A cropped photograph where grass plants border the lake at Discovery Green. An overlook, gardens, and the Houston Convention Center are in the background.
Copyright ETM Associates, LLC
Houston, Texas
Client: Discovery Green Conservancy
Awards: ETM’s Strategic Operations Plan - NJASLA Chapter Award, 2018

The Discovery Green Conservancy was the first non-profit private organization responsible for the maintenance, management, and operations of a public park in Houston. ETM Associates assisted the Conservancy by providing analysis of ongoing annual operations and maintenance (O+M) costs as well as recommendations for an ongoing operating model for delivery of O+M services. Additionally, ETM worked with the Conservancy to develop senior technical staff job descriptions and interviewed a pool of candidates for all key positions in order to ensure the Conservancy could transition from a development mode to an operating mode (which required different skill sets).

ETM also oversaw the hiring of senior staff before construction was finished in order to provide proper planning for maintenance, operations, and special events, which enabled the Conservancy “to hit the ground running” when construction was complete. This also allowed the staff to develop a working relationship prior to park opening.

Ultimately, ETM developed a comprehensive O+M Manual for the Conservancy, covering topics such as maintenance, programming, management/administration, and budgeting (please contact us for the full scope of the manual).

As a highly successful public space model for other cities, the initial cost of land acquisition and construction for Discovery Green was estimated at $125 million; however, the creation of the park has led to tremendous development in the downtown area that has more than compensated for the cost. This development includes a high-end residential tower, an office development, and a new hotel built to support the influx of convention activity brought in by the park. Discovery Green has become one of the most popular destinations in downtown Houston and a highly regarded operating model for cities in the greater southwest region that are striving for similar downtown revitalization and economic stimulation.