Harris County Precinct 3 recommended more than $758 million in improvements to its parks and trails to be completed over the next two decades as part of a plan that will impact roughly 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.

“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.”

What you need to know

The plan divides Precinct 3 into four areas: Cypress, Spring, Humble and Crosby. Recommended parks projects in the Humble service area total nearly $34.5 million and include new facilities, natural features and renovations, according to plan documents. The plan also recommends 48 miles of trail projects totaling $102.5 million in the Humble service area.
According to the plan, the Humble service area’s population is expected to grow 95% by 2045, with most of the growth occurring east of Hwy. 59 and west of Lake Houston where the majority of undeveloped land lies.

Officials noted that because intercommunity connectivity was not at the forefront of planning when many of the area’s developments were constructed over the past 20 years, infrastructure such as bridges and culverts don’t allow for connectivity along channels, and connection to parks off the primary bayou corridors is limited.

Jill Boullion, executive director of the Bayou Land Conservancy, said she was excited about the master plan, particularly the trails projects planned for the Humble area.

“We have a high priority to do a project in the Kingwood and Humble area, so I’m really excited that the precinct is going to finish out those connections, too, because I know that the folks in that community are looking to be able to jump on their bikes and go all the way to Tomball,” Boullion said.

  1. Atascocita Park: reforest along southern edge, add trees in dog park, remove invasive species and replace with native species
  2. Carter Park: replace picnic tables, pave parking lot, consider alternative uses including an adventure course, and incorporate equestrian facilities including horse watering stations
  3. Creek Course Park: add kayak launch, dog park, frisbee golf, playground, picnic pavilion, restrooms and parking
  4. Cypresswood Golf Club: repair/replace damaged concrete sidewalks and add natural trails in forested area with informational signage
  5. Edgewater Park: add boardwalk for fishing, boat and kayak launch, nature trails, dog parks, horse trailer parking and playground
  6. Lindsay/Lyons Park and Sports Complex: replace site furniture and play equipment; improve existing drainage; replace damaged concrete sidewalks; increase tree canopy; increase parking; and add nature trails, covered basketball courts, shade structures at spectator areas and community center, four soccer fields, storage facility and 5K loop
  7. Mercer Botanic Gardens: develop boardwalk through existing ponds with educational signage; expand gardens and parking lot; and add trail around existing ponds
  8. Turkey Creek Park: add pump track, parking lot, trailer parking, equestrian and park trails
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 completed an outreach phase to assess the needs and desires of the community, which included six meetings and an online survey conducted last fall.

“Thank you to the residents who took time to provide us feedback,” Ramsey said. “They know their parks and trails better than anyone, so we’re confident in the information incorporated into the plan.”

The parks and trails master plan assesses both current and future needs for the area’s parks and trails network. The analysis will inform the recommendations process that has a baseline framework for the next 30 years, according to plan documents.

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

“[Parks and trails projects] preserve flood plains and provide a recreational benefit for the community.”—Jill Boullion, Bayou Land Conservancy executive director

“We live in a concrete jungle, and [trails] are the only place we can escape to nature.”—Dennis Duarte, president, Greater Houston Off Road Biking Association

What's next

To fund these recommended projects, Ramsey said Precinct 3 will use 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 utility districts and nonprofits, and apply for grants to help bring the recommendations to life. Precinct officials will continue to engage with residents throughout the project prioritization process at future forums.

Wesley Gardner & Anna Lotz contributed to this report.