Neighborhood team Chair Julia Foree reports:
We met with Randy Scott of Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) last night to discuss future development of the park on Powell.
Reps from North Lamar/Georgian Acres neighborhood team (NLCT), Georgian Acres Neighborhood Association (GANA), John Nance Gardner/Sam Rayburn residents, Woodland Heights Apartments management and Austin Police Department participated.
PARD is committed to keeping the parkland mowed for safety. We can also establish a wildflower meadow on part of it once it is developed, where mowing will be avoided.
The park is intended to be accessed on foot or by bicycle. Parks is working with the new development going in at the end of Oertli to gain a park access easement from Oertli.
They will work with the apartments at John Nance Gardner to move the dumpsters out of the right of way for that entrance to the park, and will take down the barricade but leave the posts to prevent vehicular access.
Step one in the development will be to identify the entrances and place three signs. One at Oertli, One at John Nance Gardner, One on Powell. Volunteers will be enlisted to help with planting and maintaining the entrance plantings.
On Powell, soon a sidewalk will be installed in front of the park, and bollards (posts) to prevent vehicular access to the land, but allow pedestrian access on the downhill (south) side of Powell, closest to Sam Rayburn. Then the current metal fence will be removed from the front of the land.
Bond funds will not be available until 2017/8 to fund major development, but in the mean time, we can keep track of hours we spend in park maintenance or litter cleanup. These will add up and earn us grant money to get amenities installed sooner.
In 2017 PARD will be putting a request for bond money before the voters, and we will need to help turn out the vote to get it approved.
Once there is actual bond money available PARD will come back an actual design workshop with the neighborhood to determine what will go in. For now, however, we just talked about what would be nice and what PARD would consider:
- leveling an open area to become a (casual play) field for soccer
- constructing picnic shelters with tables and grills
- developing a loop trail around the property
- installing some swings and a natural play area (boulders, hills, etc)
- a swingset
- looking into the possibility of a splash area
- trash cans
- drinking fountain/s
Restrooms are not on the horizon at present, nor is parking. Neither is considered standard for a neighborhood park, and restrooms have been risky in higher crime areas since they are closed areas. So, none for now.
This is not a final design, just some ideas to work on. PARD will come back and hold a community meeting to get more input and finalize the design sometime in 2017. Meanwhile, we can put in volunteer hours and start working on earning ourselves that first picnic shelter. I [Julia] have gloves and trash bags if anyone is feeling inspired, or wants to lead a group (even a small group) trash pick up.
We have also asked that the park be prepared so that it can host summer programs for kids once developed.
The issue of direct park access from Remington House has not yet been resolved, but I am looking into it along with city real estate.