HOUSTON — Construction has begun on Memorial Park’s transformational Land Bridge and Prairie project.
The $70 million project will be paid for with public and private funding.
The bridge will connect parkland over Memorial Drive, creating a larger network of trail systems from the 2015 Memorial Park Master Plan and the 2018 Ten-Year Plan. It'll also restore about 45 acres of native coastal prairie and reduce the amount of rain water that goes from the park to Buffalo Bayou.
“From aiding with critical storm water management to granting people and wildlife safer crossing over Memorial Drive to providing a dynamic outdoor destination for all visitors, the Land Bridge and Prairie will be an asset -- not just for Memorial Park -- but for all Houstonians,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner. “It’s about unifying both sides of the Park and giving people a new landmark that they can be proud of and use to enjoy nature.”
Memorial Drive will remain open while the project is being built.
The Memorial Park Conservancy’s BioCycle Program will be moving trees from the project area. Trees will either be relocated to a different spot in the park, or they'll be turned into compost or toewood for stream banks. To make healthy new growth for the Land Bridge and Prairie, a living biological agent from nearby prairie ecosystems will be added to the soil and compost.
“This new parkland will symbolize the triumph of "green over gray," healing the divide created by Memorial Drive half a century ago,” said Shellye Arnold, President and CEO of Memorial Park Conservancy. “Ecological conversion, the underpinning of what we do, creates highest value. We are confident that together, the Land Bridge and Prairie project will further distinguish both Memorial Park and Houston, serving as an icon for a greener and more resilient future.”
Land Bridge and Prairie is set to be finished in late 2022.
It follows the debut of the park's latest addition, the Clay Family Eastern Glades.