New member welcome: Save Buffalo Bayou

Great white egrets flying on Buffalo Bayou past banks of Memorial Park to be bulldozed. Photo by Jim Olive.CEC is delighted to welcome Save Buffalo Bayou to the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition.

4121 Mandell #3, Houston, TX 77006

[email protected]

Board Founding President: Frank C. Smith, Jr.

Executive Director: Susan Chadwick

Save Buffalo Bayou’s motto is “Working with Nature, Not Against it.” Save Buffalo Bayou is focused on educating and furthering more understanding about the natural lifecycle of our rivers, addressing the real issues behind flooding, behind erosion of property, the pollution of our waters, and protecting this irreplaceable resource in the middle of our city. Save Buffalo Bayou is a 501c3 nonprofit association.

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CEC welcomes Houston Botanic Garden as a new member

The Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is pleased to welcome Houston Botanic Garden as a new organizational member.

Houston Botanic Garden
3701 Kirby Drive, Suite 992
Houston, TX 77098
(713) 715-9675
[email protected]

More than 30 years ago, Nancy Thomas, Anita Stude, and Kay Crooker had a vision of a magnificent botanic garden in Houston to rival ones they had visited in Chicago, San Francisco, Philadelphia and New York City. They understood the important role a botanic garden could play culturally, educationally, and scientifically in the lives of Houstonians. They kept their vision alive by searching for an ideal site with the right topography, acreage, and location.

In 2002, the Houston Botanic Garden formed a Board of Directors. The mission of the Houston Botanic Garden is to enrich life through discovery, education, and the conservation of plants and the natural environment.

In January 2015, the City of Houston generously partnered with the HBG by agreeing to lease a 120-acre site on Sims Bayou in the Glenbrook area of Houston to allow the development of a botanic garden for generations to enjoy.  Later in 2015, with input from the public, the Houston Botanic Garden released its Master Plan designed by renowned landscape design firm West 8. A peer review committee consisting of a select group of leaders from established gardens in the United States also informed the Master Plan. The five-year plan includes the capital campaign, design and construction, establishment of the education program, recruitment and training of volunteers, cultivation of members and sponsors, and the ultimate goal of opening the Garden.  In response to community requests, Phase I, scheduled to open in 2020, will include shaded trails and walkways, spectacular year-round displays of a variety of plants, bayou and floodable gardens, along with education spaces and event venues.

In addition to the beauty and educational opportunities the Garden will provide, the Greater Houston Partnership estimates (assuming a Phase I construction cost of $40 million) the Garden will have a one-time economic impact on the region of $93.4 million, and that, once open, operations and tourism will contribute between $19.6 million and $24.4 million to Houston’s economy annually, depending on attendance.

Claudia Gee Vassar is serving as the Interim Executive Director. Jose L. Leal recently joined as HBG’s Office Manager.  Additionally, Venturi Outcomes, L.L.C. will be the project manager for the construction of this exciting new addition of Houston Botanic Garden to the Houston landscape.

CEC welcomes Levy Park Conservancy as a new member

The Citizens’ Environmental Coalition is pleased to welcome Levy Park Conservancy as a new organizational member.

We congratulate the Conservancy on the park’s recent completion and grand re-opening on Saturday, February 25, 2017. The renovated and expanded park, located on Eastside Street south of Richmond Avenue,  has created a new entertainment and recreation area in the Upper Kirby District for all Houstonians to enjoy.

3801 Eastside, Houston, TX 77098

The opening celebration on February 25, 2017, was evidence of the incredible features of the park. The double decker bus serving coffee/pastries in the morning or wine/beer in the evenings, and Love Bird, a kiosk serving smoked chicken, sides and drinks, and the addition of Tim Love’s Fort Worth smoke-based restaurant Woodshed are all temptations that will further enhance the complete Levy Park experience — with the bus and kiosk opening this fall. The Performance Pavilion stages, the Promenade, the Activity Lawn, the Playground, and the Dog Park will host a multitude of events and activities. You can also play table tennis, use the putting green, and work in the garden.

Levy Park’s full calendar offers a wide variety of fitness, cultural, and family programs that meet on a weekly basis. Fit4MOM, piano concerts, and Houston Public Library storytelling are only a few offerings which are on the Park’s calendar of events. Activities are available every day of the week. Upcoming special events include Houston VIP Poetry Performances starting on April 8, Prelude Family Concerts starting in May, a solar eclipse viewing in August, and the MET Season Kickoff Performance in September. This Saturday, March 11, 2017, the Conservancy is hosting a FREE family concert presented by Prelude Music Classes for Children.

Levy Park is a hidden gem which hadn’t changed much since it’s original 1941 creation.  At the onset of the park renovation planning, it became clear that Levy Park needed not only the facilities to support community-driven programming identified in a 2011 Project for Public Spaces study, but also active, vibrant edges engaged in complementary uses.  The smart mix of uses that will enhance public programming and amenities on the park side, with the thoughtful integration of Midway Companies’ Class-A office space, dining amenities and high-end lofts on the private side, will not only stimulate park patronage but will also generate the funds needed to maintain and program the park for the next 99 years. This partnership has created a transformative mixed-use environment and a highly activated project. The combination of uses, along with the urban park, will generate an economically and physically sustainable model that will redefine quality of life in Upper Kirby and for all of Houston.