About the Eastern Glades
On December 7, 2015–just eight months after the Master Plan’s approval by City Council—the Conservancy, the Uptown TIRZ and HPARD broke ground on the first major project in the Master Plan, the Eastern Glades. This first major project of the Master Plan responds to many of the priorities identified during the public input phase of the planning process. Inspired by the original 1920s Master Plan for Memorial Park by landscape architects Hare & Hare, the Eastern Glades introduces new amenities within an approximately 100 acre area of the Park that is currently inaccessible due to underbrush overgrowth, lack of trail systems and the inopportune siting of the existing East Memorial Loop road.
Conceptual rendering by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. Click image to enlarge.
What does this project encompass?
Eastern Glades will establish new passive recreation and education areas while also restoring Memorial Park’s natural ecology. The initial portion of Eastern Glades work, which is currently underway, includes both ecological restoration and infrastructural work critical to opening this inaccessible acreage. The ecological restoration portion of the project will require several phases carried out over multiple years involving removal of invasive species and reforestation with native plantings to establish a healthy forest structure. The infrastructural component, which includes relocating a portion of East Memorial Loop Road, extending the Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail, and providing drainage infrastructure and new restrooms, is expected to be completed by 2018.
The completed Eastern Glades will feature:
- Gathering space for picnicking as well as restrooms, two features that were the most common requests we received during the public input phase of the Master Plan.
- A new lake for the reclamation and reuse of storm water as well as habitat creation for native species.
- Constructed wetlands with educational signage highlighting their function and contribution to the dynamic ecology of the Park.
- A new pedestrian entrance at the location of the original entrance into Camp Logan, the WWI military training camp for which Memorial Park is named, creating a physical connection between Park users and the Park’s history.
- Extension of the Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail from 2.8 to a full 3 miles, a benefit the thousands of daily runners in the Park will most appreciate.
- Additional pedestrian lighting, parking and multiuse trails for safer biking and walking.
How will Park users and neighbors be impacted during construction?
During the project, Park users as well as those living in adjacent neighborhoods will see signage indicating work in progress. Some of the work areas within the Park will be closed off in order to ensure the safety of the public. The newly reforested area on the east side of the project will create a sense of seclusion for the Park and maintain privacy for its neighbors. The Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail and East Memorial Loop Road will remain open throughout construction. The existing East Memorial Loop Road will remain open until construction of the new road has been completed. Lane closures on both East Memorial Loop Road and Memorial Drive will be necessary during the course of construction, but traffic will be maintained through the Park at all times. Any lane closures along Memorial Drive will be limited to off-peak traffic hours.
Conceptual renderings by Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects. Click on image to enlarge.
How will the Eastern Glades improve the ecology of Memorial Park?
Like most of Memorial Park, an extensive ecological restoration and conversion process will be required to bring Eastern Glades to fruition. These processes often take many years to establish before moving into a maintenance regime. Components of the Conservancy’s approach include:
- Removal of invasive species undergrowth, enabling existing seed bank of native trees the opportunity to grow
- Establishment of healthy forest structure through addition of woody species and herbaceous plants
- Stewardship through ongoing maintenance
The resulting restored natural areas will be more resilient to climatic conditions and more hospitable to diverse fauna. During the conversion process, these areas will require more intensive maintenance; however, this will decrease over time as they become established.
When will the Eastern Glades be open for enjoyment?
The Eastern Glades are projected for completion in 3-4 years, dependent upon funding. The initial infrastructure work relocating East Memorial Loop Road and extending the SLT Trail to a full 3 miles is projected to finish in early 2018.