Mayor Sylvester Turner joined school officials and parents at groundbreaking ceremonies for one of the first Spark Park projects under the new “Park Desert” initiative funded with $5 million from the Houston Endowment and Kinder Foundation and another $450,000 in Community Development Block Grant funds from the City. The program will help pay for construction of 25 new Spark Parks on school campuses and renovation of another five existing parks.
The SPARK Park at Bush Elementary in Alief ISD is a cooperative venture of the City of Houston, Alief ISD, the SPARK Program and Bush Elementary parents and students. Funding for the park includes $150,000 of CDBG dollars, $5,000 from Alief ISD and $10,000 raised by the school. The students participated in field days, a fall festival, spring fling, multi-culture market, and bought holiday pictures to raise this money.
“The Houston Parks Master Plan, adopted by City Council in October 2015, calls for all citizens in the City of Houston to be within a ½ mile or 10 minute walk of a park or greenspace,” said Mayor Turner. “This new investment in Spark Parks in identified areas of need will get us closer to meeting that goal.
The Bush Elementary Spark Park has been designed by Melissa Turnbaugh and her team from PBK Architects. PBK is donating the design as an in-kind service. The park will include a ¼-mile, 6-foot wide concrete walking trail, exercise equipment stations, a 12’x20’ outdoor pavilion, and four concrete benches featuring student-made tiles. The school’s art teacher, Debby Gould, is working with students on creating the tiles for the entrance and benches. Trees for Houston will be planting 20 trees when park construction is completed.