Inner-city park in Houston, Texas re-opens after 15-year, $15 million renovation

At the center of inner-city Houston, Texas, Levy Park‘s renewed appeal can be seen for miles.

After nearly 15 years of gradual renovation, the Upper Kirby park reopened on February 25, 2017 to a sizable crowd of Houstonians flocking from several corners of the city. Spearheaded by the Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority.

Levy Park playground

This city is becoming an example to the nation,Mayor Sylvester Turner said. “It’s truly inspiring to look and see you all, so many Houstonians, enjoying the latest contribution to our city’s great, green space. Never before have Houstonians had so many options for places to gather together, to celebrate our heritage and diversity and to plan and find respite from a contentious world.

Levy Park has long been a hidden gem in the Upper Kirby District. A premium public green space in the heart of inner-city Houston, the newly-renovated park creates an active, vibrant gathering place for the immediate community, as well as an entertainment and recreation destination for the people of Greater Houston.

The Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority, in partnership with the Upper Kirby District Foundation, (a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization focused on community and quality of life improvements) funded the $15 million renovation and redesign, to transform Levy Park into a world-class urban space.

The redeveloped park features curated, year-round programming, native landscaping and botanical experiences, one of a kind children’s play, interactive water features, a performance pavilion, an event lawn, a community garden, space for a farmers’ market, and a dog park.

Levy Park community gardens

What makes this project truly unique is that it is maintained entirely by two, 99-year ground leases on Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority owned land adjacent to Levy Park. 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 Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority entered into a partnership with renowned City Center developer, the Midway Companies, to activate the edges of the park with a smart mix of uses that will enhance public programming and amenities on the park side with the thoughtful integration of Class-A office space, dining amenities and high-end lofts on the private side. These complementary uses will not only stimulate park patronage but will also generate the funds needed to maintain and program the park for the next 99 years.

The partnership created a transformative mixed-use environment and a highly activated space. 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.

All images courtesy of Upper Kirby Redevelopment Authority.

See Houston Chronicle article by Alex Meyer about re-opening celebration.

See Levy Park website.

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