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School park now open to community at Memorial Parkway

December 11, 2017 GMT

The neighborhood around Park Tree and Park Wind in southeast Katy was once considered a “park desert.”

“That’s because there are no local parks where children could go and play,” said Sharlu Melville, the assistant principal at Memorial Parkway Elementary School, 21603 Park Tree Lane.

But that’s no longer the case thanks to the SPARK nonprofit conservation program established in 1983 by former Houston City Council member Eleanor Tinsley.

“SPARK” - which stands for school park - uses available land to create green spaces on school properties. More than 140 playgrounds have been created in 15 school districts in the greater Houston area.

“With this park, we are benefiting not only the school and its students but also strengthening this community and its families,” said Katy ISD board president Ashley Vann.

The dramatically revamped playground at the elementary is available for public use on the weekend and during non-school hours. The effort was a collaboration between Katy ISD, parents, staff members, students and the community which raised more than $129,000 for the upgrade. In addition to slides found at any school playground, the community park features a walking trail, an amphitheater and sensory play panels.

“I’m looking around to see if there’s anything a 50 year old can play on,” said State Rep. Mike Schofield, who presented the school a Texas flag that had flown over the state capitol building in Austin at the park’s recent dedication.

Melville said she was happy to welcome the community to their new park.

“We’re going to continue to make this park even more beautiful than it is,” she said. “Just help us keep it safe and clean.”