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Montrose Remembrance Garden Finds a Permanent Home in 2020

Houston City Council approves funding for Avondale Promenade Park and the relocated LGBTQ memorial.

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The Montrose Remembrance Garden, a memorial to Houston’s victims of LGBTQ violence, will soon have a permanent home at the forthcoming Avondale Promenade Park. 

The park, which is set to be located on a parcel of land at 242 Westheimer, was proposed five years ago by Mayor Pro-tem Ellen Cohen. In a unanimous vote on November 19, Houston City Council approved the acceptance of a $960,000 grant from the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and a $14,000 landscape architecture contract funded by the City of Houston. 

Avondale Promenade Park is “an incredibly important park we’ve been working on since 2014,” Cohen said. “It will have a relocation of the LGBT remembrance garden. We’re moving it from private property and putting it in a permanently protected home.” 

City officials said the project is expected to break ground in early 2020, reports Community Impact Newspaper

Plans for the Avondale Promenade Park (Courtesy White Oak Studio)

In December 2010, 28-year-old Houstonian Aaron Scheerhoorn was stabbed to death on a busy Montrose weekend night. Sheerhoorn’s friends wanted to memorialize him by planting a tree nearby. They approached bar owner Charles Armstrong, who offered the landscaped corner of his parking lot at Grant and California. 

RELATED: Neighborhood Park Proposed: The Montrose Remembrance Will Find a Permanent Home Here 

The garden soon evolved into a memorial to all Houston LGBTQ victims of violence. In 2011, an engraved memorial marker was placed in the garden during a formal dedication ceremony. In 2013, a second marker was added by Houston’s transgender community to emphasize the high degree of violence against trans individuals. 

In 2014, Armstrong sold the parking lot and moved the garden to a small plot on the corner of Converse and Hyde Park. 

Activist Tim Bacon was among those who first worked to establish a garden. At an initial Avondale Park meeting, he suggested that the proposed park should provide a permanent home for the Montrose Remembrance Garden. The recommendation passed unanimously. 

In addition to the Montrose Remembrance Garden, Avondale Promenade Park designs include a grove of trees with benches, an interactive globe structure, and an art panel that details the area’s history as a haven for the LGBTQ community. 

Watch footage from the November 19 City Council meeting here: houstontx.swagit.com/play/11202019-501 

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Lourdes Zavaleta

Lourdes Zavaleta is the managing editor of OutSmart magazine.

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