Gravel lot near Zilker Park to get a facelift this summer


Underneath the South MoPac Expressway just south of the lake sits a large lot that is rocky and turns into a mud pit when it rains. Being in such a prime location, the city says it is now working with C3 Concerts to make the space more usable. 

Zilker Park hosts nearly half a million music lovers two weekends a year. But that gravel lot is known to get messy, especially when it rains.

Many people use that empty plot of land as a parking lot, especially when the park is crowded on weekends. 

“I intentionally turn at that light so I can go park in that gravel lot,” Austin resident Jon Jennings said, “On a weekday it’s not a problem, but on a busier weekend it can be really really full.”

The lot along Stratford Drive used to be a landfill where city trash was taken, but was covered up in the 1960s. On top of the landfill sits a cap of clay and dirt that is approximately 3-6 feet deep. 

The Austin Parks Foundation announced Wednesday it’s partnering with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department as well as C3, which puts on Austin City Limits, to make the necessary improvements to improve the lot as well as drainage issues in the area. 

“Though additional material was added to the landfill cap in the early 2000s to prevent water from infiltrating into the trash below, use of this area has often been a muddy mess,” says Scott Smiley, division manager and vice president of Atkins, the engineering firm tasked with fixing the lot.

“We are confident that the improvements that will be made to the area will allow for the best use of the space and that these efforts will go a long way toward protecting the cap and surrounding parkland,” Smiley said.

The project, which starts this summer, will also add multiple entrances to the lot from Stratford Drive and Lou Neff Road. The project will be funded by the Austin Parks Foundation with funds from the Austin City Limits Music Festival. 

Recently, the lot has been used for parking during special events such as the Trail of Lights.

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