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Beautifying the bayous

Very cool.

A local nonprofit hopes its $55 million plan to overhaul 158 acres of parkland along Buffalo Bayou west of downtown will transform the area into an iconic green space for Houston.

The Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s plan calls for extensive upgrades along the bayou between Shepherd and Sabine, intended to improve aesthetics, attract more visitors and reduce the risk of flooding.

The plan will reach City Council this week and Commissioners Court later this month. These expected nods of approval will start talks on final details, to be fleshed out in the coming months.

Construction is expected to start in mid-2012 and take three years.

The effort will be funded almost entirely by private donors, save $5 million from the Harris County Flood Control District. The Kinder Foundation has given $30 million, believed to be the largest gift ever given to a park project in Houston. That leaves the partnership with $20 million to scrape together.

“That area of the bayou is so used,” said Nancy Kinder. “The trails are in such dire shape. That was really what caught our focus — that this could be a world-class park if you did just some basic work.”

You can read more about the plan here. I’m really looking forward to seeing how this all shapes up.

In the meantime, Tuesday was the ceremonial grand opening of the bridge formerly known as Tolerance, now simply called Rosemont. I went by on my way home with my camera, intending to take a few pictures, but the “ceremonial” aspect of the opening meant that the bridge itself was not yet available. I did actually take a few shots, but then I saw that Swamplot had a much better assortment, so I figured I’d save myself some time and just point you there. I’ll try again some time after the bridge becomes open for real.

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