NeighborWoods Program | Linear Forests Program | Discovery Green Park | Brownfields Redevelopment Program | Parks and Open Space Ordinance | Tree Inventory | Adopt an Esplanade | Remediation Database
NeighborWoods Program - A private/public volunteer initiative aimed at providing Houston neighborhoods with beautiful trees free of charge. Citizens can obtain a brand-new 5-gallon tree; in exchange, they must plant it properly on the right of way adjacent to their property and maintain its growth and development for two years.
Linear Forests Program - This program restores the natural regeneration of our urban forest. These areas remain undisturbed to allow a greater variety of native vegetation to re-establish itself. Grass and other plants will grow tall the first year and soon, trees will sprout, grow and expand our urban forest. In addition, because this is natural regeneration, these areas are established so that no mowing is required. This helps cut down emissions from gas-powered lawn mowers.
Discovery Green Park - Discovery Green is an 11.78-acre park currently under construction in downtown Houston. This new urban park is located across from the George R. Brown Convention Center and the Hilton Americas Hotel between the Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park . It is managed by The Discovery Green Conservancy, a private non-profit corporation formed to design, build and operate the park for the city. Discovery Green is changing the landscape of downtown Houston today and creating a vibrant, dynamic urban park for tomorrow.
Brownfields Redevelopment Program - Houston 's Brownfields Redevelopment Program is a U.S. EPA Brownfields Showcase Community. With this designation, Houston serves as one of 28 recognized role models for municipalities to pattern themselves after in their quest to develop practices and policies that facilitate Brownfields redevelopment. A "Brownfield" is any property where redevelopment is complicated by the presence or potential presence of environmental contamination. These sites can be abandoned buildings, vacant lots, former commercial or manufacturing sites, or other types of property. The mission of Houston's Program is to help improve the quality of life for Houston 's residents by facilitating the identification, assessment, cleanup, and beneficial redevelopment of Brownfields. The redevelopment can be anything that will benefit the community, such as housing for the elderly, new businesses that create jobs or shopping opportunities, or parks. The Program provides free environmental site assessments that are funded by the U.S. EPA with grants awarded to the City.
Since September 2005, 24 new sites have come into the Program. Seventeen of those properties will become park space, two will provide affordable housing, one will provide a housing facility for the elderly, one will become an organic garden for educating students about nutritious diets as well as providing food for needy citizens, one will become a hotel/resort, and two are City-owned properties that will be cleaned up and sold for development.
Parks and Open Space Ordinance - The City passed a Parks and Open Space Ordinance, which requires residential developers to develop park space or pay an in-lieu fee in the areas in which they build. This ordinance, which took effect on November 1, 2007, divides the City into 17 sectors. Developers have the option of contributing $700 per dwelling unit or dedicating 1.8 acres of land for every 100 dwelling units they build. The formula is based on a number of factors including: the number of units in the development; the number of persons per dwelling for single and multi-family units; and the current parkland to resident ratio designated by the 2001 Parks Master Plan.
In addition, the Trust for Public Land 's 2007 survey indicates that the City of Houston ranks first among the nations top 10 cities in total acreage of parkland and second behind only San Diego in park acreage per capita.
Tree Inventory - Houston Parks and Recreation Department's 2005 Urban Forestry Partnership Grant project is geared toward evaluating the value of the tree inventory and managing the asset lifecycle of our urban tree canopy. A full time GIS/Forestry Professional was hired to oversee and develop a complete street tree inventory and management plan to ensure the best management of the city's existing tree canopy.
Key responsibilities of the position and grant project goals are, to oversee and develop the Urban Forestry Internship Program, complete of tree inventory inside the 610 Loop, manage the tree inventory data and generate meaningful reports, use the tree inventory data to prepare a community tree management plan, develop a disaster preparation and response plan to reduce tree damage caused by severe weather in critical access corridors on the Texas Medical Center District, and coordinate with non-profits and volunteer groups.
Adopt-an-Esplanade - Adopt-An-Esplanade is a program designed to bring Houston neighborhoods together in committed, collaborative partnerships to improve and maintain city esplanades. Houston Parks and Recreation Department administers the program and Keep Houston Beautiful provides volunteer coordination, community education, training, planning assistance, and loans tools and equipment for beautification and cleanup projects. Participants include civic groups, garden clubs, business owners, city and state agencies and corporate sponsors.
Remediation Database - The objective of creating a Houston area specific remediation database is to better monitor the status of federal and state Superfund sites, and determine if federal and state remediation programs are protecting human health and the environment within the City of Houston.
The database of sites provides problem identification and site information for each federal and state Superfund site within the City of Houston . The problem identification covers: 1) what programs are addressing the site, 2) Why are the sites classified in a particular manner, and 3) Where the sites are located?
The site information covers: 1) remediation that has been applied to the site, 2) the success of the remediation strategy, and 3) the current status of the site.
Having this information easily accessible provides trouble-free tracking of each site. Being able to better track these site will allow for a managed process of correcting the problems found with each site, and help better identify potential Brownfield sites.
In addition, such a database helps identify "orphaned sites" that have fallen through the cracks. An orphaned site is a toxic waste area where the polluter could not be identified or the polluter refused to take action or pay for the cleanup.