Tag Archive for: San Jacinto West Fork Greenway

Harris County Precinct 3 Rethinking Edgewater Park

There’s been a lot of water under the I-69 bridge since Harris County acquired the old privately owned Edgewater Park on the San Jacinto West Fork almost five years ago.

The county intended to start construction of a new bigger, better, public park with more amenities in 2019. The idea: turn floodway and floodplain land into an asset that would improve the community without exacerbating flooding.

Reportedly, however, pushback from Forest Cove residents over rerouting parts of Hamblen Road delayed the project. Then the City of Houston pushed back, too, on permitting for some buildings. Then came redistricting wars, budget battles, and a public-input session to determine what the community wants in Edgewater Park. Let’s first look at some pictures of the park and then review the new features.

Pictures Taken 5/23/23

I took the pictures below today. Edgewater Park will cover most of the land you see in the picture below between the river and that concrete patch in the upper middle (Laurel Springs RV Resort).

Looking NNE across San Jacinto West Fork toward Precinct 3 Edgewater Park.
Looking NW. Hamblen Road cuts diagonally left to right through center of frame. Laurel Springs Lane cuts north (on right).
Looking East downstream. West Fork Greenway will cut under bridge in the upper right.
Looking east from approximately Hamblen and Laurel Springs Lane. West Fork Greenway will snake through this area on its way to 59 bridge.
Looking SE. West Fork Greenway will ramp up to old truss bridge to take hikers and bikers across river. Note how far south the river has shifted. Those double trusses used to be centered over the river.
Looking West. West Fork Greenway will connect with Spring Creek Greenway that snakes through the Forest on the West Side of US59. The Spring Creek Greenway will take people most of the way to the Woodlands with a couple small breaks.
Winter photo showing one of the beautiful cypress ponds north of Hamblen Road.
rerouting of Hamblen road in original plan for Edgewater Park
Original (now outdated) plans for Edgewater Park at Hamblen Road and Loop 494

Elements of Plan B

Construction still hasn’t started and the County is rethinking its plans for the park. In the May 16 Commissioner Court meeting, commissioners approved Item 42 – funding to study Edgewater Park.

Eric Heppen, Precinct 3 Engineer says, “the study phase is just getting underway so there aren’t any bid specs at this time.  But right now, we are looking at park components and materials that are more resilient and doing park improvements south of Hamblen Road only.”

Heppen adds, “In addition to a boat launch and parking lots there will be a small and large dog park, a playground, as well as both paved and unpaved trails.  We are trying to build a park that will assist in serving the greater Kingwood area.”

“In addition we have been coordinating with he Houston Parks Board and connecting the Spring Creek Greenway into their trail network to enhance the overall trail system.”

“Our designer Quiddity has a landscape architect on its team. The architect has been tasked with adding plants that are native and will grow naturally to assist with natural mitigation efforts,” concluded Heppen.

Dog Park Fencing

The City of Houston requires dog parks to have fencing and Edgewater Park is in the City. Those who remember how logs collected in the railroad bridge supports next to the park during Harvey may remember how they contributed to catastrophic flooding.

Fencing can also collect debris swept downstream during floods. To prevent the fences from forming debris walls that make flooding worse, the City recommends a breakaway design. They attach the bottom of the chain-link fencing to steel poles with a steel ring. But they attach the top of the fencing to poles with plastic zip ties that break when pressure increases enough. That lets the fence flop down on the ground without being carried downstream.

You can see this ingenious system at the County’s Pundt Park along Spring Creek or in Buffalo Bayou Park downtown.

Types of Boats for Launch

Because dredging by the Army Corps stopped downstream of Edgewater Park, it will be difficult to launch larger boats with prop engines at Edgewater.

However, according to Heppen canoes and kayaks remain a possibility.

San Jacinto Greenway Link to Spring Creek Greenway

The Houston Parks Board is working with Harris County Precinct 3 to develop the West Fork Greenway and connect it to the Spring Creek Greenway. The map below shows the trail it will take from Woodland Hills Drive to the freeway.

Current extent. Trail will eventually continue west and cross over I-69/US59 via route shown in photos and first map above.

More on Edgewater as plans firm up. To see the master plan for Harris County Precinct 3 Parks, click here.

Posted by Bob Rehak on 5/23/2023

2093 Days since Hurricane Harvey