January 11, 2007
Bob Perry donates to the West 11th Street Park effort

Credit where credit is due.

A $100,000 donation from Houston home builder Bob Perry on Wednesday raised boosters' hopes that they can preserve all 20 acres of the West 11th Street Park.

City Councilwoman Toni Lawrence, whose district includes the park in northwest Houston, said she is continuing to seek major donations to avoid the need to sell part of the property.

"I don't have the attitude that we're not going to make it and we have to take out this loan," Lawrence said, referring to a loan that the Houston Parks Board has arranged to help the city buy the park. Under that plan, up to five acres could be sold to pay off the loan.

Perry's check was delivered to her office Wednesday afternoon, Lawrence said. About $5.7 million of the $9.2 million purchase price has been raised.


Lawrence said several prominent Houstonians, including car dealer and Metropolitan Transit Authority board member George DeMontrond, have agreed to organize a fundraising event. DeMontrond could not be reached for comment.

The councilwoman said she asked for Perry's help, reminding him that his company has built a number of housing developments in the area and that the people buying those houses would appreciate the park.

"As density increases inside the Loop, we're going to have a lot of development, and every bit of green space is going to matter," Lawrence said.

Good for Council Member Lawrence for getting these folks to help out, and good for Bob Perry for giving a little bit back to the community. May his gift inspire others to follow suit.

The park is a cherished part of the daily lives of many residents of the surrounding Timbergrove Manor neighborhood. Some say the loss of even a part of the property, which has been used as a park since the 1950s, would be hard to accept.

The noise and traffic generated by development on the site would diminish the park's value, said Jere Luck, whose house faces the park.

"If they develop those five acres, it's going to terribly, negatively impact the remaining 15 acres," Luck said. "That's the scary part."

I remain optimistic about the park's prospects, since I think the biggest hurdle has been cleared. But there definitely is a ways to go, and nobody should feel like the fight has been won yet. If you want to help, you can make a donation here.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on January 11, 2007 to Elsewhere in Houston