Tag Archive for: Dr. Tina Petersen

San Jacinto Greenway Officially Opens

Today, Saturday, April 15, 2023, marked a milestone in the recovery of the Lake Houston Area from Hurricane Harvey.

The San Jacinto Greenway, a gorgeous linear park with hike and bike trails, has replaced the Riverview Townhome complex so utterly destroyed by floodwaters in Forest Cove. At exactly 12:16 and 21 seconds, more than a dozen City, County, State, Federal, School Board, Houston Parks Board, Flood Control and Forest Cove officials officially cut a symbolic bright green ribbon to open the first 2.5 mile segment of the new San Jacinto West Fork Greenway.

The event had something for just about everyone:

  • Speakers who put the event in perspective
  • Free tacos from El Jimador, a local restaurant on Hamblen Road.
  • Refreshments
  • A DJ spinning tunes
  • The award-winning Riverwood Middle School cheer squad
  • Shaded picnic tables
  • Abundant sunshine

It had the feeling of a cross between a small-town festival and a Hallmark movie.

Neighbors greeted old friends. Proud parents showed off babies. Officials up for re-election pressed the flesh. And everyone, it seemed, took selfies with everyone else.

People Refusing to Accept Defeat

An almost audible sigh of relief hung in the air. Today was about people who refused to accept defeat. Who fought together to rebuild their community after 240,000 cubic feet per second swept some entire townhome complexes off their foundations.

Riverview townhome
Photo of townhome one year after Harvey in 2018. Imagine this times 80.

There were dark days during the seemingly endless buyout phase of the project when everything felt so hopeless. What remained of the townhomes became a magnet for arson, drug dealing, illegal dumping and graffiti.

At times it felt like the blight might never go away. But it did. Beautiful triumphed over bleak. And this morning, despite overnight thunderstorms, not a leaf was out of place and a community stood tall once again.

Award-Winning Riverwood Middle School Cheer Team
Crowd mingling among booths early in the event.
Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin (left) and Humble ISD School Board Member Robert Scarfo
Beth White, President & CEO, Houston Parks Board, introduced speakers and explained how the project came to be, including a hefty grant from the Kinder Foundation.
No chairs? No problem! Just pull up some pavement.
Dr. Tina Petersen, Executive Director of Harris County Flood Control District talked about the buyouts, FEMA, and how this area will remain green in perpetuity.
A guided bicycle tour of the trail system attracted families, teens and retirees.
Meanwhile, some people decided to explore the new San Jacinto Greenway on their own in the other direction.

Harris County Precinct 3 will reportedly finish pushing the San Jacinto Greenway through to Edgewater Park at US59, but has not announced a timetable yet. More news to follow when that becomes available.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 4/15/2023

2055 Days since Hurricane Harvey