2021 is the Year of the Ox, according to the lunar calendar. But in Westchase District, it will be the Year of the Dog…Dog Park that is.
Two new parks are under construction right now, including Westchase District’s first ever dog park.
Sneed Dog Park is being built within the playground area at Sneed Elementary School, 9855 Pagewood Lane. This park is being built under an agreement with Alief Independent School District, allowing Westchase District to develop and maintain the park, while giving area residents (and their pets) the opportunity to use the park on weekends and after school. The park will be enclosed by a fence.
“This agreement is the first of its kind in Houston and we’re so happy to partner with AISD to bring the very first dog park to Westchase District,” said Irma Sanchez, Westchase District’s vice president of projects.
The park is being constructed by D.L. Meacham, the same contractor responsible for the Elmside/Woodchase Trail and Woodchase Park. It will feature plenty of play space for the pooches, benches for their humans and water fountains that will serve humans and canines alike. Mature oak trees that already exist onsite will provide shade for all.
“Area residents with dogs must now travel more than five miles to access the nearest dog park,” said Sanchez. “This park will fill a niche for our community.” Sneed Dog Park is expected to open in late January.
First, but not last
Crews from D.L. Meacham are also busy working on Woodchase Park, what will be Westchase District’s first-ever fully programmed park space. “It’s exciting to visit the site, or view aerial drone photography of the construction, and see the park in progress,” said Sanchez. “You can already see where the path will exist, where activity spaces will be located, and they’ve poured the concrete for the pavilion’s foundation.”
At 1.7 acres, Woodchase Park will feature a children’s play area, activity lawn, multi-purpose pavilion, dog park, community garden, public art and restrooms. Woodchase Park will be fully maintained, staffed and programmed by Westchase District. Daily activities will include arts and crafts or board games. Weekly book clubs and boot camps are planned. Monthly activities might include gardening workshops and “yappy hours.”
“In 2021, we’ll transition from being a dog park desert to having two dog parks for area residents to enjoy,” observed Sanchez.
The park is located on Woodchase Drive at the Westpark Tollway. It connects to the Westpark Trail and is easily accessible from METRO’s Gessner Park & Ride. It is scheduled to be complete in July 2021.
Destination: Wilcrest Park
Final design is underway for Wilcest Park. Some of Houston’s best-known corporate citizens and philanthropic organizations have donated money to help build the park, among them H-E-B, CenterPoint Energy, The Brown Foundation and Phillips 66. These donations came in response to Westchase District’s “Greenspace for Westchase” capital campaign, which aims to close the gap between the available public funding and the design plans for the $14.7 million park. With a contribution of between $50,000 and $1,000,000, donors can receive naming rights to various features in Wilcrest Park.
“H-E-B is proud to sponsor the Wilcrest Park Performance Pavilion,” said Kristina Leal Jewasko, who handles public affairs, diversity and environmental affairs for H-E-B. “We look forward to partnering with the District and the Westchase District Community Fund on future park programming and events.”
Top-tier Westchase District businesses have also contributed to the park. They include Costello, EHRA Engineering and Lockwood, Andrews & Newnam.
“Costello has been a long-time supporter of the annual Westchase District Corporate Challenge. Our board decided to donate to Wilcrest Park because we believe in the importance of greenspace for the local business community,” said Costello President Dustin O’Neal.
Westchase District also received a significant grant in support of Wilcrest Park from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. “We believe in Westchase District’s vision for Wilcrest Park and its ability to make a positive and lasting impact on the community. That’s why we awarded a $500,000 grant to the District to help with design and construction expenses,” said Matthew Fougerat, local park grants coordinator for Texas Parks & Wildlife.
Corporate support; individual donors
“Corporate and foundation giving is important, but to reach our $3.2 million goal for Wilcrest Park, we know that gifts of all sizes are essential,” said Louis Jullien, who is coordinating the Greenspace for Westchase Community Campaign. “We welcome donations from all Westchase District businesses, area apartment communities, organizations and individuals. Every gift represents a community vote of support for this much needed park.”
Donations may be made to the Westchase District Community Fund, a 501(c)(3) organization. All donations will be recognized on the organization’s website – wdcfund.org – and contributions greater than $2,500 will be recognized at Wilcrest Park.