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.
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.
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