By Gilbert Hoffman
Officials of the East Aldine Improvement District, and some representative residents of the community, were treated to a tour of the almost completed improvements in Keith-Wiess Park, and along Halls Bayou last month.
Completing the tour, with officials from the Harris County Flood Control District, were East Aldine Improvement District Chairman Clyde Bailey, and Director of Services Mike Ledbetter.
They reported back that many improvements in the park are nearing completion, and that the public will have access to these new areas and amenities sometime in the Spring of 2008 when they are completed.
Bailey said that 5 new 5 acre lakes are done, and besides their flood control function, they will be available for fishing from a pier. The pier, walkways and a pedestrian bridge are now under construction. The lakes will hold about 300,000 gallons of water in a flood situation, and lower Halls Bayou about a foot.
The tour took a route on city streets around Halls Bayou, noting much flood control work under way. A major holding basin has been cleared along Sauders, east of US59.
The map on page 1 shows possible road improvements, including the extension of Bentley to JFK through the park, and the east-west connection of Gulf Bank Road to East Mt. Houston. These roads are in various stages of planning and financing, and not all of them are set to be built at this time.
However, new parking areas and access roads inside the park will be opened this year, as shown on the map.
Keith-Wiess park is owned by the city of Houston, having been donated by Margaret Wiess Elkins and her family in 1979. It is a total of 500 acres, one of the larger parks in the city.
Improvements are being financed by Harris County, the City of Houston, and the East Aldine Improvement District. The HC Flood Control District will spend $10,000,000 to reduce the risk of flooding along the Halls Bayou waterway, and the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has given a grant of $2,000,000 for the park amenities.
These will include a one mile concrete paved hike and bike trail, a 2 mile soft surface nature walking trail, a footbridge over Halls Bayou, 3 new soccer fields, a fishing pier, and a boardwalk and further development of the wetlands environment.
These will be added to existing facilities, which include 2 lighted tennis courts, a practice basketball court, a multi-use field for football, soccer and rugby, 5 picnic areas and 2 picnic shelters, a playground for children, and some existing walking trails.
The total area of Keith-Wiess Park is 500 acres, and the new work is involved with about 112 acres of this land.
By Gilbert Hoffman