Key additions help to transform Sims Bayou and increase connectivity to nearby neighborhoods and parks
HOUSTON, May 25, 2023 – Construction is underway to connect Sims Bayou Greenway from Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard to City of Houston’s Robert C. Stuart Park, the Houston Parks Board (HPB) announced. This 3.33-mile hike-and-bike trail will run through the City of Houston’s F.M. Law Park, continuing HPB’s commitment to connect all Houstonians through public green space.
“Every Houstonian deserves access and opportunity to enjoy great outdoor amenities. Bayou Greenways is truly a transformative project for the City of Houston,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “This new section of hike and bike trail through southeast Houston will connect neighborhoods and communities. I appreciate the dedicated team that is working to strengthen Houston’s position as a livable city.”
“Sims Bayou Greenway, and the entire Bayou Greenways system, is made possible through partners with a shared vision for Houston’s landscape,” said Beth White, President and CEO of Houston Parks Board. “By increasing connections between and around City of Houston’s great parks, more Houstonians are able to experience and enjoy these exceptional city assets.”
The total cost of the project is $6.57 million. Harris County Precinct One designated funding for the portion of the greenway within its boundaries, F.M. Law Park to MLK Boulevard, and allocated $1.96 million toward its construction costs. Of the Kinder Foundation’s $50 million investment in Bayou Greenways in 2013, approximately $1,362,000 went toward this stretch of Sims Bayou Greenway.
Notable features of this portion of Sims Bayou Greenway include:
- Connections into three Houston parks: Robert C. Stuart Park, Stewart Park, and F.M. Law Park
- Connection to The First Tee Junior Golf Facility within F.M. Law Park
- A new 170-foot pedestrian bridge over a tributary of Sims Bayou
- A scenic 5-foot-wide concrete walking path between the east end of Reed Road and Stewart Park intended primarily for pedestrians
- A dedicated bike lane with striping and signage on Reed Road between the east end of Reed Road and Stewart Park with a concrete-raised curb to protect cyclists from vehicles
- Street-level connection to Swallow Street and under-street crossing at Mykawa Road and the adjacent railroad
- Connection into the Sims Bayou Greenway Trailhead at MLK and Airport, funded by Gulfgate Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ 8
- Interpretive and directional signage, benches, trash cans, and recycling containers
- Maintenance, including weekly trash pickup, bi-weekly mowing of grass along the trail, upkeep of the trail and amenities, and any necessary flood cleanup
“There are great parks along Sims Bayou, and it is wonderful to have these parks connected through the Sims Bayou Greenway,” said Kenneth Allen, Director, Houston Parks and Recreations Department. “Thank you to Houston Parks Board and our partners for continuing to promote park equity and connect all of our citizens.”
Construction also began this year on a 1.3-mile trail between F.M. Law Park and Doulton Drive. Gulfgate Redevelopment Authority/TIRZ 8 provided $1.41 million for this important neighborhood trail connection, with Harris County Precinct One providing $125,000 toward the construction costs. This trail will include a mid-block crossing on Bellfort Street, complete with signs, 911 mile-markers, and crosswalk striping.
A primary portion of this neighborhood connection is within a CenterPoint Energy easement. Building trails on CenterPoint Energy easements is possible thanks to an agreement between City of Houston and CenterPoint Energy, allowing the City to build public-use hike-and-bike trails on the utility’s corridors.
“The Gulfgate TIRZ (TIRZ 8) board of directors is honored to have invested $4.5 million in the Houston Parks Board’s projects — including the latest expansion of the Sims Bayou trail — in the cause of the economic development, additions to public amenities and the stability of neighborhoods, and commercial sectors in the TIRZ boundaries. We’re proud to be a partner in projects like this one that helps communities thrive and bring off-road connectivity to our part of this dynamic city,” said TIRZ 8 Chair M.E. “Sonny” Garza.
Said Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis: “I continue to be proud of Precinct One’s investment in ensuring access to quality green spaces for each of our communities. It is important that trails are continuous with safe and easy access to nearby neighborhoods. This new connection to F.M. Law Park and the Sims Bayou Greenway continues our progress toward a more connected Houston.”
All construction work for the above-listed projects is expected to conclude in late summer or early fall 2023. After the trail is built, a maintenance program will be in place to include trash pickup, mowing of grass along the trail, and general upkeep of the trail and amenities.
Sims Bayou Greenway is one of nine bayous being transformed as part of Bayou Greenways, a public-private partnership between the nonprofit Houston Parks Board, City of Houston, and Houston Parks and Recreation Department. The initiative is implemented in close collaboration with Harris County Flood Control District, which manages the county’s bayous and creeks for drainage and flood risk reduction. Bayou Greenways will transform 3,000 acres of underutilized land and create a 150-mile network of connected parks and trails along Houston’s major waterways.
Houston Parks Board creates, improves, protects, and advocates for parks for everyone. Since 1976, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization has utilized public-private partnerships and its extensive philanthropic, government, and community relationships to provide equitable access to quality parks and green space to the Greater Houston region. In addition to leading the transformational Bayou Greenways initiative, Houston Parks Board cares for more than 2,600 acres of green space and supports park projects large and small. For more information on Bayou Greenways and Beyond the Bayous, visit houstonparksboard.org.
The City of Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) stewards and manages 382 parks and over 39,501 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit www.houstonparks.org.
The primary goal of Gulfgate Redevelopment Authority/Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone 8 is to encourage the sound growth of the residential, retail, and commercial sectors in its southeast Houston zone through: the purchase, demolition and reconstruction of property, design and construction of improved mobility systems, streetscape enhancements, pedestrian amenities, public utility system upgrades, adequate public facilities, and parkland & public space improvements.