A tennis court, a pond, landscaping, vertical gardens and a volleyball court are just a few of the new features at a brand-new SPARK park at Clifton Middle School.
Clifton is one of five HISD campus that took part in observing SPARK (School Park) Week from Nov. 14-21, which celebrates the transformation of public school grounds into neighborhood parks — a collaborative effort involving the City of Houston, Harris County, HISD, parent-teacher groups, and the community.
HISD representatives, campus officials, city leaders and SPARK park representatives attended ceremonies throughout the week—including two groundbreakings at Clifton Middle School and Lyons Elementary—and dedication ceremonies for Lockhart Elementary School, Stevens Elementary School and Piney Point Elementary.
“The SPARK partnership is one of the things I love the most about my work and to see it connecting to a city park really honors the legacy of [Council Member Eleanor Tinsley] and partnership between the city and schools, making them safe spaces that everyone can use,” said HISD Board Trustee Anna Eastman. “I really love that this space is great for the entire neighborhood to use, but also for activities that kids are going to want to participate in and use.”
Each park is designed based on the needs of each school and its surrounding neighborhoods. A typical SPARK park usually consists of flexible playground equipment, a walking trail, picnic tables, an outdoor classroom, and a public artwork component.
“We’re trying to make sure that wherever you are in Houston, there is a park that you can walk to in 10 minutes,” said Houston City Council Member Ellen Cohen. “I think the community will find it to be beautiful and something to continue to be proud of. I know I am and I’m going to brag about it to the other council members.”
For additional information on the SPARK School Park program, visit sparkpark.org.