A new park is coming to Friendswood and students and faculty at Wedgewood Elementary are in charge of planning the area. It’s all part of the SPARK School Program.
The SPARK School Program works with schools and neighborhoods to develop community parks on public school grounds.
In the past 30 years, SPARK has built over 200+ community parks throughout the Houston/Harris County area. Each park is unique, with its design based on ideas and needs of the school and surrounding neighborhoods.
While all of the parks are different, a typical park consists of modular playground equipment, a walking trail, benches, picnic tables, trees, an outdoor classroom, and a public art component.
SPARK Parks are available for public use after all classes and after school programs at the school have ended and on weekends.
“Wedgewood is so excited to have the opportunity to support our students and neighborhood community with a park that will give children and families in our area an updated, safe place to play and exercise during and after school hours,” Principal Buffie Johnson said. “Our fundraising efforts this year will be dedicated to the SPARK Park funds in order to supplement the grant we have been awarded. We will also be reaching out to our families and local businesses in hopes of securing donations and sponsorships for support as we build this park that will be the heart of our community.”
As part of Phase 1 for the grant, Wedgewood will receive $150,000 to help design and build a new neighborhood park over the next year that will reflect the character of the school and the surrounding community.
Wedgewood students will use their Six Pillars of Character program to help them develop the art design for the new park. The pillars are caring, citizenship, fairness, respect, responsibility, and trustworthiness. All grade levels will participate using their pillar to be part of the art and design.
Wedgewood was considered eligible for this grant after being designated as a “park desert” site, or a piece of land more than one-half mile or a ten-minute walk from an existing park, through a park evaluation conducted by The Trust for Public Land. The students and the surrounding community will now be able to access and enjoy recreational opportunities without having to travel outside of their neighborhoods.
Wedgewood is one of nine schools chosen to participate in the program at this time. The other school districts include three elementary schools in Houston ISD, an elementary in Channelview ISD, an elementary in Alief ISD, a charter school, an elementary in Katy ISD and an elementary in Spring Branch ISD.
The original announcement of the chosen schools was made at a special news conference this fall where Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner spoke of the record-setting donation from Houston Endowment and the Kinder Foundation to increase park equity and bring the SPARK Park Program to 30 schools in the Houston area over the next three years
To learn more about the school’s vision for its SPARK park and to make a donation to the capital campaign goal for the project, please visit wedgewood.ccisd.net/sparkpark. Wedgewood Elementary is located at 4000 Friendswood Link Road in Friendswood. The campus is part of Clear Creek ISD schools.