HOUSTON The city of Houston is about to begin the largest urban park project in the nation. City leaders said it will change the look and flavor of the Bayou City.

The city will spend $205 million to connect existing paths and build new ones to create a system of continuousgreenbelts for biking, hiking, picnics and outdoor fun.

The greenbelt will run along Houston s many bayous. Some of which already have certain degrees of improvements.

I ve spoken previously about stringing the beads. We have some beautiful beads out there, but we want to string them into a continuous necklace, said Houston Mayor Annise Parker.

We re going to change the way people move and the way our community is able to get to various parks around the city, said Joe Turner, Director of Houston Parks and Recreation.

The work begins in a couple of months. It will start at White Oak Bayou. Next will be Brays and then Buffalo until every bayou has a greenbelt alongside it with park space and trails, said Roksan Okan-Vick, Executive Director of the Houston Parks Board.

It ll change the way we think about our city and change the way others view and think about our city, she said.

Clear Creek and the San Jacinto River will also be part of the huge trail and park network. The project will take seven years to finish.

One million dollars of the money will come from a bond that passed last year. Another $105 million is expected to come in from private sources.

Bike shop owner and enthusiast Kevin Fletcher is thrilled about the project, which is bound to greatly improve Houston s national reputation among cyclists. He said it will definitely improve safety for those who ride.

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