Program areas at Memorial Park Conservancy
See Schedule OMaster Plan: - Completed design of the Running Complex location south of the Cullen Running Trail Center. The project will include a new parking lot, running track, restroom, a rally pavilion, and a cafe. Construction of the Running Complex began June 2022. - Construction of the Land Bridge and Prairie began in August 2020 and continued throughout FY21-22. This 100-acre project includes 2 land bridges that connect the north and south sides of Memorial Park, whose 1,500 acres is bisected by 6-lane Memorial Drive. It also includes the restoration of native gulf coast prairies north and south of the bridges. This project will provide significantly improved connectivity and access for park visitors; restore a disrupted wildlife corridor; boost biodiversity; increase ecological resilience in the face of climate challenges such as hurricanes and droughts; assist with storm water management; and sequester relatively more CO2. This project brings positive acclaim not just to Memorial Park but to Houston. The Memorial Drive alignment was completed and the Land Bridge Tunnels were opened in February 2022. Memorial Park Conservancy welcomed 7,000 visitors from across the city to explore the Tunnels, learn more about Memorial Park and the project, and celebrate this important milestone. - Began construction on the realignment of the Seymour Lieberman Trail between Eastern Glades and the Land Bridge & Prairie. One mile of this trail previously sat perilously close to Memorial Drive. This realignment will move 1 mile of the trail off of Memorial Drive, improving user safety and enjoyment for the thousands of Houstonians who use this trail daily. The project includes three pedestrian bridges over ravines north of Memorial Drive. This project was completed October 2022. - MPC presented its projects with designer NBW to the American Society of Landscape Architects annual conference in Nashville. Presentation was standing-room only and received highest ratings of the over 200 presentations delivered at the event.
See Schedule O Operating and Maintaining the Park: The Conservancy operated and maintained 1,100 acres of Memorial Park's 1,500 acres, exceeding contractual requirements for frequency of cleaning, mowing, and other services. The Conservancy advances its mission through improving Park amenities, supporting forestry management initiatives, planting native tree varieties, maintaining natural and surfaced trails, and caring for landscaped areas within the Park. 2022 Highlights Include: - Installed wayfinding and 911 markers on Bayou Wilds Trail system to enhance park user experience and safety. - Repaired and improved four key sections of natural surface trails for increased enjoyment and safety of park users. - Continued to provide excellent customer service and park user experience in park restroom facilities. At Memorial Park Conservancy, volunteers are an integral part of the Park's restoration and maintenance efforts. 2022 Highlights Include: - 1,400 individual volunteers participated in projects around the Park, contributing 4,100 total volunteer hours. - Conservancy staff led 82 group events with corporate, troop, school, and community partners. - Planted over 12,000 native plants in areas parkwide. - Removed over 500 cubic yards of invasive plants.
See Schedule O Welcoming and Engaging Park Visitors: The Conservancy has placed a strong focus to activate new and existing areas of Memorial Park for creative and diversified programmatic offerings in order to embrace Houston's vibrant array of cultures. As an urban park in the most diverse city in the United States, Memorial Park Conservancy is honored to operate and manage Memorial Park as a welcoming space for all Houstonians. In 2022, MPC expanded mission-based programming to invite all Houstonians to participate and to see themselves in Memorial Park. 2022 highlights include: - Celebrated the identities and experiences of our LGBTQ community during Pride Month with our Celebrate Love mural created by artist Sylvia Blanco. - Hosted the Land Bridge Tunnel opening event that welcomed 7,000 visitors from all over Houston, many of whom had never before visited Memorial Park. - Partnered with Buffalo Soldiers National Museum, NAACP, Mayor Sylvester Turner, Council Member Abbie Kamin, County Commissioner Jack Cagle, and County Commissioner Rodney Ellis to deliver a weeklong series of educational events and community discussions about what has previously been referred to as the Houston Mutiny and Riots. This event series took place on the 104th anniversary of this tragic event and included a movie showing in Memorial Park and two virtual panel discussions with community leaders including Memorial Park's CEO. Legal and historical research conducted by the South Texas College of Law and the NAACP have revealed new facts that were shared publicly during this event series. - The premiere of Deck the Park presented by Green Mountain Energy, an exclusive preview of the Holiday Lights before opening to the public. Hot cocoa, holiday treats, caroling, and a holiday movie screening kicked off the holiday season in Memorial Park. - Expanded our Visitor Services team to answer visitor questions, collect required permitting fees and enforce Park regulations. - For the third year, supported the Houston Open PGA golf tournament to Memorial Park which welcomed tens of thousands of visitors and allowed the Conservancy to host guests. - Launched our Corporate Partners Program. Through this robust program, our partners invest in the day-to-day stewardship, operation, and ecological restoration of the 1,100 acres of Memorial Park under the Conservancy's care. Through corporate partnerships, event sponsorships, employee engagement, and volunteer opportunities, organizations are able to support Memorial Park Conservancy while fostering teamwork and civic leadership.
Growing our Organization: - Grew organization to 60 employees from only 16 five years earlier. - Expanded professional training, implementing executive, leadership, and supervisory training. - Implemented systems, process, and tools improvements. - Memorial Park is Houston's largest urban park with visitors from 170 regional zip codes. Recognizing this, in alignment with MPC's 2017 Strategic Plan, and in order to manage the Park in a way that welcome and invites all Houstonians, MPC Board adopted a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Strategic Plan. The Plan was crafted by Board and staff Senior Leadership with the support of outside consultants. This followed one year of training and planning in FY21. The Plan addresses the organization itself, as well as outward-facing communications and programming. - Board and Staff leadership accelerated delivery of DEI improvements already underway. Over 40% of MPC FY22 Board members are from traditionally marginalized communities (defined as racial/ethnic minorities or members of the LBGTQ community) and 40% do not live in zip codes adjacent to the Park. This data is also reflected in the Board's Executive Committee. FY22 Staff senior leadership is also 40% from traditionally marginalized communities. - MPC was recognized as "best practice" for its DEI strategy and implementation. The CEO presented "Achieving DEI in Nonprofit Boards" at Rice's "Best Board" annual conference.