While many of us don’t begin thinking about the current Super Bowl until a few weeks to several months out, prep work for the Host City begins several years in advance. Huge changes are made to the city’s infrastructure to accommodate for the massive amounts of crowds and events that flock to the city in the weeks surrounding the big game. Let’s take a look at some of the significant changes that have been made to prepare for Houston Super Bowl LI and what lasting impact these improvements will have on our great city.
This year the Houston Super Bowl Host Committee and NFL are joining forces to “reduce the environmental impact of Super Bowl activities and leave a ‘green’ legacy throughout the Greater Houston Area.” Check out some of the fantastic initiatives that have taken place so far.
Houston Super Bowl LI Goes Green
Bastrop Reforestation Project
On Saturday, January 14th the NFL and Verizon teamed up to with TreeFolks to plant approximately 1,500 trees in the Bastrop area to help plant replacements for the ones taken out in the wildfire in 2011. Similar but smaller scale efforts were also made in Galveston neighborhoods, Songwood Park, and on January 28th in Memorial Park.
On Monday, January 16th at the Houston Zoo and January 17th at MacGregor Park events will be held to draw attention to the importance of urban forestry. Houston is a major pollination flyway for pollinators passing through on the way down south from Canada. Because of this, a parade was held at the Houston Zoo to celebrate the new pollination garden. At MacGregor Park, widespread tree planting took place, sponsored by Trees for Houston in conjunction with community volunteers.
On Thursday, January 19th at the Houston Texans YMCA a large-scale book and sports equipment donation drive will be taking place to gather thousands of books, school supplies, and games. These will be distributed to low-income schools throughout the region. Special guests from the Houston Host Committee, the Texans, and Texans cheerleaders will also be there.
Houston Super Bowl LI E-Waste Recycling Rally
On Saturday, January 21st, a recycling rally will be held at the Houston Zoo, where residents may donate numerous types of electronics. Smaller electronics like computers, cell phones, printers, and televisions are all welcomed. However, larger appliances such as refrigerators will not be accepted. Any family bringing items will be given a half-price voucher for the zoo, good for up to four guests.
Major Super Bowl events and venues are committed to using green energy, including NRG Stadium, the GRB Convention Center, and the hotels being used by the League teams and Super Bowl staff. Renewable energy certificates (RECs) will also be provided to these facilities, to encourage the positive impact green energy has on the environment.
Food and Materials Recovery
Extra food relating to Super Bowl events will be gathered by the Houston Food Bank and other non-profit organizations to be used at shelters, missions, soup kitchens, and more. All food collected will meet the required standards. A drive for extra materials will also begin almost immediately following the Super Bowl to keep them out of landfills and allow them to be repurposed and reused by local organizations.
The Broadway Project
The “Broadway Project” has been working to improve the two-mile stretch of road between Hobby Airport and Interstate 45. Not only has TxDOT and the City of Houston completely re-done the road itself, but Scenic Houston has also raised several million dollars to go toward the beautification of the area. Countless new trees, beautiful red brick pedestrian crossings, and flower beds have all been installed, helping to welcome visitors and natives alike back to Houston as they head into town from the airport. Though this project was not done for the sole purpose of the Houston Super Bowl LI, it was completed just in time during January 2017 with the ribbon cutting ceremony just being held on January 12th.
Being the fourth largest city in the U.S., positive green energy changes in a city like Houston can have an enormous impact. Hopefully, these events will spark future change for years to come.