AUSTIN, Texas - A virtual meeting over what would be community input for the "Hancock Golf Course" has been postponed. The meeting was supposed to be held Monday and Thursday, but the city says due to too many people registering, they are looking at other options on how to get community feedback
But, it's still an open question on what to do with the historic 45-acres of land in Central Austin.
In February, the city announced it may move forward with a plan that could lease the land to a private company.
The city says the golf course, as is, is not financially sustainable. Since 2012, despite making improvements, there is still more than $100,000 worth of funds needed for it to be fully operational. That’s why the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is considering turning operations over to a private company that would turn the space into a modern golf learning facility.
But, that idea has mixed reactions.
"If you engage the Austin community, they say the same thing, don’t let the land be privatized and open it up as a public park and green space," said Adam Sparks, head of the Hancock Conservancy.
Sparks said the space has the potential to be something even greater.
"Hancock park has the opportunity one of the gems of the Austin park systems,” he said. “It will be Zilker, then it will be Hancock Park. It is an amazing plot of land with rolling hills and trees and wildlife. We want to expand on that."
Expanding on it by not only looking at it as a golf course but as a place where Austinites can come and experience what all the 45-acres have to offer. "We don’t think that public land should be privatized for profit," Sparks said.
PARD said they're looking at it as a hybrid model: one that would include golf and park elements. Adding, even if they lease the space out, it will still be owned by the city and will not be up for sale.
Two things that will remain the same, even if the space is leased out: The recreational center and the historical designations.
“One thing I will give PARD is that they have said is the rec center is going to stay and we support that entirely,” Sparks said. “There is children’s programming, senior citizens programming, a small basketball court, a soccer field, and a playground - all of that we want to stay. We want to keep it historical and as it."
In a survey conducted by PARD, they had more than 340 people participate and just under 2,100 responses. In that, 172 people said they had privacy concerns and or did not wish to not change the space. 162 people wanted to preserve the green space, and 148 said they wanted to promote the history, keep programming, and the recreational center.