“It’s going to be more for relaxation, picnics and nature walks and it's going to allow for an even more enjoyable park. We’re thrilled about that,” District C Council Member Abbie Kamin said.
The project was also designed with the park’s natural ecology in mind. Over 550 new trees and 150 native plant species were added to the section along with rain gardens that ease runoff and purify water before it enters the adjacent Hines lake. Even the soils used some compost made of trees that died during the 2011 drought.
The first phase of the project opened in October 2018 and is part of a broader master plan to upgrade various sections of the park
The $35 million restoration includes a new food truck court and event lawn, Live Oak Court, and an installation comprising 50 quotes from Houston residents reflecting on what the park means to them. A pedestrian entry to the Eastern Glades is located at one of the original entrances to Camp Logan, the World War I military training facility and namesake of Memorial Park.
The park draws 4 million visitors from 170 ZIP codes each year, according to the Memorial Park Conservancy.
“This opening is just the start of what’s to come,” said Nancy Kinder, president and CEO of the Kinder Foundation, one of the partners on the project. “Memorial Park is a regional treasure, and we look forward to witnessing the continued transformation.”