A veritable “who’s who” of Houston joined Mayor Annise Parker in Hermann Park midday Wednesday to celebrate a very special occasion – the groundbreaking of the final project in the Park’s Master Plan, the $30 million McGovern Centennial Gardens and Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion. The largest capital improvement project undertaken by the Park, McGovern Centennial Gardens will transform the existing 15-acre Garden Center and surrounding grounds into a public garden unique in Houston. Features will include a rose garden, celebration garden, woodland garden, international sculpture promenade and interactive family garden to teach children about growing fruits, vegetables and herbs. The centerpiece of the Gardens will be a football-field length great lawn, crowned by the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion as the entry. Ribbon cutting is scheduled for Fall 2014.
Hermann Park Conservancy selected Chicago landscape architecture firm Hoerr Schaudt, which will be working closely with Houston’s own White Oak Studio on the design of the Gardens, with Dr. William C. Welch of Texas A&M University as a special consultant. Architect Peter Bohlin, known worldwide for the iconic glass design of Apple stores, will design the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion. Tellepsen will serve as project general contractor.
The $30 million project is the culmination of decades of work by the Conservancy to realize the Park’s Master Plan. Designed by renowned landscape architect George Kessler, the first
plan for the Park created signature elements beloved by Houstonians today: the reflection pool, McGovern Lake, Miller Theatre, paths and carriage trails and golf course. As time passed and the surrounding neighborhoods developed, the Park’s green spaces faded. A council of concerned neighbors took action in the early 1990s, forming the Friends of Hermann Park, known today as the Hermann Park Conservancy. The steward of Hermann Park, the Conservancy is responsible for the Park’s renaissance, restoring it to the gem in the heart of the city that George Hermann envisioned in 1914.