Friends of West 11th Street Park is a 501(c)(3) Texas corporation that was formed to assist in the acquisition and long-term management of West 11th Street Park, located at 2400 West 11th Street in Houston, Texas.
We have been in existence since 1998, when a group of concerned neighbors came together to negotiate with the Houston Independent School District about their plans to build a new campus for the High School for Performing and Visual Arts on the site. We organized a neighborhood petition drive that resulted in signatures from 90% of the 1,245 homes in Timbergrove in favor of preserving the park. The petition was an important factor in securing support from Houston City Council and HISD. We won the active support of HISD trustee Jeff Shadwick who advocated to arrange a 5-year lease of the property to the City for use as a park.
With the park now under the direction of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, we worked with them to implement a forest restoration plan to allow the interior understory to grow back and create an interesting natural habitat, while mowing the perimeter to create the manicured impression desired by some neighbors. We publicized the property as a natural area by contacts and presentations to local naturalist groups, TV stories, and newspaper articles. We built over 1 mile of trails that have been heavily used and widely appreciated. As participants in the Park Advisory Council program of the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, we were honored as one of the outstanding PACs of the year in 2004.
We conducted biological inventories of the park, including: a count of all the adult trees; mapping of wetlands in the park; identification of trees, shrubs, vines, and wildflowers; a bird list containing over 150 species, and a butterfly list compiled by members of the southeast Texas chapter of the North American Butterfly Association. We publish a quarterly ecology newsletter about the park, and are currently in the process of refurbishing our park website.
In 2005, we incorporated as Friends of West 11th Street Park, with our organization dedicated to the following vision statement for the park:
“This land shall be preserved forever as a natural habitat. Future amenities and improvements will be designed to promote conservation and the appreciation and enjoyment of nature.”
In keeping with this, we are embarking on our new Wireless Wilderness project. This innovative project is designed to maximize the educational potential of this beautiful native Texas forest, with minimal impact on the ecology. To learn more about this project, please go to the Wireless Wilderness page of this website.
Images by Jeff Crandall. What will you experience in the park?