Houston to Sell One Park, Buy Another

A tract of city land off Allen Parkway could soon go up for sale for high-rise or mid-rise development.
City officials say they’ll use some of the money from the sale to open a new park in the Fourth Ward.
Laurie Johnson reports.

There’s an eight-acre site next to the Federal Reserve Bank on Allen Parkway that the city has been planning to sell for
some time.

But Houston Parks officials now want to add an additional 2.6 acre tract to that parcel of land and permanently close
what’s known as San Felipe Park.

Houston Mayor Annise Parker says council will have to approve removing the park designation from the property
before they can sell it.

“By linking San Felipe Park, which is a brownfield and it has been shuttered to the public for eight years now, to city-owned land that is just to its south, we have a larger tract of land — makes it much more attractive to developers.”

It’s likely the spot will attract high-rise business or mid-rise residential development. Houston Parks Department Director Joe Turner says any time the city sells park property, they must replace it elsewhere in the community.

“This is an area of town that we’re really tight on properties, close to downtown, and we really need to supply those to the community that’s living in that area. And the department is commited for what the citizens asked us years ago — which is to get them a ball field. Our pretence now is we have the opportunity to get on a new piece of clean property with an actual little league ball field.”

San Felipe Park was closed in 2002, when city officials found glass and metal shards in the soil. Turner says they believe the land was once used as an incinerator or dump site and is not safe as a public greenspace.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF News.

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Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Executive Producer for News

Laurie Johnson leads daily news coverage for HPM. She helps reporters craft and sharpen their stories on tight deadlines, with the aim of getting the most relevant and current information into local newscasts. Laurie is a native Houstonian who started her career at Houston Public Media in 2002. She is...

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