Rodiek’s students win H-GAC parks and natural areas award

Jon Rodiek Jon Rodiek

Related story: "Students’ award-winning park designs exemplify 'Education First' initiative at Texas A&M"

Residents in a suburban area north of Houston can jog, hike, fish or observe nature in a new park designed by landscape architecture students at Texas A&M that recently won a 2012 Parks and Natural Areas Award from the Houston-Galveston Area Council.

Herman Little Park is part of the Timber Lane Utility Municipal District’s award-winning system of connected recreational spaces that students, led by Jon Rodiek, professor of landscape architecture, designed for the district between 2005 and 2009.

“We combined these designs to create a master parks plan for the district,” said Bud Gessel, the district’s assistant secretary. “We have 179 acres of parkland and 8.25 miles of trails, 90 percent of which were designed by Rodiek’s students,” he said.

Herman Little Park won the H-GAC’s 2012 competition for on-the-ground projects with a budget more than $500,000.

H-GAC established the award to recognize best practices for planning and project implementation for parks and natural areas in the region, evaluating entries on their innovation, merit and regional impact.

Honorable mentions in the category included Rick Rice Park, a project by the Interstate Utility District, and Herman Brown Park Redevelopment, a project by the city of Houston Parks and Recreation Department.

Rodiek’s students overcame special design challenges presented by the site.

“We had to respect where the flood line was,” said Rodiek, whose students created designs with flood lines provided by Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.  “The students’ designs also respect the native forest,” he said. “There’s wildlife all over the place: hawks, all kinds of songbirds, small mammals and deer. The designs emphasized keeping wildlife in habitat areas while routing people away from those areas and respecting the native plants.”

posted December 11, 2012