council member Amy Beck, who represents the district, mentioned detention works properly when “the park is stuffed with water.”

“My constituents are pleased with that,” Beck mentioned, whereas reviewing the five-park metropolis expertise through the April assembly of the council’s Transportation, Expertise and Infrastructure Committee.

The primary, Joan Cortez, has watched how the town’s modifications to James W. Lee Park have improved drainage prior to now two years because the undertaking was accomplished. A 28-year-old within the neighborhood, Cortez ventures out in his rain gear to look at the park’s new baseball subject fill with stormwater, avoiding neighboring houses.

Whereas Cortez and different neighbors had been initially involved that the park would “at all times be a puddle of water,” their fears proved unfounded. She mentioned the sphere dries up rapidly when the water runs out.

Charlotte Lask, assistant director of the Parks Division’s Division of Landscaping Administration, pressured that the wants of park customers have been taken into consideration as plans transfer towards development. She mentioned park officers have gone “backwards and forwards with Public Works” to ensure options, corresponding to sports activities fields, fishing ponds and mountain climbing trails, stay viable after storms.

Nonetheless, metropolis officers say, one potential downside might complicate clean-up efforts after a storm: rubbish.

Whereas the town didn’t make clear whether or not further funding could be made accessible to hurry up rubbish assortment after the storm, a planning doc for council members acknowledged that such issues “have to be taken into consideration in upkeep plans” given the big quantity of particles prone to accumulate in storm water.

Lask mentioned park officers will clear up trash and particles from affected parks “as quickly as doable” after storms.

Professional-Tim Deputy Mayor Martha Castex-Tatum, who grew up close to Cambridge Village Park and now represents the world, mentioned modifying the parks for confinement might save residents from pointless hassle within the lead-up to massive storms.

Castex Tatum mentioned the neighborhood round Cambridge Village Park has lengthy suffered from road flooding, a hardship it mentioned has compelled residents to park elsewhere and stroll flooded streets again to their houses in heavy rain.

She mentioned the park’s water drainage undertaking would “dramatically enhance the standard of life”.

nora.mishanec@chron.com