Project to build park from detention area
This weekend a local water district will launch a project that will transform two utilitarian detention ponds into a park and protected wildlife area in the middle of the Mandolin Village subdivision off Grant Road.
Harris County Municipal Utility District 230 will hold a community park project ground-breaking on Sunday, June 27, at 6 p.m. on the bridge that will serve as a connector for the future park's adjacent but separate sections between the 10300 and 10400 blocks of Summit Bridge Lane.
This is a great way to take something that is used to keep our homes from flooding into something really nice," said Kathryn Wright, Harris County MUD 230 board secretary. We are so excited. We want it to happen tomorrow."
Early July launch
The $2.6 million project will launch in early July, and will take about six months to complete. Proceeds from a district $3 million park bond sale will fund the project.
Gary Simpson, MUD 230 president, said the park will be developed for the entire MUD 230 district, which includes subdivisions and apartment complexes in an area bordered by Cypresswood Drive on the north, Grant and Mills roads on the south, the northbound Texas 249 feeder road on the east and East Cypress Forest Drive on the west.
Simpson said the bond sale will not affect MUD 230's property tax rate.
There will be no additional cost to residents," Simpson said. Our goal is to increase the value of our properties, and to provide a community gathering place. In this economy, people are stay-cationing' more so it will be great to have a place like this in our community for residents to enjoy."
Simpson said the ground-breaking marks the completion of three years of planning.
During the project, it is going to be a big mess (on Summit Bridge Lane) with a lot of noise and construction vehicles," he said. We have sent out information to our residents in water bills, and we appreciate their patience during the construction phase."
Merrie Talley, owner of Talley Landscape Architects and designer of the MUD 230 project, said the project demonstrates MUD 230's commitment to the community.
This is wonderful project," Talley said.
Talley said the park and its associated amenities will pave the way for the maintenance of neighborhood property values, and will be a source of enjoyment for the community.
And, she said, the project will add capacity to the current 11-acre detention system, which is comprised of two detention ponds separated by Summit Bridge Lane, and drains north to Cypress Creek.
Anytime we do park improvements, they have to be built to withstand flooding," Talley said. When we restructure this area, it will add about 12 percent detention capacity."
Picnic area, gazebo
Both existing detention ponds will be deepened on a gradual slope as part of the project. Wetlands plantings will be added to both ponds and will serve as a natural filtering system as the water flows from south to north, Talley said. The entire park will meet accessibility standards.
The southern pond, which runs from Grant Road to Summit Bridge Lane, will have .71-mile trail system that encircles the upper banks and then splits to run in a second path closer to the water's edge. That lower tier will be connected by bridges to two out of three small islands in the pond's center, which will have a third-tier trail system. There will also be picnic area on the upper bank.
The northern pond, which runs from Summit Bridge Lane north to the edge of the property that runs between the Mandolin Apartments and Palazzo at Cypresswood Apartments, also has a three-tiered trail system, which is about one-half mile in length. Talley said this northern park area is more natural in its scope. At the far northern end of the park, the district will construct a gazebo area near Mandolin Village's existing community pocket park.
This ties into and expands the community park," Talley said.
Unique bridge feature
The bridge on Summit Bridge Lane that connects the two park areas will be a unique feature, she said. There will be a pattern etched in the concrete that will mark the connection as well as serve as a walking path for residents. Overlook areas will be built on both sides of the bridge.
Water does not flow quickly through detention ponds so there will be a very gentle flow," Talley said. We will have fishing in the bulkhead areas, but will not encourage water play."
Because the area is designed to hold water drained from the community, particularly during heavy rains, the park amenities are designed for submersion, she said.
However, Talley said, in a typical year the area could be used as a park 355 out of 365 days.
And looking down the road, the Mandolin Park could one day tie into the Cypress Creek Greenway a project that proposes to connect a series of new and existing hub" or anchor" parks along Cypress Creek and Little Cypress Creek with linear parks or trail systems from east of Interstate 45 to west of U.S. 290.
Simpson said MUD 230 would like to develop trail systems and park amenities around four or five additional detention ponds in the district's boundaries, including the pond that lies to the north of the existing park.
We have to phase this process," he said. As values increase in the neighborhood, and as we determine that we can launch a project without affecting the tax rate, we will move forward."
It just takes time," he said.
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