Firm Known for Sustainable Landscaping Selected For Memorial Park Restoration

Dying tress in Memorial Park during the drought. September 2011. Photo taken by Jack Williams.
A landscape architect firm known for ecological restoration has been selected to oversee them master plan to redesign and update Memorial Park.

Nelson Byrd Woltz is a national firm with a reputation for large-scale sustainable landscape architecture.

Shellye Arnold is executive director of the Memorial Park Conservancy. She says one of their biggest concerns was finding a firm that would be able to deal with the extensive damage in the park from the drought.

"Not only do they have a focus on that, they have a huge base of experience with the successful projects under their belts, very large-scale projects, where they've worked with damaged ecologies and put in place what is required to restore them and be sustainable and healthy over time."

Arnold says the firm's willingness to include input from the public was the other major selling point.

That's been a key component of the conservancy's pitch to city leaders — that a new master plan will take into account what the park's users want and need.

Thomas Woltz says that fits in with his firm's ideology.

"We begin with a process that is one of listening, both to the people — our clients, but also the people and users of parks. And secondly, listening to the site. And that might sound a little poetic, but I mean it from the heart. It's really about looking carefully at soil conditions, climate conditions, plant communities, wildlife communities."

The firm will take about six to nine months to gather stakeholder input. They hope to present a master plan to city council for approval within two years.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...