‘Historic day’: Kinder Foundation announces $100M gift donated toward eastward expansion of Buffalo Bayou Park

Thanks to a big donation, Buffalo Bayou Park is expanding. Houston's East End neighborhood will be the beneficiary of the new greenspace. KPRC 2's Sabirah Rayford explains more.

HOUSTON – The Buffalo Bayou Partnership has announced what Mayor Sylvester Turner calls the “largest single donation in Houston Parks history.”

A $100 million dollar gift was donated to the nonprofit from the Kinder Foundation, according to representatives during a news conference.

The funds will help fast-track plans to expand Buffalo Bayou for the East End and Fifth Ward neighborhoods.

Renderings that revealed the master plan for Buffalo Bayou East showed biking and walking trails, entertainment venues and housing. The project is estimated to cost $310 million and will take about 10 years to complete.

Established in 1986, Buffalo Bayou Partnership’s (BBP) geographic focus is the 10-square-mile stretch of the bayou that flows from Shepherd Drive through the heart of downtown into the East End, and onto the Port of Houston Turning Basin.

Mayor Turner called it a “historic day.”

“We’ve had major investments on the west side (of Buffalo Bayou) and quite frankly we’ve had major investments downtown,” Mayor Turner said during the news conference. “When it comes to the greater East End and Fifth Ward, we have not had what I call a ‘transformational investment’ -- transformational gifts given to the east side and Fifth Ward to underserved communities and today that has changed.”

Numerous state lawmakers and representatives, including Harris County Commissioners Adrian Garcia and Rodney Ellis, U.S. Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee and Sylvia Garcia, attended the news conference to witness the announcement.

“We believe this transformation will revitalize this part of Houston,” said Rich Kinder, of the Kinder Foundation.

With the support of foundations, corporations, individuals and government agencies, BBP said it has “implemented more than $200 million in improvements for the redevelopment and stewardship of the waterfront – spearheading award-winning capital projects, protecting land for future parks and green space, constructing hike and bike trails, and operating comprehensive clean-up and maintenance programs,” according to their website.

In 2015, BBP also completed the $58 million Buffalo Bayou Park project.


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