The City of Houston recently announced that the Valero Energy Foundation has committed over $600,000 in grants and in-kind services to be a founding member of the 50/50 Park Partners initiative, a public-private partnership of the Office of the Mayor, Houston Parks and Recreation Department (HPARD), Houston Parks Board, and the Greater Houston Partnership.
Hartman Park, which serves the Manchester community in Houston’s East End, is a key community gathering place. Valero, as part of an ongoing assessment of needs in the area, has been working with the City to develop a plan to completely replace park equipment, and add additional trees to the park. In addition to the financial support, Valero is also committing to additional park improvements through volunteer resources and in-kind support.
“Hartman Park is the center of life here in this community,” said Michael Walter, who manages Community Relations for the Valero Houston Refinery, “After hearing from our neighbors, it became clear this was a much-desired improvement. The families in Manchester deserve a fun, safe, attractive park. Valero is committed to enhancing the quality of life in this area through safe, environmentally responsible operations, as well as being a good neighbor.“
Working with the Houston Parks & Recreation Department and the Houston Parks Board, Valero has committed to providing funding to replace the existing equipment and playground area, as well as provide in-kind and volunteer support for the upkeep of the park.
Throughout the year, Valero partners with HPARD and non-profit partners to host community events at Hartman. These include a Back to School Bash, where employees donate school supplies for over 240 backpacks, which are distributed to Manchester students, as well as an Easter Egg Hunt, and the annual National Night Out, which connects the community with safety and law enforcement personnel.
The project is expected to take about a year to complete.