HOUSTON—Just minutes from the Katy Freeway, Terry Hershey Park seems a world away.
“It’s kind of an oasis in what I call the concrete jungle,” said Bill Rustam. “There’s an opportunity to get away from the noise of traffic and just kind of enjoy the trees, the animals and the flora and fauna.”
An avid cyclist, Bill Rustam lives nearby. He’s also part of a grassroots effort called Save the Forest, which opposes a plan by the Flood Control District to excavate an area along Buffalo Bayou between Eldrige Parkway and Wilcrest Drive to reduce flooding.
“The plan, as I understand it, is to build detention basins along the south side of the bayou, which would involve essentially taking out the trees and leveling them, and creating basins where water could be detained,” said Rustam.
The county commission has approved a $250,000 study to better understand what’s here and how it could be affected, but members of Save the Forest say unless the plan is stopped, much of what makes this place so special could be lost.
Some trees would come down, absolutely, but then we’d put more in,” said Precinct 3 Commissioner Steve Radack.
He pointed to the opposite side of the bayou, where he says a similar effort has decreased flooding in the area while increasing property value.
“The fact is, it’s owned by Harris County Flood Control District. It has an intended purpose and that is to help with drainage and help prevent flooding,” said Radack.
“There’s a real issue with flooding, and it needs to be addressed,” said Rustam, “But we do think there should be a balance, and the community input on this is very important.”