Bay Area Edition | January 2022


the El Dorado widening. In League City, the Parks, Trails and Open Space Master Plan was released in November 2017. The master plan includes a needs assessment and rec- ommendations for land usage and is meant to guide city ocials to pro- vide unique experiences, use infra- structure adequately and eciently, and create economic sustainability. “It’s a robust plan that’s sched- uled way out beyond ve years, but it’s very, very popular with the resi- dents,” City Manager John Baumgart- ner said. The city hired a consultant in fall 2021 to add elements related to mountain bike trails to the master plan, including aspects such as trail standards and acceptable trail place- ment, Baumgartner said. This plan update stemmed from mountain bikers who were utilizing handmade trails around neighborhoods adjacent to Lynn Gripon Park. While the city is still relatively early in the process of executing master plan improvements, Bass said he hopes to get City Council approval on the new mountain bike trails for Lynn Gripon Park and break ground on it this year. The parks master plan also serves to help ocials determine how much land should be set aside for future parks in the city’s undeveloped southwest portion. So far, the city has secured 100 acres on the west side for a future regional park, said David Hoover, executive director of development services. The park, which does not have a build-out timeline, will be west of McFarland Road and south of West Boulevard. The park will be just south of a planned single-family commu- nity from Dallas-based developer Hillwood, located on land referred to as the Stedman-West site, city ocials said. Bass said the park could include recreational space for sports, walking trails, and detention ponds that pro- vide space for shing and kayaking. Additionally, city ocials are in the process of looking to acquire more park space on the east side of town, Bass said. However, potential loca- tions for added green space have not been released. “The city has a mind to enhance park opportunities on the east side of the city and we are actively pursuing as many opportunities as possible,” Bass said.

Construction on the last two phases of Exploration Green, Phases 3B and 5, will nish this year. Exploration Green is a 200-acre Clear Lake project that began as stormwater detention basin and evolved into a local recreation destination. EXPLORATION GREEN BUILDOUT

Completed phase

Phase to be completed in 2022


PHASE 3B Status: Phase 3B construction began in October and will wrap up this fall. The phase features about 0.75 miles of hike and bike trails.

Informal surveys at Exploration Green showed the park’s daily visitors increased during the pandemic. Daily Exploration Green visitors

PHASE 5 Status: Phase 5 construction will begin in late January. The phase features about 1 mile of hike and bike trails.








End of 2022







Exploration Green’s board of directors president, via email. “The paradigm for detention ponds was to dig a hole in the ground, throw up a fence around it, and then forget about it,” Branch said. “[The CLCWA] believed that the project …was a great opportunity to get the community involved with improving their qual- ity of life while developing a personal investment in the neighborhood.” Of the equal-size phases, Phases 1 and 2 were completed in 2018 and 2020, respectively. Half of Phase 3 was nished in 2020, and half should be completed in 2022, Branch said. Phase 4 was completed in Decem- ber, and the contract for Phase 5 was awarded in December. Phase 5 is set to break ground in late January and be completed by the end of 2022. The phases will cost a total of about $40 million, Exploration Green ocials said. Exploration Green’s amenities have been funded through grants and dona- tions, nonprot leaders said. The non- prot was created to foster community

involvement and assist in fundraising for amenities such as benches, trees, hike and bike trails, and the parking lot, which was completed in July. Phase 5, which will cost $11 million, will have the same amenities, includ- ing hike and bike trails and benches tying the northeastern most phase— near Space Center Boulevard—to the rest of the park, ocials said. New trails, parks Elsewhere in the Bay Area, ocials are executing improvement projects that add recreational functionality to publicly accessible land. Harris County Precinct 2’s El Dorado Boulevard widening project between Clear Lake City Boulevard and Horsepen Bayou was split into two phases due to the additionof in-ground detention. Phase 1, which will be com- pleted this spring, includes both hike and bike trail work and in-ground detention, according to Precinct 2 sta. The trails will be extended to Horsepen Bayou, and 5 miles of trails will be completed in conjunction with


for uninterrupted services.” This year, League City will break ground on Bay Colony Park as well as acquiring acreage in the city’s eastern and undeveloped western portion, earmarking the acreage for future green spaces. Assistant City Manager Bo Bass said the city prioritizes green space projects to improve residents’ quality of life. “It is very rare that we … ever expect the park to actually pay for itself,” he said. “Because, quite frankly, it’s one of those services you provide that add to quality of life.” Functional green space The Clear Lake City Water Authority purchased the Exploration Green property, which is located at El Camino Real, Bay Area Boulevard and Space Center Boulevard, in 2011 to prevent additional housing development as well as addressing increased ood- ing caused by rain runo in the Clear Lake City area, said John Branch,



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