Discovery Green Debuts at Groundbreaking Ceremony

October 17, 2006
by Claudia Morlan

With much fanfare and an “explosion” of dirt, Mayor Bill White and the board of the Houston Downtown Park Conservancy broke ground today on the construction of a new 12-acre downtown park. The groundbreaking occurred only moments after the Conservancy Board announced the official name of the park as “Discovery Green.”
 
The new name was one of more than 6,200 submissions received by the Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) organization that is responsible for building and operating the park.  According to Conservancy Board Chair Nancy G. Kinder, “Over the past two years we have been asking Houstonians for input – from activities to design. Once we had public input on the design it made sense to ask the public to help select the name for the new park as well.”
 
“Discovery Green will be a premiere urban park – on par with many other great urban parks found in the world’s leading cities,” said Mayor Bill White. “It is one of many vibrant projects that have and will change the landscape of downtown Houston.”
 
The $93 million park features an interactive fountain, a one-acre pond, beautiful green spaces for personal recreation or small events, a jogging trail, a playground, two restaurants, an amphitheater, picnic areas and other activities visitors can experience and enjoy. The park is scheduled to open in early 2008.
 
Located downtown and across from the George R. Brown Convention Center, the project was initiated in 2004 by Mayor Bill White, who asked the Conservancy to raise the funds needed to construct and operate the park. The vision to build a dynamic urban park was fueled by public participation in 2005 and realized with the renowned design team Hargreaves Associates and their project design team of PageSoutherlandPage and Lauren Griffith Associates plus a large team of local engineers and specialists.
 
“Discovery Green” was submitted by Mr. Kim Borja, a manager in the Accounting Department at Pappas Restaurant. Borja, his wife and two sons live in Houston and are frequent visitors to Houston’s parks. His family’s excitement for exploring the outdoors was the inspiration for his entry.

“We were thrilled that so many Houstonians submitted ideas on what we should name the park.  Throughout the design phase of the process we held public meetings and the point was made over and over again by neighbors and friends – we want visitors to explore and discover our park and our city,” states Guy Hagstette, Park Director of Discovery Green. “Houston is a center for exploration and discovery of space, energy and medicine, and the excitement and magic of exploring a beautiful and special place in the heart of our city was our inspiration for selecting the name.” 
 
The logo and brand strategy was developed by Houston design and marketing firm Active Imagination. The firm utilized their proprietary BrandStory process to help the Conservancy define the brand personality, and how best to express the unique story of the park to its target audience.
 
“The Discovery Green icon, like the park itself, is about discovery, activity and a place to escape. The blue and green icon initially represented the park''s water features, but really can represent the playful aspects of the park, the blades of grass, the unique art/sculptures or any of the other elements at the park,” said Adam Nisenson, Principal/Creative Director of Active Imagination. "The color red was important because it''s vibrant and unexpected – just like the park. It''s unlike anything else in Houston."