Building the Bayou Greenways: Conservation and Maintenance

In a series of blog posts throughout the year, we will highlight the progress made along Houston’s Bayou Greenways as part of the Houston Parks Board’s Kinder Foundation-supported Bayou Greenways 2020 project. This post focuses on the Parks Board’s Bayou Greenways-related conservation and maintenance efforts.

By the end of next year, 150 miles of trails will weave through 3,000 acres of Greater Houston’s greenspace, connecting residents to nature and each other. The Houston Parks Board has spent the past five years designing and constructing this network of trails which comprises the Bayou Greenways 2020 initiative.

But the work does not stop when the last trail is christened. The Houston Parks Board has and will continue to invest significant resources toward routine maintenance and conservation, ensuring the highest standard of safety, beauty and ecological integrity of the trails and bayou system’s riparian zones.

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Building the Bayou Greenways: White Oak Bayou

In a series of blog posts throughout the year, we will highlight the progress made along each of Houston’s Bayou Greenways as part of the Houston Parks Board’s Kinder Foundation-supported Bayou Greenways 2020 project. This is the fourth in the series.

Houston Parks Board began construction on the missing links of White Oak Bayou Greenway at the end of 2014, and since then, Houston Parks Board and its partners have made remarkable progress. In fact, this first Bayou Greenway is nearing completion.

White Oak Bayou Greenway spans 16 miles. Starting at the bayou’s confluence with Buffalo Bayou at Allen’s Landing, the greenway heads upstream past UH Downtown, the Lionel Castillo Community Center, Stude Park, historic Olivewood Cemetery, TC Jester Park, and out to the Hollister Detention Basin at the city limits. It was the first Bayou Greenway trail to start and to ultimately be completed, in part because nearly 10 miles of existing trail by other entities had already helped set the Bayou Greenways precedent. To complete the greenway, the Houston Parks Board constructed the additional 6 miles of new trails – as well as 2 new bridges including a bridge over White Oak Bayou that connects the existing Heights Hike & Bike Trail to the Greenway. Funding for that bridge and part of the greenway was provided by the Memorial Heights Tax Incremental Zone. Major contributors to White Oak Bayou Greenway also included the Houston Endowment, Brown Foundation, Wortham Foundaton, Fondren Foundation, and a federal Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery grant. Continue reading “Building the Bayou Greenways: White Oak Bayou”

Kinder Foundation Honors Twelve Exceptional Houston-Area School Teachers

2019 Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award winners. Top row from left to right: Marla Trujillo, Minhtam Trinh, Kristal Watson, Sarah Tredway, Chae Ray, Kristina Jenkins, Ryan Beeler; bottom row from left to right: Caitlin Wales, Tracy Sanchez, Elvira Marquez, Jonathan Martinez, Greg Adragna, Nancy and Rich Kinder

Over the weekend, twelve Houston-area school teachers received the prestigious Kinder Excellence in Teaching Award (KETA) and a gift of $25,000 each in recognition of their outstanding work as educators.

Teachers from KIPP Texas Public Schools – Houston, YES Prep Public Schools, Teach for America Houston and Catholic Schools of the Archdiocese of Galveston – Houston were inducted into the KETA Hall of Fame alongside more than 250 other area educators. To date, Kinder Foundation has gifted over $3.7 million in grants since the program was established in 2001.

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Building the Bayou Greenways: Hunting Bayou

In a series of blog posts throughout the year, we will highlight the progress made along each of Houston’s Bayou Greenways as part of the Houston Parks Board’s Kinder Foundation-supported Bayou Greenways 2020 project. This is the third in the series.

In May, Houston Parks Board celebrated several new Bayou Greenways 2020 trail completions, getting Houstonians one literal step closer to a connected hike-and-bike network along Houston’s major waterways. Among the recently-finished segments is a new half-mile trail of Hunting Bayou Greenway connecting Falls Street to Cavalcade (Mickey Leland Memorial Park).

To date, more than one-and-a-half miles of Hunting Bayou Greenway have been completed. Portions of the greenway, which is located along Hunting Bayou in northeast Houston, will touch Hutcheson Park, Herman Brown Park, and Mickey Leland Memorial Park

Last month’s completion includes the replacement of an asphalt trail with a new 10-foot wide multi-use concrete trail north along West Hunting Street. Amenities including pocket parks, landscaping, benches, signage, trash and recycling receptacles, and native landscaping and tree plantings were added, as was a new bike/pedestrian bridge with overlook plazas connecting to the existing Hunting Bayou Greenway. Gateways along this new segment include the Pine Tree Trailhead at Mickey Leland Park and the Oak Hill Pocket Park near the new bridge. Continue reading “Building the Bayou Greenways: Hunting Bayou”

900,000 Good Reasons to Transform Education in Houston

Great strides in education are being made in our city, thanks in part to Good Reason Houston, an organization established with the belief that every child in every neighborhood deserves access to a high-quality education and a future filled with opportunity.

There are 900,000 children who call Harris County home. In August, our schools will receive letter grades from the Texas Education Agency. Assuming no significant changes, more than 300,000 students across Houston’s urban core will be learning in schools rated C, D or F. Knowing that we must do better for our students, Kinder Foundation, along with leaders from Houston Endowment, Greater Houston Partnership and H-E-B set out to change this.

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Building the Bayou Greenways: Sims Bayou

In a series of blog posts throughout the year, we will highlight the progress made along each of Houston’s Bayou Greenways as part of the Houston Parks Board’s Kinder Foundation-supported Bayou Greenways 2020 project. This is the second in a series of posts.

Sims Bayou Greenway stretches nearly 20 miles from Milby Park to Blue Ridge County Park in Southwest Houston. The trails will offer walkers and bikers opportunities for recreation through new connections to neighborhood parks, schools, and community centers along Sims Bayou.

Sims Bayou Greenway near Milby Park

On June 8, Houston Parks Board (HPB) hosted a ribbon cutting to mark the completion of a new segment of Sims Bayou Greenway. The 2.6-mile stretch from Heatherbrook Drive to Buffalo Speedway connects into a previously completed trail segment that runs west to Hillcroft, and marks the latest achievement of the Houston Parks Board’s Bayou Greenways 2020 project. The Kinder Foundation contributed $934,000 to the $6.9 million total cost of this Greenway segment. In addition to the hike / bike trail, the segment features directional and educational signage, trash and recycling bins, benches, ornamental design features, landscaping, and a new trailhead entrance at South Post Oak Boulevard as well as other neighborhood gateway connections.  Continue reading “Building the Bayou Greenways: Sims Bayou”

SPARKing Change in Houston’s Park Deserts

Houston’s newest greenspace was dedicated with fanfare and camaraderie on Tuesday, May 28. A parade led by the Lawson Academy Marching Band welcomed more than 50 students, political leaders, community members and Kinder Foundation leadership to the opening celebration of the SPARK Park at Lawson Academy, a neighborhood park on the school’s Third Ward campus.

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Building the Bayou Greenways: Brays Bayou

In a series of blog posts throughout the year, we will highlight the progress made along each of Houston’s Bayou Greenways as part of the Houston Parks Board’s Kinder Foundation-supported Bayou Greenways 2020 project. This is the first in a series of posts.

Nearly six years ago, the Houston Parks Board announced a $50 million catalyst gift from the Kinder Foundation to support the ambitious Bayou Greenways 2020 initiative. Construction began at the end of 2014, and since then, Houston Parks Board (HPB) and its partners Houston Parks and Recreation Department and Harris County Flood Control District have made remarkable progress.  Continue reading “Building the Bayou Greenways: Brays Bayou”

Mizzou in Oxford

In Spring 2018, the Kinder Institute on Constitutional Democracy embarked on a partnership with University of Oxford’s Corpus Christi College that provides Mizzou undergraduates with an opportunity to experience the scholastic life, unique pedagogy, and rich traditions of one of the globe’s most storied institutions.

Students and alumni in Oxford during the second annual week-long visit to Corpus Christi College.

The first program of its kind at Mizzou, “Global History at Oxford” is both an intellectually rigorous, on-campus experience for students and an immersive study abroad opportunity. The core component of the program is Kinder Institute Chair in Constitutional Democracy Jay Sexton’s “Topics in Global and Transnational History” class, a spring semester course that asks students to consider why national history emerged as the default method of studying the past and to examine the new, more complex narrative that is un-earthed by taking a more transnational approach.  Continue reading “Mizzou in Oxford”

Historic Third Ward mural restored

In September 2018, the Kinder Foundation donated $100,000 to Houston’s Blue Triangle Community Center to restore a historic Third Ward mural by famous African American artist John Biggers. The 1953 masterpiece, “Contribution of Negro Women to American Life and Education,” was damaged by Hurricane Harvey in 2017 and was recently restored by Scott Haskins, a California-based conservator of fine art. The Foundation’s grant will also support building repairs in the vicinity of the mural.