Best Use of Taxpayer Dollars (2001)
Buffalo Bayou revitalization
Buffalo Bayou, the stream that spawned Houston in 1836, is well on its way back from city cesspool to civic asset thanks to a combined public-private $25 million effort. Landscaped hike-and-bike trails now run on both the north and south banks of the bayou from Shepherd on the west under the I-45 freeway interchange to the Wortham Theater Center and the soon-to-be-demolished Fire Station No. 1. The city's federally mandated upgrade in wastewater treatment has not yet brought the bayou up to swimming standards, but catfish and perch routinely are caught (if not eaten) by enterprising urban fisherman. A project is under way to renovate Allen's Landing, the spot at the confluence of Buffalo and White Oak bayous where the first of a storied line of fast-talking land developers set foot on our fair soil. Next in line is a $1 million master plan for the bayou funded by the city, the county and the Buffalo Bayou Partnership to lay the groundwork extending the improvements to the Ship Channel turning basin. In a city renowned for demolishing its heritage, the comeback of the bayou hopefully heralds a new civic mind-set.