City leaders want to give Zilker Park major renovations

The cold and rain didn't stop work crews at Zilker Park from preparing for the upcoming holiday celebrations. The weather conditions also didn't stop Eric Gibbons from coming out for a spin with his Frisbee.

"You know, I'm from the Midwest, so a bit of weather doesn't scare me. And then I come out here and basically get the park to myself," said Gibbons.

The Trail of Lights returns with crowds on foot. Spring will bring the concert season and other special events like the Kite Festival. The park is essentially a victim of its own success and in need of renovation according to city officials.

"Absolutely critical in the sense that, yesterday is critical," said Ricardo Soliz the Division Manager for the Parks and Recreation Department.

Soliz is managing the draft of a new vision for the nearly 400 acre urban greenspace. It would be more than new trails and updating the landscape.

"We just need to prioritize. What should we start first," said Soliz.

A total price tag for the project has not yet been calculated because the Vision isn’t an all or nothing proposal. The plan will most likely be done in Phases.

"Absolutely. It has to be because, there's no way we could afford anything like that," said Soliz.

Big ticket items include pedestrian bridges over Barton Springs Rd. and West of the pool. Moving the amphitheater to the northwest corner of the park, and up to 3 parking garages, one under MoPac and another possibly off of Morton Road.

"I think the hardest sell is going to be the parking garages just because of the cost in the parking garages. But perhaps the plan shows three of them. But perhaps we can focus on one that's more centralized, that's close to where the people want to go," said Soliz.

The plan is to collect community input through the first part of January. A proposal could be presented to the city council in May. People who spoke to FOX 7 said they want the city to tread lightly.

"I think they've made enough improvements, and they should leave it alone. Usually more is less. Parking garages and traffic in this neighborhood is already bad enough. I'd prefer bike lanes, if anything," said Cameron Sotoodeth.

Eric Gibbons hopes better access for those who are older, or who have problems walking, and alternative types of transportation will be considered.

"Listen to everybody before you start breaking ground, especially on construction. Where it's a sensitive area here. We don't want to we can't really have too much construction, do simpler things than trying to overdo things," said Gibbons

Some upgrades are already in the works

There are projects for new sidewalks and security lighting. As well as a pilot project to add parking spots on Barton Springs Rd. The idea is to reduce the roadway from 4 lanes to 2 lanes of traffic in order to provide parking spaces.