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HIDDEN GEM: Japhet Creek Park

Tucked in between metal recycling yards, you'll find a small creek-based park that connects Fifth Ward with the wilderness of Buffalo Bayou.

HOUSTON — Unless you know to look out for it, chances are, you've driven right past one of Houston's hidden gems on the east side.

"Japhet Creek is a little tributary that heads up from Buffalo Bayou into the Fifth Ward neighborhood," says Karen Farber, vice president of external affairs for Buffalo Bayou Partnership. "So it’s special because it’s really one of the only places where the Fifth Ward can really connect with Buffalo Bayou right now."

Connecting with the bayou means connecting with nature, even if that happens to be smack dab in between metal recycling yards on Clinton Drive. At the intersection with Emile Street, if you keep an eye out, you’ll see the park’s iron sign.

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There’s a good-sized parking lot so you can get out and explore the creek’s lush surroundings. A short, mulched trail leads you under the tree canopy and there are several lookout points where you can sit on a bench to take in the view.

"We want to be able to make sure people can come and be able to enjoy it," Farber says.

That’s why Buffalo Bayou Partnership has Japhet Creek Park on its to-do list, the Buffalo Bayou East Master Plan. Think of it as just shining up this hidden gem a little.

"We really just want to clean up this site and make it more accessible for community members," explains Farber.

Once the master plan is complete, Buffalo Bayou Park will be connected to the Port of Houston turning basin by more trails and greenspaces.

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"In Buffalo Bayou Park, people can see how accessing the bayou and the waterfront is a very special amenity, so we can’t wait to expand that along the 10 miles from Shepherd to the Port," Farber says.

The partnership isn't wasting any time. Work on Japhet Creek Park is slated to start soon and Farber expects community members will begin to see progress by the end of the year.

Brandi Smith on social media: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Do you have a hidden gem we should check out? Let us know by emailing Brandi Smith at bsmith@khou.com!

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