'Father of Discovery Green' former Mayor Bill White thrilled by its success

- In this week of Super Bowl jubilation, it would be difficult to find a half million square feet anywhere, more celebrated and openly admired than a masterfully-developed piece of ground on the eastern edge of downtown Houston.

During his six years at the helm of the nation's fourth largest municipality development of the 11 acre inner city park was Mayor Bill White's baby, so much so, he can fairly claim the title "father of Discovery Green."

"It didn't need to be a 100 acres, but it needed to be green space that could be, you know, Houston's front yard," said White who was inspired by London's Hyde Park and New York's Central Park.

A "front yard", which says White, for an emerging international metropolis with millions of minds to change.

"The more people visit here, the more they overcome old stereotypes," said White.

In less than a decade property around Discovery Green has tripled in taxable value with the addition of high end hotels and first class convention space - part of a downtown Renaissance that's still delivering dividends.

"We've had a succession of mayors, of which I am one, who had a vision that we were not going to let our downtown be written off," said White, who served three terms.

And it was White leading the city in 2004 when the Super Bowl last came to town.
Then as now, security was a critical concern.

He insists clear focus, plenty of cameras, the right people in command and a "heads up" philosophy kept everyone safe.

The now former Mayor says when it comes to this year's game his confidence in those battling potential threats remains firmly in tact.

"We shouldn't let any form of criminals, even if they are called terrorists, or shut us down. I mean we don't live in fear. We are a tough and sturdy people and we are not going to let a few bad apples shut us down," said White.

As for the championship itself,White says he can't but help but pull for the underdog and this year that would those guys from Atlanta.

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