July 8, 2021 -- On Thursday morning, Mayor Sylvester Turner joined with the Valero Energy Foundation and the 50/50 Park Partners to hold a ribbon cutting ceremony at Hartman Park, the first neighborhood park in this program to receive improvements and long-term support as part of the 50/50 Park Partners initiative to create equity in complete communities and City of Houston neighborhood parks. The event celebrated the end of construction on a new playground for the Magnolia Park - Manchester Complete Community in Houston’s East End.
“Houston has wonderful signature parks, but I created the 50/50 Park Initiative to improve neighborhood parks in Complete Communities and other key areas of the City. Nice parks enhance the quality of life for every Houstonian, and every child, and every family deserves a safe and beautiful space to enjoy the outdoors,” said Mayor Turner. “I am grateful to Valero for investing in improving Hartman Park. I know the community will appreciate this special park for years to come.”
Improvements to Hartman Park were made possible by Valero Energy Foundation and City Bond Funds. Valero Energy Foundation has committed over $600,000 as a founding member of the 50/50 Park Partners initiative. In addition to the financial support, Valero has also committed to additional park improvements through volunteer resources and in-kind support.
“At Valero, we’re driven to make a difference in our community,” said Lon Brenner, Vice President and General Manager of Valero’s Houston Refinery, “We’re grateful for the opportunity to join Mayor Turner and the other partners to make a real, lasting difference in the lives of our neighbors and provide families a fun, safe and attractive park.”
50/50 Park Partners is a Mayoral initiative led by the City of Houston, Houston Parks Board, Houston Parks and Recreation Department, and Greater Houston Partnership to improve 50 neighborhood parks. The project is also supported by the Resiliency Office and the Office of Complete Communities. The 50/50 Park Partners framework provides an opportunity for corporations to play a leadership role in supporting neighborhood parks and their surrounding communities, catalyzing the process of reinvigorating an under-resourced park. The initiative includes a coordinated process for determining park improvements focused on close collaboration with local communities.
“Community is at the heart of 50/50 Park Partners and we hope that this new playground at Hartman Park will be a gathering place for the Manchester neighborhood for years to come,” said Beth White, President and CEO of Houston Parks Board. “Houston Parks Board is proud to support the City and Mayor Turner in bringing needed improvements to neighborhood parks across our city. Parks play a vital role in our communities and we look forward to continuing our efforts to ensure all Houstonians have access to beautiful greenspaces to enjoy.”
“The improvements to Hartman Park will have such a major impact on that community and its residents, but this is only the beginning,” said Kenneth Allen, Director, Houston Parks and Recreation Department. “Neighborhood parks are the backbone of the Parks and Recreation Department. We are excited to work with all our great partners on this concerted effort to upgrade Houston’s neighborhood parks.”
“I’m proud of the way the business community has joined with the city to make the 50/50 Park Partners effort a reality,” said Bob Harvey, president and CEO of the Greater Houston Partnership. “This Hartman Park improvement, made possible by Valero, is just the first of many such projects our corporate community is helping realize across the city. We’re pleased to have helped play a connecting role in this initiative to revitalize key neighborhood parks.”
“There are neighborhood parks throughout our City that would benefit from an investment by the 50/50 Parks Initiative. I encourage the business community and philanthropic leaders to join us in these efforts.” said Mayor Turner. “We can make a significant difference throughout Houston, one neighborhood at a time.”
Updates to Hartman Park focused on the redevelopment of the playground area. Notable features include colorful playground units for children ages 2-5 and 5-12, multiple swings and spinners, new concrete border, ramp and walks, new playground surfacing, subsurface drainage, new benches, a new bike rack, and required detention.
To learn more about 50/50 Park Partners, please visit Houston5050parkpartners.com.
For photos of the event, please click here. Photo credit to Anthony Rathbun, Houston Parks Board.
About Valero in the Community
Valero Energy Corporation, through its subsidiaries (collectively, “Valero”), and the Valero Energy Foundation are committed to improving the quality of life in communities where Valero has major operations. For a seventh consecutive time, Valero was named to The Civic 50 list by Points of Light as one of America’s most community-minded companies – the top energy company on the list. Annually, Valero, its employees and the foundation collectively generate more than $64 million in charitable support for charities through direct/in-kind donations, fundraising and volunteerism. Valero employees log close to 150,000 volunteer hours each year for hundreds of projects in their communities. The foundation provides funding to a variety of nonprofit agencies for programs and services supporting education, basic human needs, health care and civic projects. Through the overwhelming support of sponsors, the foundation’s signature programs, the Valero Texas Open and Benefit for Children, generated more than $14 million in net proceeds in 2020 for charities across the United States.
Houston Parks and Recreation Department
The Houston Parks and Recreation Department (H.P.A.R.D.) stewards and manages over 39,501 acres of parkland and greenspace for the City of Houston and develops and implements recreational programming for citizens of all abilities. For more information on the Houston Parks and Recreation Department, call (832) 395-7022 or visit www.houstonparks.org.
Houston Parks Board
A nonprofit 501(c)(3) dedicated to providing access to quality parks and greenspace in the Greater Houston region, Houston Parks Board creates, improves, protects and advocates for parks for everyone. Since 1976, the organization has utilized public-private partnerships and its extensive philanthropic, government and community relationships to improve parks large and small. Houston Parks Board is currently leading the transformational $220 million Bayou Greenways 2020 project to complete a 150-mile network of connected parks and trails along Houston’s major waterways. For more information, visit www.houstonparksboard.org.
Greater Houston Partnership
The Greater Houston Partnership works to make Houston one of the best places to live, work and build a business. As the economic development organization for the Houston region, the Partnership champions growth across 12 counties by bringing together business and civic-minded leaders who are dedicated to the area’s long-term success. Representing 1,000 member organizations and approximately one-fifth of the region’s workforce, the Partnership is the place business leaders come together to make an impact. Learn more at Houston.org.