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Posts published in “Day: July 10, 2012

Greens Bayou CC Parks and Trails Plan completed

NORTHEAST – Jill Boullion, Executive Director of the Greens Bayou Corridor Coalition, has released the final report on plans for parks and Trails along the full length of the Bayou.

Residents of the Aldine and North Forest areas, as well as most of the North Houston/Greenspoint neighborhoods, will benefit from a myriad of parks and recreational features that will be built along the bayou, according to Boullion, who spoke at a recent East Aldine District luncheon. However, she emphasized that this plan must be implemented with funding that has not yet been achieved in many of the cases.

The Master Plan is a joint partnership of the Coalition, and the National Park Service.

Goals and objectives of the Master Plan are Conservation, Developed Parks & Recreation, Connectivity, Landscaping, and Sustainability, according to the plan document.

With reference to numbers on the map, the following projects are in the plan in the NORTH REACH/ALDINE AREA:

2. Lauder Basin Park and Trails, A 100+ acre wooded site, suitable for recreational improvements for sports, trails and more.

3. Glen Forest Basin Nature Park, a 165 acre HCFCD flood detention basin currently under construction.

9. Aldine Westfield Basin Natural Area and Recreation Park, a HCFCD flood detention basin of 110 acres.

12. Kuykendahl Basin Park, a 300 acre detention basin suitable for recreation and a trail linked to the main bayou.

13. Cypress Creek Trail Foxwood Segment, a greenway trail with a missing 2 mile segment.

14. Greens Crossing Park, an 8 acre wooded site near Gears Loop and West Greens Road, owned by Greenspoint District, could be developed with trails and quiet areas.

20. Hollister Basin Park, 213 acre site for HCFCD detention, and trails, recreation, and a dog park. East of Cutten Road.

22. Aldine ISD Greens Bayou Outdoor Learning Center, a wooded 10 acre site good for outdoor learning and environmental stewardship, near 3 schools.

23. North Fork Trail, a 6.5 mile trail along Greens Bayou would provide safe crossing under I-45 and to nearby Spring Skate Park.

25. North Belt Park, 42 acres of wooded property at Aldine Bender and the bayou.

27. Northgate Recreational Area and Community Center, 8 acres between Northchase and Benmar, now a site of a waste water treatment plant that will be abandoned, could include a community room classrooms, a gym, and soccer field.

29. Lauder Basin to Keith Wiess Park Trail, a proposed 1 mile trail.

31. North Reach Extension Trail, 1.5 mile trail from Knobcrest to Gears Road to connect with the Glen Forest detention basin.

32. Beltway 8 Crossing Trail.

33. West hardy Road Trail, from Bradfield Park to West Hardy and then to Ida Gaye Gardens.

35. Northborough Trailhead Park, 17 acres that could be a trailhead park.

37. Turkey Creek Trail.

The following projects are in the plan in the EAST REACH/NORTH FOREST AREA:

1. Greens Thicket Wilderness Park, 1300 acres owned by Harris County Flood Control, possible wilderness park.

4. Greens Bayou Wetland Mitigation Bank Education Program, 1400 acres suitable for educational programs about wetland.

7. Parkway Trail Extension, near Sheldon Reservoir to extend an existing 3.5 mile trail.

8. Greens Bayou Trail from Green River road to North Lake Houston Parkway.

11. Brock Park Expansion along Halls Bayou, expansion of Brock Park’s 300 acres to a 600 acre nature park.

18. Carpenters Bayou Nature Trail, from Sheldon Lake State Park to Summerwood, to Lake Houston.

24. Summerwood Trail, a 2.5 mile connecting trail.

39. Upper Sheldon Natural Area & Trail, a 400 acre TPWD scenic area along Carpenters Bayou.

Many of the above projects, and the others in the West and South Reach, require further funding and planning to become a reality, but this Master Plan provides a framework for that future set of goals.

A number of projects on and near Greens Bayou are in various stages of development. Following it a list of some of these that have planning, engineering or construction work underway:

Jersey Village Detention Basin, West Reach. A 43 acre detention basin along White Oak Bayou.

Greens Bayou STEP Trail, North Reach. A two mile concrete trail funded by the Statewide Transportation Enhancement Program. TxDOT will construct the trail. Greenspoint District is providing local matching funds and will maintain the trail. To be completed in 2013, it will extend west of Wussow Park, and east of City View Park.

Spring Skate Park/Dylan’s Park, North Reach. A 25 acre park with 15 acres of passive park and a 65,000 square foot skate park, and a five acre “park without limits” designed for handicapped users. Between the Kuykendahl Basin and the Glen Forest Natural Area. Developed by the Greenspoint Redevelopoment Authority.

Ida Gaye Gardens, North Reach. A 3.2 acre park next to the Langwick Senior Community. For the benefit of the health of seniors. With exercise equipment, walking trails, and community gardens.

Waste Management Nature Preserve and Garners Bayou Trail, East Reach. A 43 acre tract along Garners Bayou, to include a pond, wetlands, hiking trails, and fitness stations.

Aldine YMCA, a “Y without walls”

By Christine Nguyen

The Aldine-Greenspoint Family YMCA is not your typical YMCA. In fact, it’s not a YMCA in the traditional sense at all.

Only one of two of its kind in the Greater Houston area, the Aldine-Greenspoint Y is a “Y without Walls.” Instead of a traditional building, the Aldine Y uses existing facilities throughout the community to run its programs while operating out of one main office storefront.

“That’s the neat part about what we do,” senior program director Corey Calcote said. “We are really out in the community. Instead of the typical YMCA where the community comes to you, we try to bring ourselves to the community and serve them right where they are.”

The Aldine-Greenspoint Y maintains relationships with several partners in the area that provide spaces for its numerous programs. These include the East Aldine Management District, the Greenspoint Management District, Lone Star College System and Aldine ISD. The Y has about 1,000 program members and about 175 members who can use any YMCA facility in the city.

Day camps, sports programs and other activities are held in parks, Aldine ISD schools, the North Harris Lone Star college campus, the Acres Homes multi-service center, churches, apartment complexes and a number of other sites in the community.

While not having a traditional facility may seem like a disadvantage to some, social responsibility director Claudia Sanchez said that by allowing staffers to build strong relationships in the community, it can actually prove to be a blessing.

“Right now, with the summer day camp kids, you see them every day,” Sanchez said. “You spend 10 hours a day with them so at times, you actually spend more time with them than their parents.”

Despite multiple locations, the Aldine-Greenspoint Y offers essentially all of the same programs as a traditional YMCA, is funded the same as a traditional YMCA and even engenders the same sense of community as a traditional YMCA.

“We finished out an ESL class … and it was so funny, the last class they had this big potluck,” Sanchez said. “It was like a feast, and it was probably about eight people, but they really felt like a family in that small class.”

Calcote said he hopes that the small communities they build in the area will eventually grow into one large, unified community. But without the visibility of a central location, Calcote says they still face one minor challenge: letting people know they exist.

“The people in this community have embraced what we’re trying to do more so than I could have ever imagined,” Calcote said. “It’s amazing what we’re able to accomplish if we can just get the word out. As long as we’ve been here, people still don’t know that we’re here sometimes.”