Despite hiccups, Exploration Green on track for late 2021 completion

A couple snags and the weather have delayed the construction of Exploration Green, but the project is making good progress, Clear Lake City Water Authority officials said.

Exploration Green is a former golf course that is now a detention pond located between El Camino Real, Bay Area Boulevard and Space Center Boulevard. Once fully built, the pond will hold 500 million gallons of stormwater, protecting an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 homes from flooding. The project includes tree and wetland nurseries that will be used to fill Exploration Green with plants and wildlife as it is constructed.

Phase 1 is complete, and residents are using its trails regularly. Phase 2, which was originally estimated to be finished this spring, is about 70% complete, CLCWA General Manager Jennifer Morrow said.

“The second phase excavation should be finished in late summer, and finishing touches [will be] completed by late fall,” CLCWA President John Branch wrote in an email to Community Impact Newspaper.

Phase 2 fell behind schedule when the Houston Airport System ordered work to halt in September because it was discovered the project violated city ordinance by being too close to Ellington Airport. The Airport Board of Adjustment granted the project a variance for work to resume, and the contractors had mostly caught up until recent rain again slowed construction down, Morrow said.

Contractors are in the process of tying the first two phases together so stormwater drains from Phase 2 to Phase 1. Trails will be constructed after, she said.

Phase 3A, which is the southern part of Phase 3, starts in a few weeks. Phase 3B cannot start at the same time because it includes a Harris County Flood Control District channel. The CLCWA had to consider extra engineering details to ensure Exploration Green would not interfere with the district’s channel or affect those who live downstream of it, Morrow said.

Phase 4 is in final design and review. Contractors will likely begin on that phase in the fall, and Phase 3B will likely be completed after that, Morrow said.

“[We] have to wait until August to let the contract for Phase 4 so that we qualify for a $500,000 Texas Parks & Wildlife [Department] grant,” Branch wrote.

The project will likely end in late 2021 with Phase 5, which is now being used to house the tree and wetland nurseries. Trees for Houston donated 1,000 trees to the nursery, which the authority is using to fill completed phases with greenery. Phase 1 has 800 trees from the nursery, Morrow said.

The wetland nursery is growing plants that the authority will place in the detention pond to help clean and improve the quality of stormwater that passes through it, she said.
SHARE THIS STORY
By Jake Magee

Jake Magee has been a print journalist for several years, covering numerous beats including city government, education, business and more. Starting off at a daily newspaper in southern Wisconsin, Magee covered two small cities before being promoted to covering city government in the heart of newspaper's coverage area. He moved to Houston in mid-2018 to be the editor for and launch the Bay Area edition of Community Impact Newspaper.

<

MOST RECENT

Karen Waldrup (top) and The Soul Rebels (bottom) both had to cancel shows scheduled in Houston due to coronavirus. (Photo illustration by Justin Howell/Community Impact Newspaper)
Houston-area musicians go virtual to play for fans amid coronavirus cancellations of live shows

As non-essential businesses like bars and music venues are forced to close due to coronavirus concerns, musicians find themselves performing for audiences behind computer screens and asking for virtual tips.

While the agency is still tallying the number of unemployment insurance claims filed thus far in March, in the week prior to March 25, at least 150,000 claims had been filed. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Official: Increase in calls for statewide unemployment benefits is ‘almost vertical’

According to Serna, on an average day the Texas Workforce Commission’s four call centers statewide receive 13,000-14,000 calls; on March 22, the agency received 100,000 calls regarding unemployment insurance benefit inquiries.

DATA: Cases, recovery rates and death rates for COVID-19 in the Greater Houston area

A total of 441 cases of coronavirus have been identified in the Greater Houston area as of March 26.

Several restaurants in Tomball and Magnolia are having to adjust their business operations as social distancing practices take shape. (Anna Lotz/Community Impact Newspaper)
Stay up to date on how businesses across the Greater Houston area are adapting to coronavirus

Find local businesses and nonprofits to support as they grapple with coronavirus-related restrictions through our area guides.

Space Center Houston stock photo, SCH
With Bay Area's tourism destinations closed, economic impact looms

As local tourist destinations are forced to close along with many businesses, the economy is feeling the effects, though it is too early to tell what the long-term impact may be, officials said.

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is developing a tool to streamline the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a news release. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
UTMB developing tool to help create COVID-19 vaccine

The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston is developing a tool to streamline the development of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to a news release.

United Way of Greater Houston and Greater Houston Community Foundation launched the Greater Houston COVID-19 Recovery Fund with a focus on supporting those services that provide access to food, health care, shelter, utility assistance, transportation, and more in Harris, Fort Bend, Waller, and Montgomery counties. (Courtesy YMCA of Greater Houston)
With $1 million starting gift from Houston Endowment, new COVID-19 recovery fund looks to address critical needs

A new recovery fund has been launched to help those in critical need because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Greg Abbott so far has not issued a similar order statewide(Courtesy Adobe Stock)
President Trump declares major disaster in Texas due to coronavirus

The declaration came as several Texas cities, including Houston, have issued stay-at-home orders.

Airlines and airport business may be able to defer payments to the Houston Airport System for several months due to coronavirus concerns. (Courtesy Visit Houston)
Airlines, airport businesses may be able to defer $180 million in payments to Houston Airport System

The airline industry and associate businesses may see some relief from fees paid to the Houston Airport System.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said he is in negotiations with hotels regarding temporary quarantine sites for first responders, city employees and homeless residents. (Courtesy Houston HTV)
Houston accepts $5 million grant for temporary housing, extra supplies in coronavirus battle

Mayor Sylvester Turner is in talks with area hotels about providing rooms for quarantined first responders, city employees and homeless residents.

Back to top