A unique community open space in Houston’s Old Sixth Ward that functions equally as a great neighborhood dog park and communal space.
The project was spurred by community members’ desire to preserve the turret of a now-demolished historic home. Now transformed into a gazebo, the “Witch’s Hat” is a landmark for the area.
In addition to the iconic Witch’s Hat, the park injects playful elements, such as the “polkadot” landscapes of circular mounds for dogs and people to interact with.
While the park has the amenities for a typical dog park, including a dog fountain, showers, and even misters for people to take refuge from the heat, it also incorporates green infrastructure that removes bacteria from waste so as not to contaminate stormwater.
The park that is managed by the Sixth Ward Redevelopment Authority and an adjacent multifamily residential development. Its unusual name is indicative of the goals and ethic of the park to develop a hybrid space that could function equally as a great neighborhood dog park as well as great park for anyone without a dog.
To this end, the Park for Humans and Dogs was developed in two phases: the first phase fulfilled the bulk of the dog park component and provided a means of quickly activating a long dormant site with a new grass area, wire-panel fencing, new sycamore trees to screen an existing fence, and a new seat wall wrapping the root zone of a large existing pecan tree that offered immediate shade.
The second phase was more involved and expanded the park to include many of the civic space features of the park and truly connected the site to the street edge. As part of this latter phase, a 100-year old cupola was saved from a nearby demolished home and repurposed as a striking gazebo space. At over twenty feet tall, the cupola has insured that this distinctive park has a public face as unique as its name.