The esplanade on Navigation Boulevard between N. St. Charles St and N. Paige St. will be transformed to become an iconic attraction for local residents and tourists of the East End. Todays unveiling focused on the installation of some key pieces of street art, furniture and lighting.
This beautification initiative is part of a long term comprehensive plan for The East End Livable Center. The pieces have been built in Houston and San Antonio by internationally renowned artists: The Art Guys, Anthony Thompson Schumate, and Gary Sweeney. The unique art and furniture combines elements of Houston’s founding days, ethnicities that built the East End, and contemporary metropolitan green architecture such as the pedestrian level solar lamps. These lamps will have colorful bands that will lit the streets and improve safety in the area.
Residents of the East End will be able to enjoy the aesthetics and walkability of a pedestrian esplanade under the shade of some oak trees that date to the founding days of Navigation. The esplanade is also designed to include a street market, with artist designed market kiosks. Improvements are also taking place along other main arteries of the East End including Sampson, Canal, and York streets. These have fresh planted native trees, flowering shrubs, ADA ramps, bike racks, benches and contemporary bus stops.
Funding for the improvements on Navigation Boulevard, came from a $5 million FTA stimulus grant which also paid for the amenities on nearby Sampson and York streets. The Houston Arts Alliance funded the design and production of the market kiosks.
The esplanade on Navigation Boulevard will be the site of a ribbon cutting ceremony and the second annual East End Street Fest on the third week of October 2013. This year’s street festival promises to be bigger and better with lots of new attractions for the community. Attendance numbers are expected to double from last year’s five thousand.