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Memorial Park Centennial Celebration to Feature Free Picnic and Park Upgrades on March 9th

As Memorial Park commemorates its centennial anniversary this year, the Memorial Park Conservancy is gearing up for a series of celebratory events and park enhancements throughout 2024.

The Memorial Park Conservancy, responsible for maintaining and operating 1,100 acres of the park’s expansive 1,500-acre landscape, will kick off the festivities with a free picnic on March 9. According to a news release issued on February 14, the family-friendly event promises a day of entertainment, including live music, appearances by special guests such as Houston Astros’ mascot, Orbit, and a variety of activities for children ranging from face painting to magic shows.

The picnic will be held at 301 North Picnic Lane, Houston, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Established in 1924, Memorial Park has a rich history as the former grounds of Camp Logan, a World War I training camp. It remains the sole remaining site of a WWI training camp in the United States and is afforded archaeological protection in recognition of its historic significance.

Today, Memorial Park stands as a sprawling urban oasis, nearly double the size of New York’s Central Park, attracting over 4 million visitors annually from 170 ZIP codes across the region. Shellye Arnold, president and CEO of the Memorial Park Conservancy, highlighted the park’s vital role in the community.

Arnold noted collaborative efforts with Uptown Houston, Houston’s Parks and Recreation Department, and the Kinder Foundation to implement a 10-year plan aimed at enhancing the park’s amenities and restoring its cohesion amid Houston’s urban development.

Looking ahead, the Memorial Park Conservancy is embarking on several transformative projects outlined in the 10-year plan. Among them is the construction of a cafe near the timing track structure, slated to open in the coming months. Additionally, design work will commence this spring on the Memorial Groves greenspace project, a 100-acre endeavor set to honor the legacy of the African American Buffalo Soldiers.

The Memorial Groves project aims to commemorate the soldiers’ sacrifices during the 1917 Camp Logan rebellion, an event marked by racial tensions and injustices. Recent developments, including the soldiers’ exoneration by the U.S. Army and Mayor John Whitmire’s declaration of Camp Logan Day, underscore the significance of this commemorative initiative.

Furthermore, upcoming projects will focus on fostering connections between Memorial Park and neighboring communities, including infrastructure enhancements such as the west connector under Loop 610 West and the I-10 connector, reinforcing the park’s role as a cherished urban retreat and historical landmark.

As Memorial Park enters its second century, the ongoing efforts of the Memorial Park Conservancy and its partners promise a future of enhanced recreational opportunities and meaningful tributes to Houston’s diverse heritage.