The city zoned the cemetery and surrounding property as parkland, a designation that protects and preserves the property. The city went further and purchased all of the land around the cemetery. We planned enhancements that were intended to make the cemetery more accessible and highlight its historical importance.
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The cemetery was dedicated to the City by LID 17 during October of 2006. Sugar Land City Council approved Resolution No. 12-02 on Feb. 7, 2012. The resolution authorized the purchase of 63.331 acres of land for park purposes and the purchase of 11.426 acres of land for airport purposes from NNP-TELFAIR, LP per the 2003 Development Agreement.
The city of Sugar Land negotiated with Newland to accept responsibility for the ownership of the cemetery, ensuring this historical property does not disappear through neglect like many others throughout the country.
The city routinely provides cemetery access to the Texas Slave Descendants Society to host events there.
An archeological survey of the property was previously completed by Newland Communities as required by federal law.
The Fort Bend County Historical Commission is charged with carrying out a continuing survey of the county’s historical buildings, sites, cemeteries, archeological sites, both public and private, and other historical features within the county and reports to the Fort Bend County Commissioners Court and the Texas Historical Commission. Any new development that could have an impact on a historic site such as this must be vetted through the FB Historical Commission. The Texas Historical Commission performed ground-penetration studies of the property in May 2016.
The city will comply with all required laws prior to any future parkland development surrounding the cemetery.
The city’s plans for a community park in Telfair were halted by the failed passage of an $18.5 million bond proposition. Even though the regional park was defeated in the bond election by residents of Sugar Land, that property is still designated for future parkland in our Parks, Recreation Master Plan.
The City of Sugar Land created the Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and contributes funding to ensure the preservation of the city’s history. The Sugar Land Heritage Foundation has been collecting local historical documents for a museum opened in 2018 at the Imperial Refinery site. This museum will eventually include a diversity of exhibits documenting the contributions of African-Americans and all others. Community groups are encouraged to support the development of the museum.