The McGovern Centennial Gardens and the Cherie Flores Garden Pavilion groundbreaking was held on September 18, 2013 on the site of the Houston Garden Center in Hermann Park. Hermann Park Conservancy chair, Ann Kennedy, began the program with the introduction of Mayor Annise Parker. Houston Parks and Recreation Department director, Joe Turner, praised the efforts of the Conservancy in securing most of the funds needed toward the $31 million transformation of the 15-acre garden space. Benefactors Kathrine G. McGovern and Cherie and Jim Flores spoke excitedly about the project while recalling memories of their experiences in Hermann Park throughout the years. Mrs. McGovern shared the memory of her and her late husband Dr. John P. (Jack) McGovern strolling around the lake looking for bass hiding amongst the aquatic plants. Cherie Flores recounted her love of gardening, especially roses, and what a thrill it is to have her name attached to the beautiful garden entry pavilion.
HPC executive director, Doreen Stoller, thanked Mrs. McGovern whose love of Hermann Park resulted in one of the first major private gifts to a public park in Houston. It was her extraordinary lead gift that made the McGovern Centennial Gardens possible. HPC board member and Conservancy Centennial Campaign co-chair, Sanford Criner, commented that at the time the idea for the Gardens was conceived, “we all thought it was a fantasy”, but Mrs. McGovern and numerous other donors made the dream come true.
In addition to thanking Mrs. McGovern and Jim and Cherie Flores, Centennial Campaign co-chair, board member, and gardens benefactor, Phoebe Tudor, noted the generosity of other donors who contributed to the Gardens project as well, an extensive list which includes The Duncan Family Foundation, Houston Endowment Inc., the City of Houston, The Wortham Foundation, Inc., The Brown Foundation, Diana and Russell Hawkins, Marathon Oil Company, H-E-B, and the Garden Club of Houston, to name a few.
Sanford gave a preview of the fun activities that will take place for Hermann Park’s 100th birthday in 2014. Centennial celebrations such as a kite festival, dog walk, Park to Port bike ride, Art in the Park, and many other activities will occur throughout the 2014 centennial year.
For more information regarding the centennial celebrations, please see our website at http://www.hermannpark.org/centennial.
Pictured above: Phoebe Tudor, Cherie Flores, Jim Flores, Mayor Annise Parker, Mrs. McGovern, Doreen Stoller, Sanford Criner, and Joe Turner. (Photo: Jean Miracle-Whitaker)