Frontline Parks: Leading examples of urban parks creating economic, environmental and social capital through innovative partnerships

Stuart Park

Categories: Community

Robert C. Stuart Park

Five miles from the Houston Ship Channel, home of the second largest petrochemical complex in the world, a 27 acre remnant of the southeast Texas bayou system is being regenerated. The source of this emerging life is Robert C. Stuart Park, soon to be an environmental education center and source of respite for nearby neighbors and factory workers. The Houston Parks Board (HPB), whose mission is to create, improve, protect and advocate for parks in the Greater Houston region, worked closely with owner Francita Ulmer, who became the driving force behind the creation of the Park. Mrs. Ulmer donated half the value of the land and HPB raised the balance of the funds to acquire the land. Following the acquisition, the City of Houston obtained grant funding for the park improvement.

Restoration for Education

stuart parkFor years, Houston turned its back on the bayous – turning them from marshy streams into concrete drainage ditches. But at Stuart Park, visitors will be invited to embrace and appreciate the historic bayou habitat – to wander trails, cross boardwalks over wetland streams, and watch prairie grasses wave in the breeze.  It will also be a place to learn about nature, with a learning pavilion, teaching stations, interpretive signage and a demonstration garden. And with 30 elementary, middle and high schools within a 3 mile radius, convenient field trips to the park might become part of the standard curriculum. Acquisition and improvement of Stuart Park is yielding more than “just” green space – it is an investment in habitat preservation, expansion, and enhancement, environmental learning, and community building, and as such, an investment in Houston’s future.

For more information about Robert C. Stuart Park, please contact Deborah Rule.

Leave a Reply