Harris County Precinct 3 recommended improvements to its parks and trails totaling more than $758 million as part of a plan that will impact roughly 1.26 million people and be completed over the next 20-plus years.

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 spanning from Cypress to Crosby.

“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 for future generations.”

The plan divides Precinct 3 into four areas: Cypress, Humble, Crosby and Spring—which includes the bulk of Tomball. Some projects in the Cypress area west of Hwy. 249 also impact Tomball-area residents.

Of the four plan areas, Spring has the lowest anticipated population growth at 59% by 2045. Officials noted all future park development and trail networks will have to respond to the existing framework of the community as many of the area’s developments were built over 20 years ago before trail connectivity was a priority.

Recommended parks projects in the Spring service area total nearly $44.2 million, per the plan.
What you need to know

Recommendations for the Spring service area include new facilities, natural features and renovations, per plan documents. Specific costs for projects were not provided.

In Tomball, adding tennis and pickleball courts at Burroughs Park and converting the basketball court to tennis and/or pickleball courts at Matthews Park is recommended.

Tomball resident Ellen Lewis said she believes there’s not enough pickleball courts to meet demand. She said she began playing with a group in May at city-owned Juergens Park, and nightly attendance has tripled since.

“The coolest thing about this sport is we’re playing with grade school kids, high school kids, all the way up to people in their 60s,” Lewis said. “We’ve really outgrown the courts.”

The county’s plan also recommends 57 miles of trail projects totaling $125 million, the majority of which aim to build upon the existing Spring Creek and Cypress Creek greenways with a greenway project along Willow Creek also proposed.

“I can just imagine a [Spring Creek] trail that extends from Kingwood to Tomball,” said Jill Boullion, executive director of the Bayou Land Conservancy, which focuses on land conversation in the Lake Houston watershed. “I think Willow Creek has really been overlooked. I really feel like ... millions of people will use [the greenways] every year; it’ll be amazing.”

  • 100 Acre Wood Preserve*: relocate parking lot; add covered benches and a restroom; extend trails
  • A.D. Dyess Park*: develop more sports fields; add parking and playground
  • Burroughs Park: add playground, covered pavilions, tennis/pickleball courts, a covered basketball pavilion and outdoor covered fitness gym; build community center; add parking
  • Kickerillo-Mischer Park Preserve: install a larger pavilion; extend trails; add a restroom
  • Mathews Park: convert basketball court to tennis and/or pickleball courts; install fitness stations around trail; replace playground
  • Spring Creek Greenway: extend trail from The Woodlands to Lone Star College-Tomball
  • Willow Creek: create a new greenway corridor connecting neighborhoods to Spring Creek Greenway
*Projects are included in the Cypress service area. Most Tomball-area projects are included in the Spring service area.

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," Ramsey said.
  • “As an organization, we’re really happy to see resources put into community and public recreation," Boullion said.
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 process of prioritizing projects at future forums.

Beyond Harris County, the Magnolia Economic Development 4B Corp. is leading development of a parks master plan for the city of Magnolia, which is expected to take around 10 months.

At the same time, the city of Tomball is wrapping up its own parks master plan with a draft expected to be shared this fall. Improvements to its Jerry Matheson Park, which include adding four pickleball courts and other projects totaling $2.37 million, began Oct. 19, according to the city.

“I feel like the parks in the Tomball area are behind the times,” Lewis said.