The City of West University Place was honored recently at their state institute with the prestigious Texas Recreation and Park Society's Gold Medal Award for Excellence. State Representative Sarah Davis presented a resolution to City Council April 25 in recognition of the award.
The West University Place Parks and Recreation Department serves an affluent community of approximately 14,800 residents / 5,300 homes nestled inside the 610 loop in the Houston area. Incorporated in 1924, the city did not officially form a parks and recreation department until 1994.
Thanks to the vision and support of the electorate, citizen support and municipal administrative personnel, the parks and recreation department has grown from a system of facilities built in the mid-1930s to mid-1940s, managed by part-time/seasonal personnel and a handful of neighborhood parks with minimal amenities, and maintained by the public works department, to a system that includes state-of-the-art fitness recreation center, family aquatic and tennis complex, youth athletic fields complex, senior center, community building and scout house facilities, acquiring and developing three new neighborhood parks, redeveloping the original five neighborhood parks and growing a staff that now includes 12 full-time professionals, over 75 part-time and seasonal personnel, over 50 contract personnel and approximately 20 volunteer personnel.
In an effort to support the departments Mission to “… offer quality programs, facilities and services that encourage community participation and promotes fun, physical activity and growth, in a safe and wholesome environment," West University Place developed a parks master plan in 2000 and dedicated over $25M since 2004, specifically for either rebuilding or remodeling all of the city’s recreational facilities, redeveloping all city parks and acquiring additional parkland. The annual operating budget has grown from $120K in 1994 to $3.5M in 2015. The department completed development of a new Parks Master Plan in March of 2015, which is intended to ensure the department continues to maintain its assets and acquire and develop new parkland and facilities as needed.
Photo, from left: Councilmember Turner, Councilmember Ballanfant, Mayor Sample, Representative Davis, Councilmember Reilly and Mayor Pro Tem Kelly.