an outstanding example of how government, the private
sector and individual citizens can work together to
accomplish great things.
The SPARK School Park Program
was developed in 1983 as a way to increase park space in
Houston, Texas. Former Houston School Board member
and former City Council Member, Eleanor Tinsley, created
SPARK to develop public school grounds into neighborhood
parks. An inter-local agreement, one of the first in
Houston, between the city, the Houston Parks Board and the
school district, formally established the SPARK Program.
In 1991, SPARK was granted 501 (c) (3) status. In
1996, SPARK was identified as a program of the Mayor,
although the program retains its non-profit status.
SPARK combines the resources of the Department of Housing
and Community Development, seven local school districts,
Harris County, the private sector, neighborhood groups,
PTA/PTO groups, and concerned citizens.
SPARK is a unique program that
has its roots in Houston.
SPARK registered its trademark with the U.S. Patent and
Trademark Office. SPARK signed a licensing agreement
with Baton Rouge Green, a non-profit organization in
Louisiana to build the first SPARK Park outside of
Houston. Banks Elementary in East Baton Rouge Parish
was dedicated in September, 2002.
Neighborhood USA Conference
Urban Forest Conference
Recreation and Parks Symposium
Partner's in Education Convention
won numerous local, state and national awards including:
Mayor's Proud Partner Award, Community Forestry Award, and
National Environmental Achievement Award in the Public
Lands and Open Space Protection category from RENEW
SPARK Art plays an
85 of the 200+ SPARK Parks have public art components.
About half of the projects are proposed and completed by
art teachers at the schools. When there is no art
teacher, a local artists is recruited to work with the
students and architect on a project. The artwork
often reflects the heritage of the neighborhood, a
specific theme, the school mascot, and/or the school