Zilker Park Vision Plan draws concerns from community members
AUSTIN, Texas - Zilker Park may see some changes, but not all community members are on board with them.
The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department is presenting a plan for input. The Zilker Park Vision Plan includes goals of sustainability, diversity, and inclusion, preserving nature, ecology and history, and improving accessibility.
"The park is experiencing a lot of visitations and it was starting to show wear and tear," Austin Parks and Recreation program manager Gregory Montes said.
The plan includes a land bridge to connect the North and South sides of Barton Springs Road, a new welcome center and relocating the Hillside Theater, and more pedestrian and bike trails, but only a slight increase in parking space on site.
Austin resident Curt Burdorf said the changes aren’t necessary. "I would rather spend our money elsewhere than making huge modifications," he said.
Burdorf has lived near Zilker Park for about 28 years. He said he has concerns about traffic congestion and parking, specifically a proposed parking garage near Azie Morton Road.
"That’s going to increase traffic on our street with Zilker Elementary being there too and it’s going to be less safe for the kids on our streets," Burdorf said.
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He also said reducing the car lanes on Barton Springs Road would be a nightmare. "We’re going to have miles of traffic around," Burdorf said.
Austin resident Karen Kreps said she swims at Barton Springs almost every day. She said she’s not excited about any of the plans.
"The main concern I have is that they’re literally proposing to privatize much of the operation of the park," Kreps said.
"It’s not owned by a private entity, Zilker Park is owned by the citizens and anybody from the city or outside the city for that matter can visit Zilker Park. We’re not trying to change Zilker Park, we’re trying to enhance it and restore," Montes said.
Montes said they’ll rely on grants, bonds, and private funding to pay for the plan. He said actual changes won’t happen for a few years.
Community members can provide feedback online through January 8, 2023.