Society / The Seen

Hermann Park to Become More Family Friendly

Bold Future Plans Given a Big Push by Mayor — and a Special Evening

BY // 05.04.18
photography Jenny Antill Clifton

It’s seldom that you find a big city mayor passing the hat for anything other than his own campaign fund, so it was a superb surprise for the Hermann Park Conservancy when Mayor Sylvester Turner appealed to the swell “Evening in the Park” gathering to reach deep into their pockets and double the night’s fundraising goal. While the 500 guests sitting for dinner in a party tent overlooking McGovern Lake didn’t quite measure up, they far surpassed the goal by bringing in $525,450 for the conservancy’s stewardship and improvement efforts.

Turner tossed his prepared notes, to the applause of the 500 dinner guests, and eloquently spoke from the heart as he praised Houstonians in this “post-Harvey era” and praised the “beautiful destination park.”

“There is a lot more that needs to be done here at Hermann Park, but it doesn’t happen on its own. So let me just make a special appeal,” he said.

The “more to be done” refers to the future plans for the park that were illuminated by conservancy board chair Phoebe Tudor and conservancy president Doreen Stoller, who spoke about the new, 20-year master plan aimed at making the park even more family-friendly.

The evening honored H-E-B, which was represented by Scott McClelland, president of H-E-B Food and drug. “We’re proud at H-E-B that one of the things that we believe is by investing in the city, you raise the tide for all people who live there and everyone benefits,” he said. “And that’s what I think we can all feel good about tonight because everybody in Houston uses this park.”

With a “California Dreaming” theme, perfect weather and a collection of antique surfboards on display, dinner chairs could not have asked for a better success, particularly after blasting through the financial goal. Applause, applause for Bonner and George Ball, Janet Gurwitch and Ron Franklin, and Dancie and Jim Ware.

City Kitchen provided the exceptionally tasty spring dinner and dessert buffet. DJ Damon delivered the dance tunes that kept the Molly Ann Smith Plaza jumping. And a few gents, who will remain nameless, moved off to a distant side area to smoke cigars.

Park people: Susie and Sanford Criner, Bobby Tudor, Nicole and Evan Katz, Y. Ping Sun and David Leebron, Sheridan and John Eddie Williams, Denise Monteleone, Jackson Hicks and Milton Townsend, Sherry and Tommy Lott, Marcus Smith, Isabel and Danny David, Chinhui and Eddie Allen, Lea Weingarten, Holly and Austin Alvis, Yvonne and Rufus Cormier, Gloria and Jesse Bounds, Linda and Berry Hunsaker, Abbi and Robert Antablin, and Kathy and Glen Gondo.

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