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The Austin Mayor Kirk Watson Wire; Halting Zilker Park Vision Plan

 

The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan will not be on the August 31st City Council agenda, and there is no plan to bring it before the Austin Mayor and Council in the future.

 

I’ve written previously and spoken publicly multiple times about my concerns with the Zilker Park Vision Plan.

 

As the plan is shelved, we should recognize that really good people can often disagree. A lot of people and groups worked hard to do something big and positive for our community. And our city staffers have put a lot into this process, as well. I truly appreciate and respect their efforts.

 

In this case, I see people who share a love our home and have good motivations all agreeing that Zilker Park is special — an Austin jewel. They also agree that the park needs our care and protection, and folks from all over town deserve access to it. However, they disagree on how to achieve these important purposes.

Going Forward

My recommendation is that we cool off for a spell (I wish we could do that with the weather, too). We could all benefit from a little time and perspective. And then, we can start working together on the recommendations in the plan that have consensus.

 

On those issues where there is strong disagreement, there is general agreement that the stated goals are valid. For example, the dispute over parking arises from a desire for equitable access to people from all over the city. Where there’s disagreement is how to achieve that common goal.

 

While there’s also disagreement over a new location for the Zilker Hillside Theater, there’s little disagreement that our current theater needs help to accommodate a growing city and to have a more functional venue.

 

I believe strongly that we can — and must — meet our objectives to preserve and nurture the ecological sanctity of this place while assuring equitable access to all Austinites.

 

However, this plan wasn’t the right course and it’s time for it to be ended. I'm grateful the Interim City Manager has stopped this process.

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