Aug 8, 2023 - News

Zilker Park Vision Plan's future in doubt

The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan has been shelved indefinitely, Austin Mayor Kirk Watson announced in an email to constituents Monday.

Driving the news: Shortly after three City Council members on Monday came out in opposition to the $200 million plan, Watson said it would be removed from the council's Aug. 31 agenda.

  • In a joint statement, Council Members Paige Ellis (District 8), Ryan Alter (District 5) and Zo Qadri (District 9) said elements of the vision plan "seem to be flash points of irreconcilable differences."

What they're saying: "We know that the Zilker Park Vision Plan proposes many improvements that have community consensus, such as additional green space, shade trees, erosion control, and bathrooms," the Council members wrote in a statement Monday.

  • "... We know the challenges Zilker Park is facing will not go away on their own, but we do not see a path forward for the Zilker Vision Plan and therefore cannot support it."

The big picture: The plan, developed by the planning agency Design Workshop under the guidance of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, was meant to be a blueprint for the future development of the park.

  • It proposed up to three parking garages in the park, along with other prospective amenities like an amphitheater, a new playground, a picnic area on the north side of the park, more bathrooms and bike paths and a possible land bridge over Barton Springs Road.

Between the lines: A vocal group of neighbors and grassroots environmental groups have lobbied city officials for months to reject the plan, and instead support the alternative Zilker rewilding plan, which calls for more trails, woodlands and water features.

  • Watson has expressed his own concerns with the vision plan, and said Monday "we could all benefit from a little time and perspective."

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