Westchase District is home to 31,000 residents living in multifamily communities, ranging from modest workforce housing to luxury living apartments. While these residents enjoy the benefits of superior mobility, public safety and beautification as maintained by the District, there’s one aspect missing from their lives: nearby parks for recreational and social opportunities.
All that is about to change. The City of Houston has purchased two park sites in the area and Westchase District will develop and maintain the parks.
“These parks have been a long time coming,” said Irma Sanchez, vice president of projects for Westchase District. “It’s been like constructing a jigsaw puzzle. Piece-by-piece, we’ve been putting into place the various elements that put us in position to break ground on the first of our two new parks.”
First puzzle piece: land
“Westchase District encompasses some of the most park-deficient sectors in the City,” said Sanchez. But the City of Houston purchased two parcels of land using money set aside by multi-family developers as required by the Parks & Open Space Ordinance.
Woodchase Park is located on Woodchase Drive just north of the Westpark Tollway. The two-acre parcel connects to the Westchase Trail, which runs along the utility corridor between Gessner Road and Briarpark Drive. Wilcrest Park is located on a 3.5-acre parcel on Wilcrest, just north of the District’s Library Loop Trail.
Next puzzle piece: design
The parks are being designed by the Office of James Burnett, the award-winning firm which designed Houston’s Levy Park. Both parks will feature a children’s play area, activity lawn, pavilion, dog park, public art and restrooms. “Woodchase Park will be a fantastic recreational and gathering space for Westchase residents,” said Sanchez. “Wilcrest Park will be more of a destination park. We’ll add a performance pavilion, promenade, table games area, exercise stations and a food kiosk.”
Last puzzle piece: funding
Money has been budgeted for the development of both parks through Westchase District’s 380 Area Program with the City of Houston. The entire $3.2 million construction budget for Woodchase Park is earmarked. Park design is complete and the District has applied for all the appropriate City permits.
“We anticipate putting the project out for bid in January, so that construction can begin in the spring,” said Sanchez. It will take approximately one year to complete construction of Woodchase Park.
Another $4.1 million is available for the development of Wilcrest Park, including a $500,000 grant from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department. “That amount of money would build a good park, but we want to build a great park,” said Louis Jullien, Westchase District projects director. Jullien is leading the campaign to raise the additional money needed to make Wilcrest Park the same kind of transformational space that Discovery Green and Levy Park have been for downtown Houston and the Upper Kirby area.
“Wilcrest Park will create a unique environment for free community events such as yoga, tai chi, movie nights and concerts,” said Jullien. “We want this park to be a destination for West Houston residents.”
“I’m already meeting with Westchase District businesses and Houston’s philanthropic community to raise money for Wilcrest Park,” said Jullien. “We call our campaign ‘Greenspace for Westchase’ because it will bring exciting new public gathering spaces and outdoor recreational opportunities to Westchase District residents and all of West Houston.”