BCNA opposes the proposed design for the Auditorium Shores Parkland Improvement Project because it does not consider the enormous feedback from park users to eliminate a fenced-in dog area. Additionally, the agreement between the Parks department (PARD), Austin Parks Foundation (APF) and C3 presents (sponsors of the ACL music festival) refers to the parkland at Auditorium Shores as a ‘major event venue’. This agreement was signed on November 14, 2013 and C3 requires the city to significantly decrease the off-leash area and install a fenced-in dog park, contrary to public input.
Below is the letter I sent out this evening to the Parks and Recreation Board. They will be meeting at City Hall on Tuesday evening, 6pm and I plan to present BCNA’s opposition to the design.
Dear Austin Parks & Recreation Board Members,
While Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Association (BCNA) wholeheartedly agrees that Auditorium Shores is in desperate need of turf and irrigation renovations, we remain opposed to the proposed design of the Parkland Improvement Project which severely curtails the amount of space available for off-leash dogs, one of the most popular uses of this parkland area and a use that has been protected by City ordinance for several decades.
We understand the timely nature of beginning the project while the trailhead is under construction but PARD and TBG need to be more responsive to the public feedback that questions the current “three meadow” design as being too private-event oriented and too unfriendly to public use, especially by dog owners. It is a public park, after all, and we feel the current design excludes hundreds, if not thousands, of its’ most enthusiastic “public” park users.
Additionally, the Park Land Improvement Agreement (“Contract”) between PARD, APF and C3 repeatedly refers to Auditorium Shores as a ‘major event venue’. Town Lake Metropolitan Park, as per the Bouldin Creek Neighborhood Plan and the Town Lake Master Plan, envisions the Auditorium Shores/Parkland area as a versatile public space that is available for a limited number of public/private events.
Auditorium Shores is a Major public park and a Minor venue site. It should not be the other way around. BCNA believes it is not in the best interest of our residents if this parkland is considered a Major Event venue. The current annual 25-event-day maximum is meant to ensure that Auditorium Shores keeps the identity of a Major public park while also keeping its’ balanced use intact.
BCNA is disappointed that we have not been engaged earlier during the design process. BCNA is a major stakeholder at Auditorium because Town Lake Metropolitan Park is located with Bouldin Creek’s Neighborhood Plan. We are concerned that the proposed design to segregate dogs into a fenced-in area, which is opposed by an enormous majority of public park users, directly conflicts with the FLUM designation for the area as “Park” or “Public Use”.
Furthermore, BCNA has been alerted that an agreement between PARD, APF & C3 was signed on November 14, 2013 regarding the scope of the parkland improvement project. The agreement defines the park as a “major event venue” and BCNA clearly disagrees. As a stakeholder of the park, why weren’t we notified of this agreement and given an opportunity to review it before its’ execution?
Even though I received a copy of the revised design from a Council aide on Friday, BCNA still feels the design is problematic due the continued insistence of installing fences on public parkland to segregate use. Thus, we respectfully ask the Park and Recreation Board Members to oppose the design, direct PARD to go back to the drawing table by engaging with Austin taxpayers, not C3, to create a balanced design for multiple uses by park users first and foremost, and event-attendees second.
Cyndi Collen, President, BCNA