AUSTIN (KXAN) — You may be hanging out with family this Thanksgiving week, tuning out some of what’s happening in our city, but you don’t need to leave the loungewear to tell leaders what you want to happen with Zilker Metropolitan Park.
It’s 350 acres right in the middle of our city — a park that Quin Aldredge, who was working out at the park Wednesday, said was a “huge part” of his childhood. The park that Aldredge is so fond of may look a little different in the future.
The City of Austin just released its draft vision plan for the space; you can find the more than 200 pages of details here. It’s looking for feedback on the plan before the new year.
“Safety is really important and then just continuously cleaning it up. Because there are so many picnics out here or even events in the afternoons or evenings, sometimes there’s trash and so the dogs will pick it up and try to eat it,” Haylee Lavender, who was playing with her dog at the park, said of her priorities.
Safety is an element of the plan, including more lighting and making it easier to cross Barton Springs Road. The city is looking at the idea of a land bridge.
“I would like to see a bridge, like a walking bridge from this side to the other side,” Tenley Aldredge, who was working out with her son at the park, said.
The plan also includes things like more bathrooms, public transit to and around the park, new pedestrian and bike bridges near Barton Springs Pool and a possible underground parking garage.
“There is one restroom for this entire area, and it’s shared by a lot of the amenities that are on this side of a very busy thoroughfare,” Tenley said of her hopes for the plan.
The concern all of the folks at the park shared Wednesday was one Austinites regularly share about any big project — that it will take away from the park as we’ve grown to love it.
“Austin Parks and Recreation sometimes tends to overdevelop. There’s a park just half a mile from here, and they put a playscape in there and they put a climbing wall in there and they put fountains in there and it’s fine, but it takes up most of the park,” Tenley said.
“Kind of like some of the true Austin gems that become so big that it would be harder to get in, to just access or even just enjoy,” Lavender echoed.
You can share your thoughts on the plan with the city here before Jan. 8. There are also upcoming community meetings either virtually on Dec. 7 (you can sign up here) or in person on Dec. 10. The location for the in-person event can be found here.