Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner announced that the Kinder Foundation has committed a gift of up to $4 million to the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy—the group that manages the green space—for improvements. An initial commitment of $2 million comes with a promise by Kinder to match up to an additional $2 million in donations from others, according to a Nov. 1 news release.
Improvements include trails at four lakes—Willow, Triangle, Scout and Dog—a neighborhood trail connection to Chimney Rock Road, and land acquisition. Should the funding be matched, there would also be more parking, a pier, amenities in the native prairie preserve area and an outdoor classroom, according to the release.
“Willow Waterhole is truly a diamond in the rough that is poised to transform the quality of life of Houstonians in the southwest area of the city,” Kinder Foundation President Nancy Kinder said in the release. “We admire the grit and determination of the conservancy’s leaders and volunteers for what they already have accomplished.”
In addition to these improvements, Harris County Precinct 1 recently announced plans to begin rebuilding and extending trails around Westbury Lake in 2022. According to Bill Burhans, president of the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy, those trails will equal a cost of approximately $2 million. The conservancy started working with Precinct 1 when its Park Smart program was introduced to the community in 2017.
“Parks and trails are essential for every community to improve people’s health, build social connections and expand environmental safeguards,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said in the news release. “Precinct 1 is proud to help our partners improve amenities in southwest Houston by rebuilding and extending over 3.5 miles of trails around Westbury Lake in 2022.”
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department and the Brays Oaks Management District have agreed to collaborate on maintenance of the expanded recreational amenities within the property, which offers flood relief, wildlife habitats, and educational and recreational opportunities, according to the news release.
“The Conservancy is ecstatic to begin improvements to the Greenway,” Burhans said in the news release. “This investment from Kinder Foundation is transformational for us to reach our goal of creating a signature park on the Southwest side of the city.”
Meanwhile, the Brays Oaks Management District and Houston Vice Mayor Pro Tem Martha Castex-Tatum’s District K Office repaved the area’s main entrance along Dryad Drive earlier this fall. Work on land acquisition and trail design will begin immediately, and the project’s partners plan to complete the next phase of trail construction and amenities by the end of 2023.