Green is a Go Downtown

"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'sconcentrating on his sailboat in a small pond at Discovery Green, withhis dad Rudy.

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

Discovery Green is the city's first real downtown park, divided into areasfor 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 sonhad his swim suit, but we didn't know this stuff was here. Our family is downtowna lot. My daughter is involved at the Hobby Center quite a bit, so we're downhere a lot and we're always looking for places to do different things while we'rehere 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 andincludes 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 programmingis all about providing different activities for all kinds of different people, fromthe 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 canall be proud of."

With a price tag of around $120 million, Discovery Green was a public-privatepartnership. 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'vebeen able to think bigger and do some things that were creative and be here forthe 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 theactivity and small enough where people feel as though they're part of a big party ora community event."

You can see pictures of the new park and find out more about DiscoveryGreen through a link on our website,

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