The plan for Exploration Green is to transition the nearly 200 acres of the former Clear Lake Golf Course into a beautiful, multi-purpose green space that will benefit the surrounding community in a myriad of ways.
Construction is divided into five phases, ultimately creating detention ponds and wetlands, a nursery for native trees, miles of hike/bike trails, areas of native trees, bushes and grasses and athletic fields.
Phase 1, near the Clear Lake Recreation Center, is anticipated to be complete by Spring 2018.
The Master Plan was produced over several years by an award-winning planning and engineering team, technical experts, interested citizens, environmentalists, public officials and non-profit leaders. Five well-attended public meetings have informed the local residents and provided avenues for input. In early 2014, Exploration Green won the Public Space Planning Award from the Houston-Galveston Area Council based in great part on this Master Plan.
Creating the Storm Water Detention Area
The Clear Lake City Water Authority formed a consortium of experts and organizations to plan and create the state-of-the-art water detention and retention area at the former golf course site. Ponds will have about six feet of water permanently and be able to hold significant amounts of storm water from local streets, property and waterways. As the flood threat eases, the ponds will slowly release the detained water, decreasing flooding.
The first major redevelopment of the project will excavate, shape and replant the area near the Clear Lake Recreation Center and boarded by Diana Lane, Ramada Drive and Reseda Drive. With local residential developers interested in the excavated dirt, development of detailed plans is accelerating. Phase 1 is anticipated to be complete by Spring 2018.
Initial Property Rehabilitation
After years of neglect, the old golf course was overgrown and in disrepair when the Clear Lake City Water Authority (CLCWA) bought it. Immediately, the CLCWA undertook an ambitious property rehabilitation project to recover the area by coordinating security with local law enforcement, posting recreation rules, disposing of trees lost to drought, clearing trash trees and brush, posting signage warnings of wildlife and protecting local wildlife. The old no trespassing signs came down and the area was opened to the public for the first time!
In preparation for upcoming project phases, EG has created a tree nursery at the site for thousands of native trees donated to EG by "Trees for Houston". EG is designed to minimize loss of large, native trees and special design modifications to pond shapes are being made to minimize loss of trees. Because some trees will still be lost to open water areas, the nursery will enable intensive care of native trees to help them grow quickly prior to planting in redeveloped areas. This way their size will be closer to current trees.
As many have already discovered, EG has almost six miles of old golf cart trails that although in some disrepair, enable people to walk, run and bike to relax or exercise. The EGC is working now to raise funds to create new trails as each area is developed, maintaining the six mile distance and connecting to other local schools, shopping, governmental offices, libraries and places of work. The trails, while helping people explore nature, will help reduce traffic congestion, increase health of young and old.