Precinct 4 to Open New NW Har­ris County Park

Public News (Houston) - - NEWS -

Precinct 4 is bring­ing an­other com­mu­nity closer to na­ture with the open­ing of the Kick­er­illo-Mis­cher Pre­serve. Peo­ple of all ages can ca­noe the wa­ters of a serene lake, stroll un­der­neath a canopy of trees, or take a rest while ob­serv­ing count­less wildlife. In the peace­ful set­ting of this new greenspace, res­i­dents can re­lax, un­wind, and ap­pre­ci­ate the sights and sounds of na­ture. The park spans 80 acres and fea­tures the 40-acre Mar­shall Lake with a 1.7-mile paved trail that cir­cles the wa­ter.

Precinct 4 cel­e­brates the grand open­ing of its new­est park with the pub­lic on Satur­day, April 1 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dur­ing the event, vis­i­tors can ex­plore the lake by ca­noe or from Precinct 4’s pon­toon boat, fish from the banks, and take in na­ture pre­sen­ta­tions. Nat­u­ral Flood­plain Buf­fer

Sit­u­ated along Hwy. 249, the prop­erty is an im­por­tant an­chor park for the Cy­press Creek Green­way. The 40-mile lin­ear trail will stretch from west of Hwy. 290 east­ward to the Spring Creek Green­way at Jesse H. Jones Park & Na­ture Cen­ter.

As with other parts of the Cy­press Creek Green­way, Kick­er­illo-Mis­cher Pre­serve serves as a nat­u­ral flood­plain buf­fer. “Dur­ing storm events, parks like Kick­er­illo-Mis­cher serve as nat­u­ral de­ten­tion fa­cil­i­ties. They act like giant sponges, slow­ing flood­wa­ters, cap­tur­ing sed­i­ment, and ab­sorb­ing runoff,” says Den­nis John­ston, Precinct 4 parks ad­min­is­tra­tor.

Though Kick­er­illo Com­pa­nies and Mis­cher In­vest­ments first do­nated the land to Precinct 4 back in 2009, construction of staff of­fices deep in the flood­plain proved cost pro­hib­i­tive. When Pre­ston­wood For­est Util­ity Dis­trict (PFUD) agreed to lease its for­mer fire sta­tion build­ing, lo­cated di­rectly ad­ja­cent to the prop­erty, Com­mis­sioner R. Jack Ca­gle rec­og­nized an op­por­tu­nity for a staff build­ing and a green­light to construction of the park. “That agree­ment with PFUD saved tax­pay­ers about $2 mil­lion,” John­ston says.

Kick­er­illo-Mis­cher Pre­serve has re­strooms and show­ers, mak­ing the newly de­vel­oped land an ideal camp­ing site for scouts and other com­mu­nity groups in the fu­ture. The park will be staffed with a di­rec­tor and on­site care­tak­ers who will pro­vide a va­ri­ety of Precinct 4 park pro­gram­ming, as well as ad­di­tional ed­u­ca­tional of­fer­ings in col­labo­ra­tion with Bayou Land Con­ser­vancy. Other park fea­tures, such as fish­ing piers, a pic­nic pav­il­ion, out­door class­room, and an am­phithe­ater, are be­ing con­sid­ered as futu re ameni­ties. Grass­roots Ef­fort The two-phase, $3.4 mil­lion project in­cluded road im­prove­ments, hike-and-bike trails, construction of park­ing lots, util­ity in­fra­struc­ture, a re­stroom fa­cil­ity, trail con­nec­tions to the park­ing lot, ren­o­va­tion of the old fire­house, fenc­ing, and a bridge across Cy­press Creek. PFUD also do­nated 25 per­cent of the cost of the new bridge, which to­taled $212,832. The pre­serve was first deemed park­land in the early 2000s, in part thanks to the Friends of Kick­er­illo-Mis­cher Pre­serve. The grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tion urged thenowner, Hewlett-Packard, to pre­serve the land for hik­ers, bik­ers, and na­ture lovers. Hewlet­tPackard stip­u­lated that the wooded pre­serve be set aside for use as a pas­sive recre­ational park when the com­pany sold 462 acres to devel­oper Vin­cent Kick­er­illo in 2005. Har­ris County Com­mis­sion­ers Court ac­cepted con­veyance of the 80-acre prop­erty in 2009 from Vin­cent Kick­er­illo and Walt Mis­cher’s V&W Part­ners. V&W brought to­gether rep­re­sen­ta­tives from Precinct 4, the Friends of the Kick­er­illo- Mis­cher Pre­serve, and lo­cal land­scape ar­chi­tect, Clark Con­don As­so­ciates, to cre­ate a mas­ter plan for the park.

PHOTO: CRYS­TAL SIM­MONS

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