Alief SPARK Park and Nature Center
After a year of hard work and volunteer energy, a 7-acre parcel of land on the corner of Beechnut and Dairy View has become a true community assest with a tree farm, an orchard, a pavilion and a gathering place for residents of all ages. Originally the plan was just to build a community garden but it has grown into a wonderful nature center which had its dedication ceremony on November 10th. Karen Loper, chief of staff for Texas State Rep. Hubert Vo and a director on the board of the International Management District, and Barbara Quattro, president of the Alief Super Neighborhood #25 were the organizers of the original garden project.
Loper credits neighborhood volunteers for their help in making the our whole nature center grow, along with collaborative partners like Alief ISD, from whom the property is leased; Alief Super Neighborhood, SPARK, Local Initiatives Support Corporation, University of Houston School of Architecture, Apache, Trees for Houston, Wells Fargo, Dreyer’s, M2L, Hunter Industries and many other sponsors and volunteers.
On Sept. 17, 2011, 150 volunteers broke ground and wielded shovels to create 41 raised beds, which were fully planted by mid-October. A beneficial garden was completed in December, and in the spring of 2012, the tree farm was createdwith a grant from Apache. Here, 500 five-gallon trees are being cultivated to 15-gallon size for use in esplanade beautification projects within the International Management District. The Alief Nature Center was one of 17 in the country awarded a fruit orchard by Dreyer’s Fruit Bars’ Communities Take Root project which were planted in October.
The signature element of the nature center is the pavilion. It was designed and built by University of Houston architecture students. The $35,000, 20-by-20-foot structure, funded by the SPARK School Park Program, features a roof resembling the wings of a butterfly that funnel rainwater into eight rain barrels, benches, crushed granite flooring, and a solar panel to provide power for lights and fans.
Eric Ober, a metal artist and Alief resident, was commissioned to create a work of outdoor art resembling a gardener. His bright red gardener was unveiled at the dedication ceremony in November.
In addition to providing shade in the park, the pavilion could also provide shelter for a farmer’s market, and may also serve as an outdoor classroom for students from nearby Youngblood Intermediate School. The Pavilion can also be perfect place for neighborhood gatherings.
The land was just sitting vacant and now it is a place where people can work and socialize together–different age groups and people from different backgrounds – just neighbors.
Click here to learn more about the SPARK Park & Nature Center
“This project has really done what we intended it to do – it brought people together. We hope to host neighborhood events there, maybe even potluck suppers.”
Alief Family YMCA
7850 Howell-Sugarland Rd.
Houston, TX 77083
Mon-Thurs: 5:00 am – 9:00 pm
Friday: 5:00 am – 8:00 pm
Saturday: 8:00 am – 5:00 pm
Sunday: 1:00 pm – 5:00 pm
Arthur Storey Park
Location: 7400 W. Sam Houston Pkwy. South
Houston, Texas 77072
Park Administration Office: (281) 496-2177
Hours: 7:00 am until Dusk
Kid Fit Exercise Station
Tai Chi Court
Walking Trail (1.77)
Hackberry Community Center and Park
The park features a nearly mile-long outer-loop trail. In addition, the park has a community center, a splash pad, and a playground. The park is the former home of Hackberry Golf Course and rests on a 22.5 acres.
Address: 7777 S. Dairy Ashford Houston, TX 77072
Phone: (281) 776-9908
Mon. – Thu. 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Fri. 10:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Sat. 10:00 a.m – 2:00 p.m.
Mon. – Fri. 8:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m.
Sat: 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
Adjacent to the community center building is Hackberry Park.
Boone Rd. Park
The parks amenities include a 1.06-mile walking trail system, cricket field, playground, picnic pavilion, and multi-purpose fields, as well as a nature preserve recog