To make room for the city’s upcoming Centennial History Walk, a small park right in the middle of Bellaire will get plans for a facelift after the city council this week approved $8,000 for landscaping design services.
“Let’s face it, that area is probably the prime intersection in Bellaire,” said Councilman Pat McLaughlan. “I think there are many good things that can be done there.”
The small strip of green space, home to the iconic Bellaire Trolley, is located in Bellaire Boulevard’s esplanade between South Rice Avenue and Third Street. The city hopes to transform the western end of Paseo Park into a commemorative plaza that includes simply designed landscaping and walkways connecting to existing sidewalks.
“This is a great time to put a plan into place so it gets developed with a cohesive site,” said Leslie Little, chair of the city’s Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, which brought the issue before city council.
The board decided Paseo Park needed a landscaping plan while they discussed where to put three historical markers that will be part of the upcoming Centennial History Walk, a self-guided walking tour that will highlight significant sites from Bellaire’s past. A new plan for Paseo Park would also conform with the recently passed Bellaire Comprehensive Plan, the board said.
City Manager Bernie Satterwhite said that although he urged the council to defer other parks spending due to budgetary constraints brought on by the economy, he felt that spending the $8,000 on Paseo Park’s landscaping plan was “urgent” because of the History Walk. The money will come from the city’s capital improvements projects fund.
“In order to not muck it up and not do the History Walk wrong, it would be nice to have more of a plan,” Satterwhite said. He added later: “We probably don’t have the money to put in every element of this plan we may want for several years.”
Councilman Phil Nauert said he thinks Paseo Park has “a lot of potential” but it also has challenges because it is surrounded by noise and activity. He said he wants planners to consider parking needs, as well as features that reduce noise so Paseo Park “becomes a quiet and reflective place.”
“It’s a tough location to meld all those ingredients but it’s certainly worth trying,” Nauert said.