A few cool parks projects for Council

The city of Austin will become a slightly nicer place as a result of a few items on the Council agenda this week.

First, Council will approve an additional $2 million for the Alliance Children’s Garden, the long-awaited play area planned for Butler Park. That brings the total project cost to up to $6 million. City staff explains:

The Alliance Children’s Garden is comprised of four garden spaces, each with a unique focus on play that reflects Austin’s culture. The goal is to create an inclusive, multigenerational play venue that is comfortable, inviting, imaginative, engaging and visually striking.

…SpawGlass will begin construction on a limited scope of work in February 2019 including existing tree relocation, demolition and grading. The largest scope of the project construction will be expected to begin late spring 2019 and will include all retaining and feature walls, sidewalks, play surfacing, and play elements. The Liz Carpenter Fountain will be renovated by the Parks and Recreation Department.

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Second, the city will buy a small lot in Northeast Austin (University Hills neighborhood) for $185,000 to provide connectivity between an existing neighborhood and a new subdivision and apartment complex that is getting built on some undeveloped land nearby. Furthermore:

The 2018 Little Walnut Creek Master Plan calls for a pedestrian bridge in this area to connect with the larger Little Walnut Creek Greenbelt. This lot will assure access to the larger greenbelt and eventually tie into the existing Waller Creek Greenbelt Trail providing a modest neighborhood amenity.

The Parks & Recreation Department will fund this proposed acquisition through parkland dedication funds and 2006 Bond Funds.

These are the kinds of easy, cheap decisions that can make an area much friendlier to bikes and pedestrians. Sadly, we lacked the foresight to make them in neighborhoods that were built 30-40 years ago.

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The final item that caught my attention is the acquisition of 7 acres of land for $100,000 (?!) in Southeast Austin.

Texas Parks and Wildlife Department offered the City of Austin an option to purchase 7.13 acres of land. The proposed 7.13-acre acquisition will provide public parkland in a park deficient area with a high population density. Its location will provide excellent public access to parkland. The Parks & Recreation Department would fund this proposed acquisition through parkland dedication funds.

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These are the little steps that the city has to constantly keep taking in order to make Austin more livable.

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