Bellaire - Meyerland - West University | March 2023

A broader view The Willow Waterhole Greenway can be found on more than 300 acres in southwest Houston. New trails are slated to open around the Greenway’s lakes in 2023. Meanwhile, talks are underway regarding the redevelopment of nearly 29 acres of nearby land formerly owned by Shell Oil. An agreement over the future of that land, renamed Energy Capital Park, could come together in 2023.

1. Westbury Lake trail Status: Construction contract approved Jan. 31 by Harris County Commissioners Court Cost: $2.7 million Funding source: Harris County Flood Control District

2. Other Greenway Trails Status: Construction to begin in spring on Triangle, Scout, Heron, Prairie and Willow lakes Cost: $10 million Funding source: Kinder Foundation, various donors







3. Energy Capital Park The 28.8-acre site is located on a plot of land formerly owned by Shell Oil on Gasmer Drive, next to the Willow Waterhold Greenway’s Westbury Lake Status: Conversations ongoing between Friends of Levitt Pavilion, city of Houston and Brays Oaks Management District Cost: To be determined Funding source: To be determined






city,” Kinder Foundation President Nancy Kinder said in a statement at the time of the donation. Burhans said people donate to the Waterhole because they want to sup- port projects that mix ood control and recreation, are impressed by the work already done by volunteers, and want to bring a valuable amenity to southwest Houston. “All these other places have big parks, and they feel like southwest Houston has kind of been over- looked,” he said. Energy Capital Park Nearby, Energy Capital Park is being planned at a site that once served as a Shell Oil research and development facility in the 1950s and was pur- chased by the city of Houston in 2019. The city is partnering with the Brays Oaks Management District on deter- mining what the site could feature. District K Council Member Mar- tha Castex-Tatum said multiple open

Court approved a $2.7 million contract with MB Western Industrial Contract- ing Company at a Jan. 31 meeting for trail construction around the Willow Waterhole’s Westbury Lake. Plans call for the ood control dis- trict to build 3.5 miles of trail, includ- ing a trail around the top of the bank and an intermediary part of the lake, Burhans said. Construction, which began in February, is expected to be nished by the end of March, he said. Burhans said the conservancy has also secured funding to build trails around ve of the greenway’s other lakes, including Scout, Triangle, Heron, Prairie and Willow lakes. The roughly 8 miles of new trails will be funded with $10 million in donations, including $4 million from the Kinder Foundation. Work will start in mid- 2023 and run through 2024. “Willow Waterhole is truly a dia- mond in the rough that is poised to transform the quality of life of Hous- tonians in the southwest area of the



a park and ood-control facility. The waterhole’s six lakes also serve as detention ponds that can hold up to 600 million gallons of stormwater, according to the Willow Waterhole Greenspace Conservancy, the all-vol- unteer organization that has tasked itself with improving and maintaining the greenway. The various projects taking place in and around the greenway point toward a bright future for the site, said Bill Burhans, the conservancy’s conservation chair. Site investors rec- ognize its oerings, he said. “This place looks dierent than anywhere else in Houston,” Burhans said. Trail work moves forward Harris County Commissioners


5,000-seat outdoor live music venue called Levitt Pavilion. Howard Sacks, president of the nonprot Levitt Pavilion Houston, said his group is working with the city of Houston—which owns the land— to nalize plans for the pavilion and park, an agreement for which could be reached by the end of the third quarter of 2023. The nonprot formed in 2013 with the goal of building the Levitt Pavilion, and managing and operating it once complete. “We’re excited to be close to an agreement regarding the site and its use,” Sacks said. The 291-acre Willow Waterhole Gre- enway was built by the Harris County Flood Control District in 2004 as both

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