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Millions being invested into project along Buffalo Bayou in east Houston

The project will bring new trails and a new library to the beautiful green space along Buffalo Bayou.

HOUSTON — A huge project is getting started in Houston's Greater East End and Fifth Ward that will bring new trails and a new library to the beautiful green space along Buffalo Bayou.

The $310-million investment will impact the often under-served communities on the east side.

"The west has been conquered. It is time to come east and invest and make sure there is equity," Rep. Sylvia Garcia said.

The plan is expected to last 10 years and will expand Tony Marron Park to about 40 acres. The organizers are hoping the trails will be completed in six years.

It's an investment many community leaders said is long overdue.

Where's the money coming from?

Nancy and Rick Kinder, from the Kinder Foundation, are providing $100 million for the project.

The city, county, federal government and other private investors are covering the other $210 million.

Connecting communities

The project includes plans for a pedestrian bridge to connect the East End and Fifth Ward.

"Connecting communities that currently have little or no access to safe trails or bike paths," Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said.

It also includes plans for a new public library and a Hispanic History Research Center and Archives.

The new parks will include improved sporting fields and new trails as well as a boat dock on Buffalo Bayou.

"You will be able to get on your bike and go all the way from Shepherd Drive to Buffalo Bayou Park and all the way to the (Ship Channel) turning basin," Rich Kinder said.


The plan could end up displacing some residents, so investors also included plans for a mixed-income housing project.

"We wanted to ensure that people who grew up here can continue living here. This area is gentrifying very, very quickly as much as we can do for the existing residents," Buffalo Bayou Partnership President Anne Olson said.

Honoring a veteran

The project's bike trail will be named after a local Army veteran who died along Buffalo Bayou decades ago.

Jose Campos Torres was 23 when he was beaten to death by Houston police officers in 1977. His body was dumped into the bayou. It's an important part of the East End's history that now can't be forgotten.

"His life, his legacy will forever be respected and honored, so thank you," Harris County Precinct 2 Commissioner Adrian Garcia said.

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