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Harris County Plans To Use Settlement Over Environmental Hazard To Develop Park

It will provide access to a waterway connecting the San Jacinto River, Spring Creek and Lake Houston.

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One of the goals of the project is that the park becomes the point of access to a large waterway connecting the San Jacinto River, Spring Creek and Lake Houston.
Al Ortiz | Houston Public Media
One of the goals of the project is that the park becomes the point of access to a large waterway connecting the San Jacinto River, Spring Creek and Lake Houston.

Harris County officials will use money from the settlement over a serious environmental hazard to develop a park near Humble.

The county will purchase a 38 acre property located on the north bank of the San Jacinto River to develop a park that will be named Edgewater, which is the name it has had for decades for residents of the area.

"The property will be right on the edge of the Spring Creek greenway, or connecting the Spring Creek greenway, which will be a trail that will connect all the way from Kingwood to The Woodlands," explains Darlene Conley, director of the Jesse H. Jones Park & Nature Center, which is close to where Edgewater will be.

The project is being funded with monies from the settlement Harris County reached in November of 2014 with two of the companies responsible for the pollution in the San Jacinto River waste pits.

  • Monte Parks, an Education Programmer with Harris County Precinct 4, says the spot where Edgewater Park will be developed is already a popular location for people who enjoy outdoor activities.
    Monte Parks, an Education Programmer with Harris County Precinct 4, says the spot where Edgewater Park will be developed is already a popular location for people who enjoy outdoor activities.
  • One of the goals of the project is that the park becomes the point of access to a large waterway connecting the San Jacinto River, Spring Creek and Lake Houston. (Photo Credit: Al Ortiz | Houston Public Media)
    One of the goals of the project is that the park becomes the point of access to a large waterway connecting the San Jacinto River, Spring Creek and Lake Houston. (Photo Credit: Al Ortiz | Houston Public Media)
  • In addition to the connectivity through the trails, the park will have a boat launch.
    In addition to the connectivity through the trails, the park will have a boat launch.
  • The purchase of the land for the park is being funded with monies from the settlement Harris County reached in 2014 with two of the companies responsible for the pollution in the San Jacinto River waste pits. (Photo Credit: Al Ortiz | Houston Public Media)
    The purchase of the land for the park is being funded with monies from the settlement Harris County reached in 2014 with two of the companies responsible for the pollution in the San Jacinto River waste pits. (Photo Credit: Al Ortiz | Houston Public Media)
  • Edgewater Park will be on the edge of the Spring Creek greenway and will connect Kingwood and The Woodlands through its trail networks.
    Edgewater Park will be on the edge of the Spring Creek greenway and will connect Kingwood and The Woodlands through its trail networks.

Both the county and the state received a monetary compensation.

The Texas Parks & Wildlife Department awarded Harris County Precinct 4 a $4.5 million grant –coming from the state's part of the settlement— for the first phase of the project, which entails purchasing the property where the county will develop the park.

Precinct 4 Commissioner Jack Cagle says the park will aim to compensate the people affected by the waste pits, which are near Channelview.

"They can’t participate and interact with the water because of what is in that water now. This is a place that they can be proud of, and go to and enjoy," he says.

"It’ll be some 42 miles of contiguous forested greenway, ecotourism will be available there," adds Cagle.

In addition to the connectivity through the trails, the park will have a boat launch.

That will be an essential component because one of the main goals of the project is to be the point of access to a large waterway connecting the river, Spring Creek and Lake Houston.

Jacqueline Young, executive director of the San Jacinto River Coalition, the most active and vocal group when it comes to demanding a total clean-up of the waste pits, says that since Edgewater Park will not be close to where the people directly affected by the pollution live, at first some of them were upset.

"But they quickly understood that if a park was going to be developed or enhanced we accept the fact that it needs to be in a safe environment and we just don’t believe that any areas near the San Jacinto River waste pits are safe," notes Young.

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