Landscape architecture students’ park designs
taking shape in suburban North Houston area


Due in part to a 160-acre master park plan designed by landscape architecture students at Texas A&M, a north Harris County utility district has received $4.4 million in state and federal grants to help fund construction projects in the district’s four parks.

The students were led by Jon Rodiek, professor of landscape architecture at Texas A&M.

“The planning they did was a critical part of the grant process,” said Bud Gessel, a board member of the Timber Lane Utility District, adding that the district had used the parks master plan to apply for several other grants.

Construction is scheduled to begin in October 2008 on paved trails, restrooms and parking areas in Sandpiper Park. In another park location, a bridge across Cypress Creek and a paved trail are also being built.

The district’s parks are located along the northern bank of Cypress Creek adjacent to the Timber Lane subdivision in north Harris County, about 25 miles from downtown Houston. The site, contained primarily on public land within the Cypress Creek floodplain, was designed over three years beginning in 2005.

The utility district funded the students’ efforts, which included trips to the area, a site inventory, soil testing, water quality analysis, plant identification and soil examination.

“We did all that in studio just like a real office,” said Rodiek. “We rented vans and drove down there and back countless times.”

In Feb. 2008, the master plan was recognized with the “2007 Parks and Natural Areas Best of the Best Award” by the Houston-Galveston Area Council, a voluntary association of local governments in the 13-county gulf coast region.

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