The Memorial Park Conservancy in Houston has announced a $10 million gift from Emily and Robert Clay in support of the Memorial Park master plan.
The commitment will fund the one-hundred-acre Eastern Glades project, the first phase of which is expected to be completed this summer. The project includes upgrades to a section of the Seymour Lieberman Exer-Trail on the east side of the loop and the addition of parking, a new restroom station with water fountain, new plantings and lighting, and work to create a healthier ecology on the site. When completed in 2020, the Eastern Glades will feature a large lake and wetlands system, trails and boardwalks, picnic pavilions, a second rest station, eight acres of forested area at the edge of the park, several plazas, and a shaded area designated for food trucks.
"Our gift for this hundred acres builds toward opening up the entire fifteen hundred acres to the public," Robert Clay, a principal at Clay Development & Construction, told Paper City. "I want everyone in Houston to be able to use the park."
The Clays, who previously gave mainly to Catholic schools in the area, have kept their philanthropy under the radar until recently. "We like it that way," said Clay. "There are a lot of low-profile people in the city that can afford to contribute. You don't have to be a billionaire to support the city….We hope to serve as a catalyst for giving, motivating others to support the park."