Houston’s Hermann Park gets a new 26-acre green space with playgrounds and a rocket

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Ja Hermann Park Conservancy unveiled plans for The Commons, a $46.5 million user-friendly 26-acre development, at the annual “Hats in the Park” luncheon on Thursday, where renderings of the transformation project were scattered around the periphery of the lunch tent. Exciting additions to the otherwise unused green spaces include water features, a terrace around the park’s signature oak trees, and new grilling and picnic areas.

Following a welcome from Board Chair Kristy Bradshaw and at the end of the lunch, guests were invited by Conservation CEO Doreen Stoller to board the Kinder Train for an overview of the stretch which will undergo improvements and additions.

Who doesn’t love water features, this render is of what’s to come in Hermann Park’s new development, The Commons. (Courtesy of Hermann Park Conservancy)

the area to develop is located in the southwestern part of Hermann Park, bordering the Houston Zoo to the east, Cambridge Street to the south, Fannin and Main Streets to the west, and the Hermann Park Japanese Garden and Lake McGovern to the north/northwest. The groundbreaking will take place on April 2 and the project is expected to be completed in 24 months, weather conditions cooperating. The $46.5 million for The Commons is part of conservation’s $51 million Play Your Park fundraising campaign.

The goal is to expand the use of the park with this additional walkway and ensure the park is accessible to all Houstonians. The master plan is in the hands of the architect Marlon Blackwell, who will design the structures, and the landscape architects Michael Van Valkenburgh Partners (MVVA).

LiveOakDeck-After
The Live Oak Deck with its picnic tables and patio furniture will be a welcome addition to Hermann Park. (Courtesy of Hermann Park Conservancy)

Within the transformation, you’ll find a two-acre Play Garden featuring a new Cypress Grove playground populated with colorful equipment such as snakes and alligators; the Gorilla Forest, which nods to the nearby Houston Zoo with a larger-than-life gorilla perfect for kids to play in; a Splash Cove water play element; a 45-foot-tall rocket for climbing and imaginary space play; a carousel and more. The reserve ensures that each area will have plenty of shaded seating areas.

In fact, nature has a place in this redesign of Hermann Park with the restoration and conservation of natural lands bordering Lake McGovern. This area will include a wetland garden, stone creek, natural habitats and extensive new native plantings.

Special features of the master plan include an expansive central lawn for playing; the Live Oak Terrace, a terrace designed around the massive oak trees of the park and furnished with picnic tables and lounge furniture; and a renovation of Historic Fannin Pavilion, which will offer more picnic and barbecue areas.

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