According to an April 17 news release from the Houston Parks Board, the project is a joint effort among the HPB, the city of Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and the Harris County Flood Control District. The segment—which spans 2.5 miles from Woodland Hills Drive to Hamblen Road—goes through a former townhome community, The Riverview Townhomes at Forest Cove, which the HCFCD acquired and demolished using its own funds as well as a Hazard Mitigation grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“The buyout program is one of the most effective flood mitigation tools used to move endangered Harris County residents to safety from flood-prone areas and reduce the impacts of flooding,” HCFCD Executive Director Tina Petersen said in a statement. “The impact of buyouts is greater when land is transformed to provide recreational spaces for surrounding communities. We are glad Houston Parks Board shares a commitment to reduce flooding across the city and enhance its natural beauty.”
According to the release, the new segment gives Kingwood residents a trail connection at Woodlands Hills Drive to access the bayou greenway as well as new off-street trails and the use of existing residential streets for the trail system. The new segment also features the planting of native trees, meadows and wildflowers; 14.5 acres of newly acquired land to be preserved as permanent parkland; benches, seating areas and overlooks; interpretive and directional signage; and trash cans and recycling containers.
“This project is a testament of what is possible for our green spaces across every Houston community,” said Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin—who represents the city of Houston's District E, which includes Kingwood—in a statement. “With this new 2.5-mile segment, nearby residents can enjoy new off-street paths that improve connections across Houston's vast trail system and further adds to its ‘Livable Forest.’ I am proud of the collaboration to complete this effort and create sustainable outdoor spaces for Houstonians.”
Construction on the project took more than two years beginning in January 2021 and wrapping up in March. The project cost, including design, land acquisition and construction, was just over $3.5 million, per the release.
“Land acquisition is a critical focus and cornerstone of Bayou Greenways,” HPB President and CEO Beth White said in a statement. “Houston Parks Board always seeks opportunities where the organization can complement Harris County Flood Control District's efforts along the bayou greenways. We are proud to have partnered with the Flood Control District to acquire land in this area and convert it to green space.”