The State of Qatar, through its $30 million Qatar Harvey Fund, today announced a gift of $3.3 million for the construction of eight soccer fields in Harris Country, five in Precinct 1 and three in Precinct 4. The soccer fields will also be designed as water collection basins to mitigate future flooding.
The announcement was made today at BBVA Stadium by H.E. Sheikh Meshal bin Hamad Al-Thani, Qatar’s Ambassador to the U.S. He was joined by Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, Precinct 4 Commissioner R. Jack Cagle, and Licia Green Ellis, representing Precinct 1 and her husband, Commissioner Rodney Ellis.
The five soccer fields in Precinct 1 will be built in Blue Ridge Park, located in far southwest Harris County between the Sam Houston Tollway and FM 2234.
The three soccer fields in Precinct 4 will be constructed in Alabonson Park along Bingle Road between Alabonson Road and White Oak Bayou in northwest Houston.
Planned amenities at Alabonson Park, a 50-acre multi-use facility, also include softball and football fields, parking lots, maintenance facilities, picnic areas, and playgrounds, as well as paved multi-use trails and natural surface trails that could one day connect to additional trail systems along White Oak Bayou. Construction is scheduled to begin in August 2019.
Ambassador Al-Thani, who chairs the Qatar Harvey Fund, said during the announcement: “Qatar has relationships in Houston and southeast Texas that go back decades and the Qatar Harvey Fund is a gesture of solidarity, designed to support long-term recovery and resilience. These fields serve that purpose by using land vulnerable to flooding to bring recreation access closer to these communities.”
The Qatar Harvey Fund has already announced approximately $16 million in Harvey recovery projects in southeast Texas, including a $2.5 million donation announced last October to help restore Harris County’s Riverside Hospital in Houston’s Third Ward.
Harris County Precinct 1 Commissioner Rodney Ellis said: “I’m extremely grateful that Qatar has been here for our city after we faced one of the greatest challenges in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. On behalf of Precinct One, I sincerely thank Ambassador Al-Thani and the Qatar Harvey Fund for their generous gift that will provide soccer fields at Blue Ridge Park for our families to enjoy. Also, the flood mitigation component of this project will help protect thousands of people who live in the Sims Bayou watershed from future flooding.”
“Thank you, Ambassador Al-Thani, for this generous donation,” said Commissioner R. Jack Cagle. “This important step in our recovery from Hurricane Harvey provides recreational opportunities and flood relief for the area.”
Ambassador Al-Thani visited Houston and Harris County in October 2018 to announce the first round of grants to support education, housing and community development projects, including a $622,000 gift to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Texas via the Rebuild Texas Fund. During his current visit, the Ambassador will announce the remaining approximately $14 million in donations from the Qatar Harvey Fund. These announcements will fulfill Qatar’s pledge of $30 million in funding long-term recovery projects in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.
About the Qatar Harvey Fund and the State of Qatar
Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey in August 2017, the State of Qatar announced a gift of $30 million for the long-term recovery of the storm’s victims in Texas. The Qatar Harvey Fund was created to administer the gift. For more information, visit www.QatarHarveyFund.com.
Qatar is an independent state in the southern Arabian Gulf. It has a population of approximately 2.7 million people, the majority of whom live in and around Doha, the capital. Diplomatic relations with the United States were established in 1972; in the same year, Qatar’s first diplomatic mission in Washington, D.C. opened. The relationship between the two countries has always been friendly, highly productive and reciprocal. Qatar is home to many Americans, and the United States is both Qatar’s largest foreign investor and its largest source of imports. Qatar-U.S. relations are growing continuously in multiple areas: economic, political, military, educational and cultural. Qatar is a close ally of the United States and a strong advocate of building a peaceful, prosperous and stable Middle East. Qatar has provided significant humanitarian and development assistance to countries around the world, including the United States.