A Park Lover’s Tour of Houston

by Tomás Herrera-Mishler, ASLA

Memorial Park is one of Houston’s most popular walking/jogging destinations. / image: Memorial Park Conservancy
Memorial Park is one of Houston’s most popular walking/jogging destinations. / image: Memorial Park Conservancy

A tour of extraordinary park experiences, made possible through public/private partnerships.

During a recent visit to some of Houston’s premier parks, the city revealed a commitment to extraordinary park experiences made possible through public/private partnerships.

Hermann Park

Hermann Park Conservancy is a mature organization ably led for the past 15 years by Doreen Stoller, a life-long Houstonian who spent her early career in the high tech business before taking on the leadership of the Conservancy. My first awareness of having arrived in the 445-acre park was a glimpse of the park’s name carved in a beautiful limestone planter down the center of a grand, historic entrance into the park known as the Grand Gateway. We arrived at a roundabout with Sam Houston proudly astride a horse on a massive granite plinth. City park workers were busy planting new rose bushes along the handsome entrance boulevard.

My Lyft driver was pleased that I was heading to the Conservancy’s office, where he coincidentally serves as a volunteer. He told me to “let Doreen know that Patrick says hi!” This speaks to the depth of the Conservancy’s role and Hermann Park’s important place in the Greater Houston Community. I was particularly interested in visiting the Hermann Park Conservancy as it was one of the case studies in the landmark report “The Future of Balboa Park: Keeping the Park Magnificent in its Second Century.”

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