Sugar Land City Council is eyeing the future of Brazos River Park—including Phase III improvements which are set to be funded by the voter-approved 2013 Park Bond funds. At the council’s June 22 meeting, council members participated in a workshop, in which Sugar Land officials proposed the city proceed with the next phase of Brazos River Park improvements with the remaining $1.56 million in bond funds.

Phase III—the third and final phase of the Brazos River Park project—will include the addition of new walkways, a pavilion, a playground, lighting, landscaping and irrigation.

“The pavilions that we have around the city are very popular rental facilities,” said Joe Chesser, Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Sugar Land. “They do generate revenue for the [parks and recreation] department. The goal for the project is just to kind of further enhance what we can provide there at the Brazos River Park.”

If built, the pavilion would be about 45 feet by 70 feet in size—making it the city’s largest, a title that currently goes to the pavilion at Memorial Park. Located at the northern tip of the lower Brazos Bowl, the pavilion would be built in a similar style as the existing park building using the same types of material. It would also feature picnic tables, lighting and electrical receptacles. The playground will be located on the south side of the pavilion. It will be surrounded by a looped trail and will feature canopy trees.

The project was met with mostly positive feedback from the council, with only one bit of constructive criticism from Mayor Joe Zimmerman.

“I think [regarding] your design fees—I think you can do better than that,” Zimmerman said. “I think there's a little contingency in there, so I encourage you to go to look at that.”

However, council members did express concerns about how developing the park could affect the Brazos River in terms of erosion—but the City’s Senior Engineer Jorge Alba said erosion issues primarily affect the areas south, or downstream, of the park and will not be exacerbated by the changes.

Brazos River Park Phase I and II have been completed already using part of the $21.3 million funds from the 2013 Bond. Brazos River Park Phase I, completed in 2017, included the construction of the spine road, parking lots, a restroom, trails, landscaping, and associated utilities. The ribbon cutting for Phase II occurred on May 27 and included the connector road and trail between Brazos River Park and Sugar Land Memorial Park. Phase III will complete Sugar Land’s 2013 Bond projects.

Next steps for the project include reviewing the schematic design of Phase III with the Parks, Art, Recreation, Culture, and Streetscapes Board; selecting a consultant to complete the design and construction documentation; and awarding the design contract.