Houston-Galveston Area Council honors League City WaterSmart Park

February 20, 2015

By Cindie Powell

A League City park that, with help from the Texas Sea Grant College Program, has been transformed into a showcase for principles of water conservation and water quality has won a 2014 Houston-Galveston Area Council Parks and Natural Areas Award.

The Ghirardi Family WaterSmart Park received top honors in the category of “On-the-Ground Projects Over $500,000.” In addition to the pavilion, walking trails and playground often found in a public space, 3.75-acre park has several features that highlight water issues, including rain gardens, a cistern that collects rainwater and feeds into a drip irrigation system, a green roof on the pavilion, and WaterSmart landscapes.

The park is a collaborative effort of the City of League City, Texas Sea Grant’s Texas Coastal Watershed Program, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension, the Galveston Bay Estuary Program and the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ). It was funded by the City of League City’s Park Dedication Fund and a grant from TCEQ.

“This park sets a great example of ways to conserve water and help improve water quality through landscaping practices,” says Charriss York, Stormwater Program Specialist with Texas Sea Grant’s Texas Coastal Watershed Program and a partner on the project. “Ideas like harvesting rainwater and installing a rain garden can be used at most homes and businesses. We are excited to have this park recognized by the Houston-Galveston Area Council as an example of innovative multi-use park design in the Houston-Galveston region.”

The Houston-Galveston Area Council is voluntary association of local governments in 13 Texas counties. Its mission is to serve as the instrument of local government cooperation, promoting the region’s orderly development and the safety and welfare of its citizens. It established the Parks and Natural Areas Awards in 2006 to highlight best practices and innovative approaches to parks planning and implementation.

The park also recently received a Park Development Innovations Award from the Texas Recreation & Parks Society, a non-profit educational and professional organization founded to advance the profession of parks, recreation and leisure services in Texas.

 

PHOTO: From left, Blake Coleman, TBG Partners; Darrell Morrison, Houston-Galveston Area Council Board of Directors Chairman; Jay Williams, Landscape Art; Garet Nenninger, League City Parks Board; Geri Bentley, League City Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem; Charriss York, Texas Sea Grant; Jeff Taebel, Houston-Galveston Area Council; Chien Wei, City of League City; John Orsag, City of League City; Vaness Hamilton, League City Parks Board; and Bettie Moss, League City Parks Board. (High-resolution image.)

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Texas Sea Grant is a unique partnership that unites the resources of the federal government, the State of Texas and universities across the state to create knowledge, tools, products and services that benefit the economy, the environment and the citizens of Texas. It is administered through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and is one of 33 university-based Sea Grant Programs around the country. Texas Sea Grant is a non-academic research center in the College of Geosciences at Texas A&M University. The program’s mission is to improve the understanding, wise use and stewardship of Texas coastal and marine resources.