Houston Style Magazine Honors Mothers Who Serve the Community - Angelee Moody Rhyne

Jo-Carolyn Goode | 4/30/2021, 4:35 a.m.
You can adopt a child, a pet, and even a highway. Angelee Moody Rhyne decided to adopt a park. One ...

Angelee Moody Rhyne

Mother to 1 Son

Restoration: Marian Park Community Center

Angelee Moody Rhyne

Angelee Moody Rhyne

You can adopt a child, a pet, and even a highway. Angelee Moody Rhyne decided to adopt a park. One day she had a meeting with someone at the Marian Park to discuss plans for a Back-to- School. In her mind the park would be an ideal location since at one point she frequented the park regularly. However, that was many years ago. She had no idea the state that she would find the park in today. She was just applauded at how the park had gone down.

“I didn’t realize how the City had allowed this park to slip through the crack,” Rhyne said about the park that was acquired by the city of Houston in 1997. “Marian Park had been a stepchild within the City Parks & Recreation Dept.”

She found it to be so disheartening that it seemed nothing had been to keep the park in condi- tion since the city taking it over. The neighborhood park was gravely neglected. There was no new life of growth that having trees and flowers could bring. Park facilities had not been updated so people could not safely enjoy the park. The park’s community center was equipped with weight/cardo rooms, basketball court (gym), dance studio, meeting rooms, kitchen and men/women locker rooms with showers. Outside the park had a couple of half-court basketball, picnic tables, splash bad, playground, baseball/softball fields, walking/running track, soccer and football fields. All these things needed to be upgraded.

Rhyne commented, “The park needed some- one to adopt it, to pick up the cause and try to get more people to use it.” Rhyne knew she was the person that could get it down.

She, with the help of her husband, decided to adopt the park that day. She would enlist the commu- nity and form strategic partnerships to get the park back in tiptop shape. She began by starting a Friends of Marian Park partnership for beatification efforts, community involvement and raising funds in support of the park. Tapping the community, she was able to muster up several community partnerships to secure donations to assist with some of the much-needed upgrades. According to the Brays Oaks Manage- ment District, the Rhynes even dipped into their own pockets to contribute to the park’s “wish list,” helping subsidize needs that the City of Houston was unable to support, in addition to encouraging and paying for Lit- tle League Football practices. With all the help, Rhyne was able to make a major difference at Marian Park.

These are some of the things she was able to accomplish:

  1. Replace bleachers in gym
  2. Planted 17 trees around the track
  3. Renovate the weight room
  4. Created an adopt the a flower bed
  5. Restriped parking lot
  6. Replaced the outdoor BBQ grills
  7. Painted the outdoor court backboards
  8. Paint the outdoor water fountains
  9. Plant wildflower in the driveway entrance to the park
  10. Create volunteer opportunities for schools/students in the community
  11. Partner with community HOA's and groups to use the meeting rooms
  12. Increase community usage of the park
  13. Partner with Houston Police Department to patrol the park
  14. Assist the community center staff with outreach in the community

Brays Oaks Management District stepped in to offer matching grants that help realize Rhyne’s vision for Marian Park–funding the wildflower plant- ings along the park’s entrance in the summer and fall, updating the weight room, and helping promote events at the community center. Today, the park is once again a beautiful eye to behold. It is being maintained on a regular basis.

“It really is an undiscovered jewel that could be more.” Rhyne said, “Other parks don’t have a community center on that much land.”

“We do live here and we are going to try to make things better,” said Rhyne. She continues to watch over Marian Park.

Angelee Moody Rhyne is the mother of one son, Julian, who is an advocate for social justice issues.