Friends of West University Place Parks Are “For the Love of Green” As 18th Annual Park Lovers’ Ball Approaches

January 21, 2009

“For the Love of Green” is the theme for the Friends of West University Place Parks’ 18th Annual Park Lovers’ Ball.  The Ball is Friends’ largest annual fundraising initiative to support the renovation, expansion, development and improvement of parks and green spaces in the neighborhood parks of the City of West University Place.  “For the Love of Green” will take place Feb. 21 at Hotel ZaZa,  located in the museum district.

Co-chairs Susan Garofolo and Nicholas Ro

Co-chairs Susan Garofolo and Nicholas Ro

The evening will feature cocktails, dinner, silent auction, big board and dancing to the tunes of Password.  West U. park supporters and husband-wife team, Susan Garofolo and Nicholas Ro, are the co-chairs for the 18th annual event. 

At the event, Friends will present a $1 million check to the City of West University which will be applied towards the West University Recreational Center on Bellaire Blvd.  This is the $1 million raised from the Lewis Family Charitable Foundation Matching Grant, $500,000 from the Lewis Family and $500,000 from Friends.

“While raising money is important, we know our job is done when we see a smile on each child’s face, increase the bond between parent and child or just create fond memories for the families and children,” said Nicholas Ro, co-chair of the Ball. “Our goal is to raise enough funds for the next three years of the five-year plan, which would pay for the new playgrounds at Huffington, Judson, and Whitt Johnson parks. We hope that everyone will come out and support West U. parks, especially since park improvements are funded only through private contributions – not with tax dollars.”

Since its inception in 1988, the Friends has provided funds for a number of projects, including the total refurbishments of Wier Park, Judson Park and Whitt Johnson Park; the purchase and dedication of Huffington Park; the doubling in size of Colonial Park and the purchase and dedication of the Friends Pocket Park. In 2008, the Friends contributed $153,000 towards the renovation of Wier Park or what most moms call “Sunset Park,” part of its five-year plan to renovate all playgrounds in the West University Parks System. 

Most recently, Whitt Johnson Park received a new tree house.  A formal dedication for Wier Park and Whitt Johnson will take place in early 2009.

Over the last 18 years, Friends of West U. Parks has raised over $3 million supporting park development, construction and improvement.

“Our daughter has been enjoying West University parks since she was just a few days old. We live just a few blocks from Whitt Johnson Park and play at ‘our park’ nearly every day.  We are truly grateful for this lovely green space and quality play equipment that this park has provided and are thrilled to be helping the Friends,” said co-chair Susan Garofolo.
To donate auction items for the ball, to be an underwriter, buy a table or get involved, call 713-662-5396, e-mail or or visit

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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