Storms damage parks, trails in Central Texas

For the past few weeks storms have damaged the city of Austin’s trails and parks. 

Charles Vaclavik, manager of operations and maintenance for the city’s department of parks and recreation, says the past 5 weeks of rain has made maintenance on the city’s green space a losing battle --  at least for now. “The storm situation has created running and erosion issues, and every time we go out and repair them, the next week they get back to the right same situation.” 

In Zilker Park, Vaclavik says there are at least three areas closed off, due to erosion. “I think the most noticeable thing is the multiple washouts.” said Judy Rossner.

Rossner, has been running in Zilker for over 20 years. 

Vaclavik says even the Zilker Zephyr is a victim of erosion. Land underneath the tracks turn-around point has washed away. Vaclavik says he is unsure when the train will be back up and running.

The tracks need to be realigned, and there is very little room to make that happen. 

“It’s sad because this is a landmark in Austin.” Rossner commented. 

The Zilker Zephyr is not alone. There are no long term reconstruction plans set in stone. Vaclavik says the department is waiting on the weather to stop, before they try to figure anything out. 

“We’re just in the assessment phase of it and we’re assessing fixing the most dangerous places we can fix and making sure it’s safe for the public and as soon as these storms stop happening one after another. Then, we’ll have a better idea of where were at and how much it’s gonna cost to fix it.”