A grant of nearly $ 900,000 to help the Heights transit hub become an East Sunset Heights park

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Two years after being purchased by the City of Houston, the old Heights Transit Center at 6000 North Main will experience new life as East Sunset Heights Park.

The nearly one-acre lot will be renovated in about two years with help from a $ 898,000 grant to the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, the city of Houston said Wednesday.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission Urban Outdoor Recreation Grant will be used to upgrade the existing pavilion, small stage, accessible play area, washroom upgrades, play area, an open lawn, landscaping, a walking path, a tricycle track, perimeter fence, parking and rain garden with educational signage.

Existing native trees will be preserved, according to the City, and benches, picnic tables and game tables will be strategically placed for year-round enjoyment.

“When this project is completed, this park will undoubtedly become a popular gathering space and another achievement for the Houston Parks Department,” said Kenneth Allen, director of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

Houston bought the Heights Transit Center for $ 1.4 million two years ago after the 2015 city parks master plan identified the area in need of green space. The city hired Lauren Griffith & Associates to create a master plan for the new park.

According to the parks department, the grant could delay the construction schedule. Once the concept has been designed and the contracts awarded, construction of the park could begin in 2023.

The TPWC has received nearly $ 22 million in grants to help fund projects that create and enhance recreational activities such as nature trails, native gardens, playgrounds, wading pools, dog parks and grounds in 38 parks statewide.

Grants were allocated to local governments on a 50/50 payback basis. Once funded, all subsidized sites must be dedicated as a park in perpetuity, properly maintained and open to the public, according to the TPWC.

The commission assigned projects in various categories based on the size and reach of the community’s population. Urban outdoor recreation grants are reserved for local governments with populations over 500,000.

Harris County also received a $ 1.5 million grant for the Challenger Seven Memorial Park in League City; a $ 500,000 grant to the Texas Historical Commission to acquire land from the Almonte Surrender Site at the San Jacinto Battlefield State Historic Site; Westchase District receives $ 750,000 for development of Wildcrest Park, including sculptural playground, dog park and water games; the town of Mont Belvieu receives $ 750,000 for the development and renovation of Joe Matthews Park; Tomball receives $ 750,000 for the development and renovation of Jerry Matheson Park.

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