AUSTIN (KXAN) — Google continues to lay its new high speed fiber network around Austin, but not everyone is thrilled. Folks in one east side neighborhood do not like where Google built its latest hub site, among a stand of trees in the middle of Rosewood Park’s public amphitheater. But it may be the price of progress.
Folks in the neighborhood use the park for paths, picnics and plays, like a production of “Princess Bride.” Now they believe Google has turned their park into the “Fire Swamp,” and that, they consider “inconceivable!”
“There are a lot of spaces in Austin not as pretty as this, and there’s lot of effort to make nice parks,” said Lucy Kreutz. “This sort of ruins one that already exists.”
The new Google hub will provide faster fiber service to nearby access TV Channel Austin, and the nonprofit tech service Austin Free-Net. They figure it is a price worth paying.
“We’re talking beyond aesthetics. We’re talking about self-sufficiency,” said Juanita Budd, executive director of Austin Free-Net. “We’re talking about the opportunity to learn to use the new tools of the 21st century.”
Still, some neighbors have been asking the city and Google if the hub had to be located there.
“It doesn’t feel like a place to watch a play, a place you’d want to be,” said Pete Dahlberg. “Before, this was a nice green spot to take the path to the larger park or the pool or tennis courts. Now it almost looks like a prison.”
In a statement, Google said they take great care selecting their hub sites and that in this case they did everything to save the trees in the park. They suggest anyone with any further questions can call them, 24-7. That may not satisfy some residents, who hoped Google might have said “As You Wish.”