West 11th Street Park: Saved by the Bill

West 11th Street ParkFor a while, it looked like the effort to save the last five acres of the West 11th Street Park property from impending townhome development was going to fail. Having put up those acres of parkland as collateral for a bridge loan from Amegy Bank that allowed the city to purchase the remaining fifteen acres of the park, the Houston Parks Board had given park supporters only until August to raise $3.75 million to pay off the loan.

Private donors reaching into their own pockets were able to raise only about a quarter of a million dollars. Meanwhile, one donor was looking in other pockets: In the last legislative session, State Senator John Whitmire was able to slide funding for the park into the state budget for local parks grants. After some confusion, it now appears that Whitmire’s bill will allow the property, long a merely undeveloped HISD property with tall trees, to become an official city park.

Now what happens to the private funds already raised for that purpose?

West 11th Street Park Photo: Houston Parks Board