AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin's Parks and Recreation Board said it hates to pull theplug on the popular Trail of Lights in Zilker Park. However, facinga budget shortfall, the board's chair, Linda Guerrero, said theonly other alternative might be staff cuts.
"There are already several vacancies we're not filling in ourdepartment," said Guerrero. "We're working with a skeletoncrew."
The board met this week to discuss the idea of ending the11-year holiday tradition.
The mile-long trail usually meanders through more than 40 LCDdisplays and attracts more than 300-thousand spectators. The city'sparks and recreation department has already slashed $2.8 millionfrom its budget. Taking away the Trail of Lights would cut $800,000more.
Parks and Recreation Director Sarah Hensley said, "We areexploring other alternatives. Shortening the days, re-evaluatingstaff on the project, or utilizing those lights in other areas ofthe city are just some ideas."
Hensley said the department wants to make a final decision bySeptember. It is seeking public input and sponsors to keep theTrail of Lights alive.
More than 100 trees covered in lights now shine bright throughout Zilker Park. The Trail of Lights is open for another season.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside of a vehicle which lost control during the icy conditions, DPS said.
Travis County non-profit Center for Child Protection will benefit next March from an all day fundraiser at the Circuit of the Americas that will see plenty of donors racing on the track.
Travis County District Attorney Rosemary Lehmberg heads to court this week as a defendant in a civil trial that could oust her from office.
Santa visited Austin early on Sunday, joining hundreds of motorcyclists for their annual Toy Run.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.