Harris County Precinct 3 recommended more than $758 million in improvements to its parks and trails over the next 20-plus years as part of a plan that will impact 1.26 million people.

Released Aug. 31, the Precinct 3 Parks and Trails Master Plan includes recommendations for 69 existing parks, four new parks and 225 miles of new trails spanning from Cypress to Crosby.

“We needed a plan to connect residents with our amazing green spaces,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Tom Ramsey said. “Our population is expected to double by 2045, which means engineered solutions for green activity spaces are a must for future generations.”

What you need to know

The plan divides Precinct 3 into four areas:

  • Existing parkland: 1,102 acres
  • Existing greenway: 46 acres
  • Population growth by 2045: +131%
  • Existing parkland: 779 acres
  • Existing greenway: 1,456 acres
  • Population growth by 2045: +59%
  • Existing parkland: 1,572 acres
  • Existing greenway: 1,911 acres
  • Population growth by 2045: +95%
  • Existing parkland: 778 acres
  • Existing greenway: 0 acres
  • Population growth by 2045: +294%
Recommended parks projects in the Cypress service area total $74.6 million and include upgrades to existing parks as well as a new regional park spanning more than 100 acres. Based on the National Recreation and Park Association’s averages of residents per facility, the Cypress region is already lacking in several recreational options and needs even more to keep up with the anticipated 131% population increase by 2045.

The Cypress service area would need to add 22 baseball fields, 57 basketball courts, two cricket fields, 11 dog parks, 28 football fields, 104 tennis courts, 83 playgrounds, 24 soccer fields, 37 softball fields and six nature centers by 2045 to meet current national standards.
Northwest Cycling Club President Geoff Donnelly said he cycles about 6,000 miles a year to stay mentally and physically healthy. He said the Houston region is not known for being cycling-friendly, so he is excited to see improvements to the local trails.

The plan recommends 73 miles of trail projects totaling $166.5 million in the Cypress service area, many of which aim to build upon the existing Cypress Creek Greenway.

“It’s so important, I think, as these areas are developing to be getting the parkland now so that you can have large, beautiful parks in the future,” said Jim Robertson, chair of the Cypress Creek Greenway Project.

Plans for the service area's five largest parks include:
  • Harris County Deputy Darren Goforth Park: adding fishing piers and more shade trees; replacing picnic tables
  • Cypress Park: expanding nature trail system; adding off-road biking paths and fishing piers; replacing picnic tables
  • Russ Poppe Family Park: improving trails, drainage and wetlands access; adding bird blind, frisbee golf, picnic pavilions, adventure course or outdoor gym, pickleball courts, and restrooms; providing overlook of Cypress Creek
  • A.D. Dyess Park: adding parking, sports fields and playground; improving drainage; renovating restrooms; increasing tree canopy
  • Telge Park: replacing playground climbers and drinking fountain; repairing boardwalk; painting pavilions; converting gravel trail to asphalt; adding aquatic planting at wetlands
How we got here

Following redistricting in 2022, Harris County Precinct 3 encompasses 555 square miles including 4,200 acres of parkland and 3,400 acres of greenway—the most of any precinct countywide. To maintain and improve upon the precinct’s existing green space and prepare for anticipated population growth, Precinct 3 officials began working on a parks and trails master plan in 2022.

As part of the master plan, Precinct 3 officials held six meetings and conducted an online survey to receive community input.

“[The residents] know their parks and trails better than anyone, so we’re confident in the information incorporated into the plan,” Ramsey said.

Community feedback included how greenways may connect to parks, requests for additional athletic fields, and more trails for pedestrians and bicyclists. The parks and trails master plan will inform the recommendations process that has a baseline framework for the next 30 years.
Residents enjoy Cypress Park near Little Cypress Creek, where Harris County Precinct 3 officials plan to expand the trail system and add fishing piers, among other upgrades. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact)
Residents enjoy Cypress Park near Little Cypress Creek, where Harris County Precinct 3 officials plan to expand the trail system and add fishing piers, among other upgrades. (Danica Lloyd/Community Impact)
What they’re saying

“Our ability to provide access to green spaces ... is an incredibly important part of what we do as a county.” -Tom Ramsey, Harris County Precinct 3 commissioner

“There needs to be a balance of [stormwater] detention, public access and use, and preservation for habitat and refuge.” -Jim Robertson, chair, Cypress Creek Greenway Project

“Any organized trail that’s going to have a lot of connectivity is good from our perspective.” -Geoff Donnelly, president, Northwest Cycling Club

What’s next

To fund these recommended projects, Ramsey said Precinct 3 would use some of the funding it received through Harris County’s $1.2 billion bond passed by voters in November 2022. The bond included a $200 million proposition for parks and trails to be distributed among the county’s four precincts.

Additionally, Ramsey said the precinct will partner with local municipal utility districts and nonprofits, and apply for state and federal grants to help bring the recommendations to life.