H-GAC Announces Parks, Natural Areas Award Winners


The Houston-Galveston Area Council is pleased to announce the winners of the 2016 Parks and Natural Areas Award competition. These projects serve as models for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region. Projects were honored in four categories: Policy Tools, Planning Process, On-the-Ground Projects Over $500,000, and On-the-Ground Projects Under $500,000.

On Tuesday, January 17, the H-GAC Board of Directors recognized the award winners during the regular board meeting and at a reception following the Board meeting.

Policy Tools 

Winner – Galveston Sand Management Strategies, a project by the Galveston Park Board, is the first comprehensive approach to the management of the Gulf of Mexico shoreline on Galveston Island.

Planning Process

Winner – Hackberry Gully Regional Park, a project by City of Mont Belvieu, is a masterplan to supply stormwater detention in a park-like environment in the Hackberry Gully watershed.

Honorable Mention – Independence Park Phase 1, a project by the City of Pearland, redesigns an 84-acre park, including a boulevard entrance, a large amphitheater and stage, a lake expansion, and a world-class dog park.

Honorable Mention – Nature Observation Area at National Oak Park, a project by the City of Alvin, engages residents in active local wildlife observation through onsite education about the wildlife and the ecosystem which sustains it.

Projects Over $500,000

Winner – Buffalo Bayou Park, a project by the Buffalo Bayou Partnership, mile is a 2.3-mile greenspace along Buffalo Bayou with amenities like trails, pedestrian bridges, public art, kayak and bike rentals, and lunar lighting.

Honorable Mention – Riverside Community Park, a project by the City of East Bernard transforms an open field into an 18-acre park with an accessible loop trail, gazebo, overlook, sports fields, and butterfly garden.

Special Recognition – Cypress Creek Hike and Bike Trail and Bridge TIP Project, a project by Timber Lane Utility District, is a long-term project connecting six subdivisions to pedestrian/bicycle access to Spring Park and Ride with a major bridge across Cypress Creek.

Special Recognition – Town Square, a project by the City of Baytown Parks & Recreation, is Baytown’s first downtown, urban park/plaza, covering a full city block and including a 25foot tall fountain, pavers, seating landscaping, and a large amphitheater.

Projects Under $500,000

Winner – Turtle Bayou Nature Preserve Natural Resources Management and Public Access and Education Project, a project by Galveston Bay Foundation, implements natural resources management and public access/education through the development of a 514-acre nature preserve in Chambers County.

Honorable Mention – Rotary Trail, a project by the City of Texas City, Department of Parks, Recreation & Tourism, revitalizes an underutilized fitness trail, including the addition of workout stations, in partnership with the Rotary Club of Texas City.

Special Recognition – City of Deer Park RC Rock Crawler Course, a project by the City of Deer Park Parks and Recreation, is a resident-introduced project creating a one-of-a-kind rock crawler course in an existing park.

Special Recognition – Collins Park Restoration-HCSO Inmate Community Work Program, Volunteers, and Contractors, a project by Bayou Preservation Association, is a partnership between the Harris County Sheriff’s Office Inmate Community Work Program, volunteers, park and BPA personnel to clean up the 55 acres of Collins Park
Since 2006, the Parks and Natural Areas subcommittee, an extension of H-GAC’s Natural Resources Advisory Committee, has recognized creative and innovative park and natural area projects that implement best management practices in planning, policy, and development.

For information about H-GAC’s Parks and Natural Areas planning program, contact Cheryl Mergo at 713-993-4520 or cheryl.mergo@h-gac.com.

Houston-Galveston Area Council

The Houston-Galveston Area Council (www.h-gac.com) is a voluntary association of local governments in the 13-county Gulf Coast Planning Region—an area of 12,500 square miles and more than 6 million people. H-GAC works to promote efficient and accountable use of local, state, and federal tax dollars and serves as a problem-solving and information forum for local government needs.