Construction is scheduled to begin this summer on a pocket park in Montrose that includes a memorial to LGBTQ victims of violence.
Duncan Elliott, a representative from the City of Houston’s General Services Department (GSD), said the Avondale Promenade Park at 424 Westheimer should be complete by early 2020.
The park will include the Montrose Remembrance Garden, an LGBTQ memorial dedicated in 2011 that currently sits at Hyde Park Boulevard and Commerce Street.
The City also plans interpretative panels in the park that will present a timeline of the neighborhood. Some of the panels may reflect the importance of Montrose to the LGBTQ community. Lisa Johnson, also with the GSD, said the panels are still in the planning stages.
Competitive bidding on the project will take place early this year, and by mid-2019 contracts are expected to go before the City Council.
The park has long been a goal of mayor pro-tem Ellen Cohen, a staunch LGBTQ ally whose district includes Montrose. Cohen began working in 2015 to make the park a reality, and meetings were held in 2016 to seek input from several neighborhood associations. The final plans reflect that input.
“It’s been very refreshing working with a community that is so excited with the project,” Johnson said, adding that from the time the City purchased the 9,988-square-foot parcel in 2015, the project has proceeded at a typical pace. “There are a lot of moving pieces.”
Jim Patterson of White Oak Design made a presentation on the park’s status to a November meeting of the Avondale Association. He showed construction plans and fielded questions.
Patterson said that one of the park’s unique features will be a nesting structure for chimney-swift birds. The structure will include polyester resin walls in the earth-tone colors of beet, cider, and basil.
Other features of the park will include a large pavilion, a dog run, a garden, and a play area that offers “fun for people of all ages.”
A 12-foot promenade will bisect the park diagonally, and all features will be fully accessible to people with disabilities.
The park’s structures will mirror the Craftsman architectural style of many homes along the streets near the site. The style was made popular by architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
For several years, the Houston’s annual Pride parade ended at Whitney and Westheimer—the southwest corner of the site.
Numerous gay bars, restaurants, and businesses have been situated within a few blocks of the site, including Dirty Sally’s, Silver Bullet, and Numbers. Don’s La Patois restaurant once occupied the parcel, and was later replaced by Michael’s bar.
This article appears in the January 2019 edition of OutSmart magazine.