Green is a Go Downtown

Houston's newest downtown park is officially open for business, with rave reviews on opening weekend. Under blue skies, thousands turned-out to enjoy Discovery Green, the 12 acre urban oasis between Toyota Center and Minute Maid Park. Jack Williams has a report.

"You're sailing. Do you see that? You're sailing. You're doing just fine."

With a remote control in his hands, 4-year-old Aaron Abrego is already sold. He's concentrating on his sailboat in a small pond at Discovery Green, with his dad Rudy.

"This is nice. This is a great thing for Houston. I mean, with something so nice like this, people will come to it, especially if it's right next to the baseball park and Toyota Center. It's nice."

Discovery Green is the city's first real downtown park, divided into areas for visitors with different interests. Near a playground, kids are running through a maze of fountains. James Stewart is from League City and came to see the park with his son.

"It gives the kids a chance to get out. We were actually hoping that my son had his swim suit, but we didn't know this stuff was here. Our family is downtown a lot. My daughter is involved at the Hobby Center quite a bit, so we're down here a lot and we're always looking for places to do different things while we're here while she's got class. This is a great place for us."

The park is situated in front of the George R. Brown Convention Center and includes restaurants, dog runs and a stage area for concerts. Discovery Green director Guy Hagstette says the park fills a downtown void.

"Looking around it seems like we've made a really good start and our programming is all about providing different activities for all kinds of different people, from the arts to families and children to the environment. I think they're going to enjoy having a place they can call their own that's in the public realm that we can all be proud of."

With a price tag of around $120 million, Discovery Green was a public-private partnership. The land and upkeep were provided by the city and the rest of the money came from private donations. Mayor Bill White.

"As we've seen people supplement our public funding with private funding, we've been able to think bigger and do some things that were creative and be here for the entire family. Already, you've seen the people playing in the water, the kids, the dogs and pets that are out here. It's big enough that we can accommodate all the activity and small enough where people feel as though they're part of a big party or a community event."

You can see pictures of the new park and find out more about Discovery Green through a link on our website, KUHF.org.

Bio photo of Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Director of News Programming

News Director Jack Williams has been with Houston Public Radio since August of 2000. He's also a reporter and anchor for Houston Public Radio's local All Things Considered segments...