Guadalupe Plaza Park will officially reopen on July 30, 2016 with a family-friendly event from 10:00 a.m. to noon. Mayor Sylvester Turner, Houston Parks Director Joe Turner, and District H Council Member Karla Cisneros will be on hand to turn on the new splash pad water feature.
Entertainment will be provided by children from the Talento Bilingue Houston Summer Arts Camp and a Mariachi group. The festivities also include brinca-brinca (jump houses), a bicycle rodeo, ice cream, and snacks.
The redesign of Guadalupe Plaza Park was funded by the City of Houston through a federal TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation. The park is expected to be a focal point of recreation for East End families featuring ample shade, green space, benches, bicycle racks, a direct connection to Buffalo Bayou, the pedestrian walkways, way-finding maps, and bicycle trails that now crisscross the East End.
Guadalupe Plaza Park was originally built in 1988 under the administration of Mayor Kathryn J. Whitmire. The park lost its original appeal and with its decline, it became a place where homeless people and vagrants slept, bathed, and used illegal substances. The park’s features were routinely vandalized with graffiti and litter making it an undesirable location for East End families.
In 2011, the Houston Parks & Recreation Department decided to include the park renovation from the Livable Centers Study in a federal grant application. That grant was awarded to the City in late 2012, and a concept drawing based on the original community input was developed at the City’s request by SWA, a Houston landscape architect firm.
The proposed concept drawing was presented to the Second Ward Super Neighborhood in May 2013 where it was received favorably. Active support also came from the board of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church as well as the East End community at the 2013 East End Street Festival on the Navigation Esplanade attended by more than 5,000 visitors.
The collaboration with community partners led to the preservation of essential elements of the original park including the Azios Family Fountain, the Ely Escobar Memorial pecan tree, and the historic marquee columns near the center of the park.
Guadalupe Plaza Park is a natural extension of the Navigation Esplanade, “The Heart” of the new East End Master Plan one block east of the park. The park anchors the west end of the Navigation Esplanade and can be reserved and used for private and public events with a permit from the Houston Parks and Recreation Department.