The Sims Bayou Greenways 2020 project commenced this spring, and Five Corners residents watched one of the first segments come to life this summer. In June, the Houston Parks Board, the City of Houston, and the community celebrated the completion of 1.8 miles of the greenway from Heatherbrook Drive to Hillcroft Avenue.
In 2012, Houston voters approved a major bond referendum providing $166 million in parks funding; of that total, $100 million was set aside for Bayou Greenways 2020. The goal is to create a continuous park system along Houston’s major waterways by transforming more than 3,000 underutilized acres along the bayous into linear parks for recreation, transportation, and conservation. Landscape architect Arthur Comey developed and submitted the first comprehensive plan for parks thoughout Houston with a focus on bayous back in 1912, and his plan was the inspiration for Bayou Greenways 2020.
Bayou Greenways 2020 is a public-private partnership between the Houston Parks Board and Houston Parks and Recreation Department and is being implemented in close collaboration with the Harris County Flood Control District. The Sims Bayou watershed flows through or adjacent to six Houston parks, and the Greenway connecting the parks will boost the quality of life for nearby residents and natural wildlife.
The Sims Bayou is home to about 130 species of birds alone, many of which are native to Texas. What might look like weedy marsh to the casual observer is actually a large and lush habitat to butterflies. Trees provide homes to raccoons, possums and woodpeckers. If you walk along the banks and look carefully, you’ll see herons, ducks, turtles and gar as well as catfish, perch and snakes.
Early Texas settlers and Native Americans who lived along the Sims Bayou fished for their food and hunted the ducks, rabbits and deer that inhabited the wetlands at the bayou’s edge. Sims Bayou was essential to their survival.
Now that wide pathways have been implemented as well as landscaping, venture over to Blue Ridge County Park and stroll along the nearly two miles of beautification and visit with nature. The trails are open to both hikers and bikers, and you might just see a heron or family of turtles.
Written by Taylor Byrne-Dodge