AUSTIN (KXAN) - Conflict is brewing over the placement of a potential disc golf course over at Roy G Guerrero Colorado River Park in East Austin.
Two groups are expected at a hearing tonight at Dan Ruiz Library: One group, PODER, will oppose a proposed disc golf course, saying the land should be used for affordable housing, as its currently zoned. A second group, El Concilio, favors the creation of the disc golf course, saying it would be a welcome alternative for youth in the neighborhood.
Montopolis residents, led by PODER, will be protesting the plan outside the meeting before it starts. The disc golf course would be placed on 25 acres, owned by the city, currently adjacent to the park. The city's parks department currently is going through the process of re-zoning the property from general office mixed-use to public space.
"There is a tremendous need for affordable housing and those 25 acres should be made available for housing, not a disc golf course," said Daniel Llanes with the River Bluff Neighborhood Association.
The disc golf course at Pease Park in West Austin is set to close for good in December. Parks Department officials say foot traffic is causing erosion along the banks of Shoal Creek. The Parks Department promised to find a new location for the course.
El Concilio, in its own statement that went out this afternoon, said affordable housing should be spread out across Austin and not simply concentrated in East Austin. A disc golf course is a good idea, according to El Concilio.
"We have many youth in our barrios that welcome a golf disc course in our barrio," said Domingo Puentes, an Austin Community College student who lives in Montopolis. " Why only in West Austin?"
Kelly Snook, an assistant director in the Parks Department, said the 25 acres in question is owned by the city. It is being re-zoned to public space in an effort to add it to the adjacent Roy Guerrero Park. To cede that land back to the private sector, in an effort to create affordable housing, would require an extensive public review process and a public vote.
Snook said the department had learned from its mistakes of placing the disc golf course at Pease Park, where foot traffic had eroded the ground in the park. The parcel adjacent to Roy Guerrero is larger, will only have one entrance, will not require removing trees and is better suited for use as a disc golf course. It's also next door to the Austin Community College campus, which caters to the age-group that typically is interested in playing disc golf, Snook said.
"We learned from our decisions at Pease and now have a better way to do sustainable construction," Snook said. "We won't be repeating the same issues at Guerrero Park."
The city has made no final decision on the disc golf park, Snook said. Tonight's meeting will be an effort to open a discussion with the community on how to use the land for park use.
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