Renovations turn Buffalo Bayou Park into good time destination

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HOUSTON, TX-- The city of Houston was founded around Buffalo Bayou back in 1836, so it makes sense for it to be a focal point for the city. That's why the Buffalo Bayou Partnership raised $58 million to turn Buffalo Bayou Park into a destination spot.

"We reached out to the community," explains Anne Olson, president of the Buffalo Bayou Partnership. "We had community meetings to get their opinions on what they would like to see in this 2.3 mile length, 160-acre park."

What they came up with is pretty impressive, including the Johnny Steele Dog Park with separate ponds for large and small dogs, dog washing stations and covered pavilions for their owners. They have also widened "multi-use" trails to 10 feet to allow runners, bikers and walkers all plenty of space. In addition, they built three new pedestrian bridges to link the north and south sides of the bayou. "As a result we've just seen amazingly increased usage in the park," Olson says.

By August, Lost Lake will open which will offer a visitor center, a rentable private event and dining space and canoe and kayak rentals.  "The idea is that you'll actually be able to canoe all the way down to Allen's Landing in downtown where a van will pick you up and bring you back here to Lost Lake," says Olson.

Also, opening soon will be the Waterworks on Sabine Street, which will become the new gateway for the park. It will have a second visitor center, bike rentals, and an outdoor venue for 2000 to 3000-person musical and dance events. "What's really incredible," Olson explains, "(is) under this site is something that we call the Cistern. This is an abandoned city of Houston reservoir and ultimately, we'll be making this into a temporary art venue."

The grand opening for the park, which was postponed from June because of the Memorial Day floods, will now be Saturday, October 3. It will be an all-day event with bands, local artists, guided tours and fireworks to cap off the night.

For more on the changes at Buffalo Bayou Park, pick up a copy of this month's Houstonia.

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