Sugar Land City Council approves more than $100,000 in donations for parks and recreation projects

The eagle statue was installed in Sugar Land Memorial Park during March of last year. (Courtesy Sugar Land Legacy Foundation)
The eagle statue was installed in Sugar Land Memorial Park during March of last year. (Courtesy Sugar Land Legacy Foundation)

The eagle statue was installed in Sugar Land Memorial Park during March of last year. (Courtesy Sugar Land Legacy Foundation)

Sugar Land City Council voted to accept two donations totaling $118,856.66 slated for use at the Eagle Plaza development and the T.E. Harman Center at its Jan. 5 meeting. The donations, which came from two sources, were described as “a very generous donation” by Sugar Land Mayor Joe Zimmerman.

Sugar Land residents Raj and Kanwal Bhalla donated $100,000 for use in the development of the plaza surrounding Sugar Land Memorial Park’s recently installed eagle sculpture. This donation comes less than six months after the couple donated $1 million to local charities in August in an effort to “encourage the spirit of giving,” said Daphne McKinney, Sugar Land’s strategic planning and philanthropy manager.

The development of the Eagle Plaza is the third of four commemoration projects that Sugar Land City Council approved in 2009 for Sugar Land Memorial Park. The projects, overseen by the Sugar Land Legacy Foundation, are situated in four different areas of the park and each memorial was designed with the intention to “provoke different emotions,” according to the Sugar Land Legacy Foundation’s website.

The other two completed commemoration projects include the Flag Project located at the entrance of the park, designed to represent each military branch, and the Veterans’ Remembrance Tower.

Welcome Home Sculptures, the remaining commemoration project, will “include seven life sized personnel statues: one commander with a U.S. Flag, six soldiers in two rows, a child with a small flag at southeast corner of the plaza; one woman at southwest corner of the plaza; and a dad and son at the east side of plaza,” according to the Sugar Land Legacy Foundation’s website.



The second donation, in the cash amount of $18,856.66, came from T.E. Harman Center members Alan and Antoinette Cramer. The funds will go toward enhancing the T.E. Harman Center, including improving the outdoor area with a retractable shade system aimed to make the space usable year-round.

“Right now it’s a western-facing area, making it really unpleasant on hot days, so this donation will be used primarily to create a retractable shade system that will help make it usable all year,” Assistant Director of Parks & Recreation Kimberly Terrell said.

This donation comes less than a year after the T.E. Harman Center added a fitness space funded by a $57,064.86 donation from the Cramers in 2018. The couple’s initial donation had $16,281.94 remaining after the fitness room was completed, which will be applied to the patio enhancement projects.

By Laura Aebi
Laura Aebi is the editor of the Katy and Sugar Land/Missouri City editions of Community Impact Newspaper. She graduated from Texas State University in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Originally from North Texas, Laura relocated to Houston after spending three years in Pacific Northwest. Previously, she interned with two radio stations in Central Texas and held the role of features editor at the San Marcos Daily Record.


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