In giving that designation, the American Planning Association singled out a nine-mile stretch of Buffalo Bayou, from Shepherd Drive to Turning Basin Overlook Park. Mayor Annise Parker says the organization looked at the city's efforts to create parks, art spaces, and bike trails under a $55 million downtown renovation project. Also recognized were Houston's efforts to preserve Buffalo Bayou's ecosystem.
"Buffalo Bayou is in one sense our Central Park, it is our birthplace. From the banks of Buffalo Bayou is where the Allen Brothers laid out the city's street grid."
But city planners admit there are areas along the bayou that still need work, in particular between Allen's Landing and Sesquicentennial Park, an area where many homeless people congregate. Buffalo Bayou Park Project Manager Guy Hagstette says that area will be targeted with the help of a federal grant.
"You start with access so you can get through the area. You clean it up, you light it, you manage it, you maintain it, you provide landscaping."
Renovations to the bayou's downtown sector should be completed in 2015.