The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan process was suspended prior to the final Austin City Council presentations.

The Zilker Park Vision Plan was a community-driven planning process to establish a guiding framework for the restoration and future development of Zilker Metropolitan Park. It is the first comprehensive planning initiative to encompass the park’s 351 acres and associated facilities. The draft Vision Plan was released on November 15 and can be reviewed here (PDF, 21 MB). The community engagement phase ended January 9, 2023.

Zilker Park Vision Plan process suspended

Despite almost three years working with the community to establish a guiding framework for Zilker Park’s restoration, the Zilker Park Vision planning process is being suspended and will not be presented to the City Council. On August 7, 2023, Council Members Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis (District 8), Ryan Alter (District 5) and Zo Qadri (District 9) issued a joint statement regarding the Zilker Park Vision Plan stating they could not support the Zilker Park Vision Plan. Additionally, Mayor Watson issued a statement on suspending current action. In response, the Parks and Recreation Department suspended further planning efforts, including removing the presentation to City Council scheduled for August 29 and 31, 2023.

We appreciate all of the community feedback we received over the years and hope together we can determine a path forward that preserves and protects Zilker Park, ensures equitable access for all who visit, and is embraced by our broader community.

Background

Zilker Metropolitan Park, located 2100 Barton Springs Road, is Austin’s oldest metropolitan park and is named after Andrew Jackson Zilker who donated parcels of land to the city starting in 1917. The park is located at the juncture of Barton Creek and Lady Bird Lake and comprises more than 350 acres of publicly owned land. A major era of park development took place in the 1930s through New Deal programs such as the Civil Works Administration and Civilian Conservation Corps. In 1997, Zilker Metropolitan Park was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the park includes many resources of historical, architectural, and archeological significance.

Today, the park serves as a hub for many recreational activities and includes major facilities and amenities including Barton Springs Pool, Zilker Botanical Garden, Austin Nature and Science Center, Zilker Clubhouse, Girl Scout Lodge, Sunshine Camp, Zilker Hillside Theater, Zilker Caretaker Lodge, Umlauf Sculpture Gardens, McBeth Recreation Center, the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, and Barton Creek Trail. The park is home to large-scale events such as the Austin City Limits Music Festival, the Trail of Lights, and ABC Kite Festival. 

Project Description

The primary goal of this planning project is to develop a visionary framework to guide the restoration and future development of Zilker Metropolitan Park and its numerous facilities and features through a robust public engagement process. The planning process will assess all aspects of the site with a comprehensive lens including but not limited to: programming, maintenance, environmental features and ecology, historical preservation and cultural resources, transportation, circulation, and parking, as well as business operations and management. The vision plan will be used as a roadmap for the park’s future by providing recommendations and implementation strategies that facilitate execution of phased improvements and development. The vision plan will help garner support and funding for future phases through public and private partnerships, operational strategies, revenue generation, and financial sustainability. See the Guiding Principles and Goals to understand how the project is moving forward.

Site Analysis and Needs Assessment

Guiding Principles and Goals

The draft guiding principles and goals below were a part of the survey following meeting #1. Click here (PDF) to view section from meeting presentation.

Nature and Ecology

The plan should treat the Park as an ecological treasure. Recognize the park’s relation to water and explore opportunities for interaction with the lake without compromising environmental integrity.

Goals:
  • Protect, enhance, and restore land and waterscapes.
  • Establish an interpretive program to educate visitors, especially youth, about the park’s sensitive features. Public stewardship should be developed as part of the interpretive program.
  • Champion best practices in green design, planning and land management.
  • Ensure safe and sustainable access to the water including entry to Lady Bird Lake and protection of Barton Creek.
  • Protect Zilker’s natural resources for generations to come.
  • Support and rehabilitate native plants and species.
History and Culture

The park is a metropolitan park which has a regional draw and focus. The plan should treat the Park’s historic and cultural resources as a valued legacy to be celebrated for future generations.

Goals:
  • Honor and respect the Park’s historic and cultural resources, and should integrate them into the future life of the park.
  • Provide a successful balance between historic preservation and current/future needs.
  • Tell the stories of the people and the history of the park to better enrich the visitor experience.
  • Create opportunities for local artists and art to be a part of park spaces. These opportunities may include music, performance, and temporary exhibits.
  • Celebrate the stories of the people that lived on the land throughout history, and bring to light those stories that are not often heard.
  • Establish and integrate education to convey cultural and historic aspects of the park.
Equity, Diversity and Inclusion

Zilker Park should serve the entire community of Austin. The plan should align programs with community interest from all communities of Austin.

Goals:
  • The park should be welcoming to all individuals, small groups and able to accommodate large groups.
  • The Plan should support equitable access, with special focus on:
    • Safety
    • Accessibility
    • Diverse events and programming
    • Connectivity
  • Support new and enhance existing learning opportunities within the park.
  • Encourage ethnic, cultural, and economic inclusion in the park.
Accessibility

The plan should knit the segmented pieces of the park together, ensuring a more accessible, safe and connected park– north and south sides of Barton Springs Road, north and south shores of Lady Bird Lake, east and west sides of Barton Creek, east and west sides of MoPac. The park is a place you can arrive to by multiple travel options.

Goals:
  • Ensure there are multiple safe, enjoyable, and convenient modes of transportation to access the park.
  • Improve non-automobile mode access to, from, and within the park, in support of the ambitious mode split and climate goals within Austin City policy (ASMP, Climate Action Plan).
  • Improve pedestrian, bicycle and vehicular circulation.
  • Examine the surrounding trail network.
  • Improve the wayfinding to and from different park destinations. 
  • Use transportation assets efficiently, so as to preserve park space for ecological and recreation systems.
  • Collaborate with partners such as CapMetro and TxDoT to explore improving transportation routes.
  • Achieve high level of ADA accessibility within the park.
Sustainability

The plan should champion sustainability best-practices for the Park. Zilker Park should serve as an example of sustainability, protecting and enhancing our natural spaces and assets.

Goals:
  • Implement adaptive management strategies to create a resilient landscape in the face of climate change and dynamic user needs.
  • As an urban park, Zilker should achieve balance between metropolitan use and ecological/environmental.
  • Balance revenue needs with operations and maintenance of the park.
  • Provide equitable opportunities for access to the park and the enjoyment of amenities. Explore public/private partnerships that extend the reach of the Parks Department to accommodate new opportunities.
  • Sustain the implementation and maintenance of the park and utilize the support of volunteers.

Anticipated Schedule

On August 27, 2020, Austin City Council authorized the Parks and Recreation Department to proceed with negotiations and execution of a contract with the staff-recommended consulting firm, Design Workshop, for the Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan. The planning process started in November 2020 with an official kick-off on February 1, 2021 and is anticipated to continue into 2023. View detailed schedule here (PDF, updated November 15, 2022).

Schedule of Zilker Vision Plan highlighting meetings and surveys and next steps

Remaining Anticipated Schedule

  • Spring to Summer 2023: Review, Boards, Commissions, City Council, Adopt Plan

Draft Vision Plan

Image of updated concept plan for Zilker Park Vision Plan

Draft Vision Plan (PDF, 21 MB) (updated May 11, 2023)

View overview of Draft Vision Plan (26 MB) (updated February 2023)

Interpretive Storylines

As part of the vision planning process, the plan aims to give interpretive guidance for future stories to be told at the park. View the excerpt from the draft plan here (PDF). You can also read about each storyline below.

Storyline 1: Barton Springs Has Been a Constant, but Evolving, Destination for Humans for at Least 10,000 Years.

Indigenous occupation: Archeological sites reveal that Indigenous people camped, hunted, fished, and quarried rock here for at least 9,000-10,000 years before European colonizers arrived. The Vara Daniels site, which lies beneath the Great Lawn and rugby fields, is one of the “largest deeply stratified sites known in Texas.” Today, it serves as evidence of Indigenous people’s long-term presence on this land, and presents an opportunity for contemporary Austinites to learn more about the generations of Native people who preceded them here.

Euro-American settlement and business enterprises: Beginning in the 1830s, Euro-American settlers brought their agricultural traditions and commercial/industrial enterprises to this landscape. Within the present-day park boundaries, men including William Barton, Ashford B. McGill, and Dr. Barclay Townsend farmed and ranched; Michel Paggi, Jacob Stern, and the Rabb family all operated mills on the creek; Michael Butler mined clay for his brickworks; and Andrew J. Zilker used the spring water for his icemaking business and pasture for the horses that pulled his delivery wagons. While Barton Springs was already a popular swimming destination by the mid-1800s, Paggi built a dam on Barton Creek in the 1870s to create a swimming hole and a bathhouse to accommodate swimmers.

Park origins and development: Through a series of land deals between 1917 and 1934, Andrew J. Zilker transferred three parcels of land that would become Zilker Park to the City of Austin. However, Zilker did not profit from these transactions; rather, he specified that the proceeds from the first two deals be placed in a trust for Austin High School, and gifted the third parcel of land outright. The subsequent development of Barton Springs and the surrounding land reflected popular ideas about recreation at the time (active recreational facilities in a naturalistic environment). Under the City of Austin and various New Deal institutions, the park’s naturalistic features and recreational facilities were expanded and remnants of its commercial and industrial past were removed. As the city grew and automobile ownership became more accessible, the park became a popular destination for white, middle class Austinites.

Modern gathering space: Today, Zilker Park is a blend of active recreational facilities (e.g., Barton Springs, hiking trails) and gathering spaces for events large and small, public and private (e.g., Zilker Clubhouse, Girl Scout Cabin, picnic tables for private gatherings; large open spaces for public events like ACL, Blues on the Green, the Zilker Kite Festival and Austin Trail of Lights). Austinites have also built a culture of informal gatherings at sites throughout the park, such as the Monkey Tree on Azie Morton Road.

Storyline 2: Zilker Park’s Extant Built Environment Tells Part of The Story of Austin’s Settlement, Development, and Evolving Identity.

Zilker Park’s built environment reveals clues to some aspects of Austin’s history:

  • Settlement and Early Industry: The old Rabb homesite and the location of the Paggi grist and ice mill (at Sunken Garden/Old Mill Spring) both evoke Austin’s early industrial period and speak to how crucial access to flowing water was for many people and industries.
  • Expansion: As Austin’s population expanded, it outgrew some of Zilker Park’s facilities. One of these was the Barton Springs Bathhouse. Completed in 1947, architects Delmar Groos and Dan Driscoll designed the new bathhouse with a Streamline Moderne aesthetic. This style strayed from the rustic-style park buildings constructed during the 1930s, but both approaches had something in common: they took inspiration from Zilker Park’s landscape. The bathhouse was sited around the location’s large trees, and the low-slung building took inspiration from the horizontal limestone terraces found throughout the park.

Zilker Park by Austinites for Austinites: Zilker Park’s design was led by two local men: engineer Frederick A. Dale and architect Charles H. Page. Other Austinites were also involved in its design and construction: Hugo Kuehne designed the Caretaker’s Cottage and the first Barton Springs bathhouse; plants for the Rock Garden came from the home garden of Dr. T.S. Painter on W. 33rd St.; young architect Bubi Jessen designed the iconic entry columns; materials and labor for custom light fixtures were donated by Gage Brothers, Weigel Iron Works, and Fox and Schmidt; and the Austin Police Department helped fund and build the shooting range.

Zilker Park and the New Deal: Many of Zilker Park’s most iconic features were developed under various public works programs during the Great Depression.

  • Funding: Most of the Texas parks projects that were developed during this time were intended to be state parks. Zilker Park was an exception, and it received funding thanks, in part, to Congressman James P. “Buck” Buchanan, who represented Austin in the House of Representatives and was able to use his position on the House Appropriations Committee to fund work in his district.
  • Design: The park was developed under various New Deal programs, and its design was especially influenced by the National Park Service’s emphasis on highlighting the natural topography and flora, and constructing rustic-style buildings using natural materials.
  • Construction: In 1933, Charles Page secured funding from the Civil Works Administration (CWA) to build the park, including the stone entrance columns and the beloved Zilker Clubhouse, both of which still stand today. In 1934, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Company 1814 designed and built roads, cleared land, and constructed park facilities (picnic tables, barbecue pits, and lighting). The National Youth Administration (NYA) repaired flood damage in 1935-1936 and built the Sunken Gardens in the late 1930s, and the Works Progress Administration (WPA) helped improve the park’s lily pond. Without this substantial federal investment, Zilker Park would look very different today.
Storyline 3: Zilker Park Has a Long History as a Contested Landscape.

White settlement and white supremacy at Barton Springs:

  • Enslavement of African Americans. When William Barton settled on the banks of Spring Creek (known today as Barton Creek) around 1837, he brought his wife, children, and up to 30 African Americans he enslaved with him. The Bartons ranched cattle here. The African American men and women whom Barton enslaved likely worked in the Barton Family’s ranching and domestic activities, increasing the Bartons’ wealth through their uncompensated labor.
  • Settlement on Indigenous lands. As a white settler in Indigenous people’s traditional homelands, William Barton was in frequent conflict with Comanches who claimed the land as their territory.

Exclusion of non-white and lower income citizens: When the City of Austin took ownership of Zilker Park in 1917, it instituted fee-based access, which solidified the pool as the domain of the white middle class. The implementation of the 1928 Master Plan, and specifically its recommendation for segregated facilities for Black citizens, codified this racial division. It wasn’t until Black activists, such as Joan Means Khabele, Bertha Means, V. Saundra Kirk, and Willie Mae Kirk, fought to integrate Barton Springs that the park became officially accessible to Black Austinites. Nevertheless, racial disparities persisted: many Black community members continued to feel unwelcome in the park and at the pool well after the facilities were officially desegregated.

Community organizing and activism: Since the late 1960s, community members and grassroots activist organizations, including the Zilker Park Posse, Save Barton Creek Association, Save Our Springs Alliance, and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, have challenged development plans that would negatively impact the springs and the park (e.g., development in the Barton Creek watershed, construction of MoPac Expressway in the park). They have also supported scientific research and education and advocated for better regulations to protect and preserve Barton Springs, Barton Creek, and Zilker Park.

Storyline 4: The Ebb and Flow of Water Indelibly Shapes the Ecology of Zilker Park.

Water as it shapes the landscape: The creeks and river create riparian habitat where water-loving plants thrive, wildlife is drawn to the fresh water, and resident bird populations seek out prime nesting and feeding locations. In the western half of the park, which is more characteristic of the Edwards Plateau, oak-juniper woodlands grow in shallow soils that formed atop limestone rock. Here, rainwater flows down through the limestone and into the Edwards Aquifer far beneath. The plants that grow in this area are adapted to the faster draining soils.

Springs as habitat: The springs in the park and the Edwards Aquifer beneath it support the endangered Barton Springs and Austin Blind Salamanders. As the park was developed and new buildings and features were constructed, the springs’ flow was disturbed and the salamanders’ populations decreased. Through careful planning, habitat restoration, and limited development, the salamander populations in Zilker Park are growing.

Storyline 5: Zilker Park Offers Austinites the Opportunity To Experience Great Biodiversity in a Relatively Small Area.

Ecotone: Zilker Park provides habitat for more than 600 plant and animal species. It straddles the Edwards Plateau and Blackland Prairie ecoregions and blends characteristics of both. Within the park’s 351 acres, Austinites can spot armadillos while hiking through oak-juniper woodlands typical of the Texas Hill Country, paddle along shoreline communities of bald cypress trees and snapping turtles, and wade in a natural pool fed by the same springs that support two species of endangered salamander.

Biodiversity: At least 224 species of birds – more than 85% of the wildlife species that call the park home – can be found in Zilker Park. They include a diverse array of species drawn to the varied habitats that make up the park. Migratory songbirds stop to rest in the park on their way to their northern breeding grounds, and egrets and herons hunt along the banks of the river and in the creeks.

Community Engagement

As a regional park that draws people from all over the Austin area and beyond, the community engagement process continues to connect with community members throughout Austin and visitors to the park. The engagement process focuses efforts throughout the 10 City Council Districts of Austin, relying on digital engagement to ensure safety during the pandemic but also providing in-person opportunities in accordance with Austin Public Health guidelines. Community engagement began in November 2020 with the initial community survey. You can explore the community engagement plan here (PDF). In addition, the Parks and Recreation Department shared its methodology for reviewing and incorporating community input into the planning process: Memorandum to PARB (PDF), December 22, 2022. 

The Community Engagement period ended on January 9, 2023. You can review information from all of the community engagement opportunities over the past 2 years below.

Review the Draft Zilker Park Vision Plan 

Commenting period ended January 9, 2023. The planning team reviewed all comments received. Below is the updated draft Vision Plan

Boards and Commissions Schedule

Below are anticipated schedule for presentations to Boards and Commission and other associated entities. This schedule is subject to change and will be updated when changes happen.

Zilker Metropolitan Park is a beloved City of Austin treasure enjoyed by generations of Austinites. We developed the vision plan because the growth in our community is placing critical stress on the park and its future.

Despite almost three years working with the community to establish a guiding framework for Zilker Park’s restoration, the Zilker Park Vision planning process is being suspended and will not be presented to the City Council. We appreciate the community feedback we received over the years and hope together we can determine a path forward that preserves and protects Zilker Park, ensures equitable access for all who visit, and is embraced by our broader community.

Previous Engagement Meetings and Surveys

Zilker Community Survey #1: View Survey Results (Survey closed June 4, 2021)

Zilker Park Vision Plan Community Meeting #1
Tuesday, June 29, 2021, 6 p.m. (131 attendees)

Community Survey #2 with Responses from Meeting: View Results (PDF, 14 MB)

Zilker Park Vision Plan Community Meeting #2
Tuesday, August 10, 2021, 6 p.m. (138 attendees)

Community Survey #3 (closed October 4, 2021): Summary (PDF) | Full Results (PDF, 32 MB)

Community Meeting #3: Design Alternatives
Tuesday, October 19, 2021, 6 p.m. (127 attendees)

Community Survey #4 (closed January 10, 2022): View Results

Community Meeting #4: Plan Concepts
February 15, 2022, 6 to 7:30 p.m.
RecordingPresentation (PDF, 28 MB) | Meeting Q&A (PDF) | Grabacion de junta

Community Survey #5 (closed April 11, 2022): View Results

  • Comments from Pop-ups (March 11 to April 9, 2022): View Comments

Community Meeting #5

Virtual Meeting
Wednesday, December 7, 6 p.m.

Community Survey #6: Draft Vision Plan Feedback

In-Person Open House
Saturday, December 10,10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
McBeth Recreation Center
2401 Columbus Dr., Austin, TX 78746 

Full Data Sets from Previous Meetings and Surveys

The information provided below contains the full data sets with personally identifiable information redacted. Each file can be downloaded in .csv format. 

Pop-up Series 1: June 30 through August 8, 2021

As a metropolitan park that serves the entire city and region, it is important to make sure all parts of the city are informed about and can connect to the Zilker Park Vision Plan. These Pop-ups are a way that the project team can go to all 10 City Council Districts of Austin as well as Zilker Park and meet community members where they are. Each pop-up allowed community members to connect with project team members to get additional information and ask in-depth questions. The following pop-ups were scheduled as part of Pop-Up Series #1:

  • District 1: Givens Park: Saturday, July 3, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • District 2: Dittmar Pool: Sunday, July 18, noon to 3 p.m.
  • District 3:Govalle Pool: Saturday, July 17, noon to 3 p.m.
  • District 4: Bartholomew Pool: Sunday, July 11, noon to 3 p.m.
  • District 5: Garrison Pool: Saturday, July 10, noon to 3 p.m.
  • District 6: Northwest Family YMCA: Monday, July 19, 7 to 10 a.m.
  • District 7: Balcones Neighborhood Pool: Sunday, July 25, noon to 3 p.m.
  • District 8: Southwest Family Y: Monday, July 26, 7 to 10 a.m.
  • District 9: Shipe Neighborhood Pool: Saturday, July 24, noon to 3 p.m.
  • District 10: Ramsey Neighborhood Park (D10): Saturday, July 31, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m
  • Zilker Park: Barton Springs Pool: Friday, July 16, 4 to 7 p.m.

In addition, PARD hosted several other opportunities by connecting to community members at additional events. These pop-ups included:

Date District Location Date
7/27/2021 8 Zilker Park Great Lawn 7/27/2021
7/27/2021 3 Pan American Park 7/27/2021
7/28/2021 8 Zilker Park Great Lawn 7/28/2021
8/1/2021 8 Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park 8/1/2021
8/6/2021 1 Mt. Zion Baptist Church 8/6/2021
8/7/2021 7 Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park 8/7/2021
8/7/2021 3 Oak Springs School Park 8/7/2021
8/8/2021 9 Republic Square 8/8/2021
Zilker Park Community Ambassadors: July through September 2021

From July through September 2021, two PARD Community Ambassadors were selected to partner with community members to prioritize the advancement of racial equity in Zilker Park planning. The Ambassadors were trained in community engagement practices, history of Austin, and organizing and engaging community around the Zilker Park Vision Plan.

Ambassadors were tasked with meaningfully engaging with the following special stakeholders:

  • Black, Indigenous, people of color
  • Youth
  • LGBTQIA+ communities
  • Immigrant, migrant, and/or refugee communities
  • Union workers
  • People with disabilities
  • Low-income communities
  • People experiencing homelessness

Each Ambassador met with at least 10 community members to have significant conversations around the following themes:

  • Do you go to Zilker? Why or why not?
  • What events or programming would draw you to Zilker?
  • How do we plan for a future Zilker Park that is more inclusive for people who have been traditionally left out?

View the combined final reports here (PDF).

Pop-Up Series 2: August 10 through October 4, 2021

Following Community Meeting #2, PARD continued to reach out to community members to promote the Zilker Park Vision Plan and Community Survey #3, especially to underrepresented community members. Additional outreach and pop-ups included the following:

Date District Location
8/16/2021 7 Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
8/23/2021 8 Zilker Park
8/24/2021 4 Chinatown Center
8/24/2021 1 East Communities YMCA
8/25/2021 9 UT Austin
8/26/2021 4 North Lamar, Silkcut China town
8/26/2021 9 ESB-MACC
8/26/2021 1 Heritage Pointe Apartments
8/26/2021 1 Eastside Early College Prep High School
8/27/2021 1 Carver Museum and Cultural Center
8/30/2021 3 Roy G. Guerrero Metropolitan Park
8/31/2021 4 Gus Garcia Recreation Center
9/1/2021 8 Zilker Park
9/2/2021 7 Walnut Creek Metropolitan Park
9/3/2021 8 Zilker Park
9/4/2021 9 Hoover's Restaurant on Manor Road
9/7/2021 1 Copperfield Neighborhood Park
9/8/2021 8 Zilker Park
9/8/2021 1 East Communities YMCA
9/8/2021 1 St. James Baptist Church
9/8/2021 1 Greater Mount Zion Baptist Church
9/7/2021 1 Givens District Park
9/8/2021 2 Dittmar Recreation Center
9/8/2021 1 Givens District Park
9/9/2021 2 Dove Springs Recreation Center
9/10/2021 1 Austin Urban League Office
9/10/2021 3 Montopolis Recreation Center
9/10/2021 1 Palomino Coffee
9/18/2021 1 AARC
9/21/2021 8 UT Austin
9/24/2021 8 Austin Zoo
9/25/2021 6 Springwoods Neighborhood Park
9/25/2021 3 Civitan Neighborhood Park
9/29/2021 3 Fiesta Gardens Degollado Pavilion
Pop-up Series 3: October 25, 2021 through January 9, 2022

As a metropolitan park that serves the entire city and region, it is important to make sure all parts of the city are informed about and can connect to the Zilker Park Vision Plan. The second round of Pop-ups continued to reach out to all 10 City Council Districts of Austin as well as Zilker Park and meet community members where they are. Each pop-up allowed community members to connect with project team members to get additional information and ask in-depth questions. The following pop-ups were scheduled as part of Pop-Up Series #2:

Zilker Park: Outside Barton Springs Pool north entrance, near Zilker Cafe: Monday, October 25, 4 p.m.

  • District 1: Austin Country Flea Market: Sunday, November 14, 10 a.m.
  • District 2: Dove Springs Recreation Center: Tuesday, October 26, 5 p.m.
  • District 3: South Austin Recreation Center: Friday, November 19, 5 p.m.
  • District 4: COA/North Austin YMCA: Saturday, October 30, 10 a.m.
  • District 5: Manchaca Road Branch, Austin Public Library: Saturday, November 13, Noon
  • District 6: H Mart: Sunday, November 7, Noon
  • District 7: North Village Branch, Austin Public Library: Friday, November 5, 3 p.m.
  • District 8: Circle C Ranch Metropolitan Park: Saturday, November 13, 9 a.m.
  • District 9: Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center: Monday, November 1, 5 p.m.
  • District 10: Old Quarry Branch, Austin Public Library: Monday, November 15, 3 p.m.
  • Zilker Park: Zilker Holiday Tree: Sunday, November 28, 6 p.m.

In addition, PARD continues to provide other opportunities by connecting to community members at additional events. The following additional in-person outreach and pop-ups have taken place:

Date District Location Event
11/17/2021 4 Gus Garcia Recreation Center EMS Resource Fair
11/17/2021 1 Turner-Roberts Recreation Center Open House Meeting
11/18/2021 1 Turner-Roberts Recreation Center Open House Meeting
11/20/2021 1 Eastlink Trail: Boggy Creek Trail Pillars on Eastlink Trail 
12/4/2021 3 Krieg Field LGBTQIA+ Resource Fair
12/10/2021 3 Fiesta Gardens Degollado Pavilion PARD Staff Luncheon
12/12/2021 9 Republic Square Holiday Market with Downtown Alliance & Frida Friday
12/14/2021 9 Meadowbrook Apartments (HACA) Residents Council Meeting
12/14/2021 3 Bouldin Oaks (HACA) Residents Council Meeting
12/15/2021 9 ESB-MACC Ballet Folklorico Posada
12/15/2021 1 AARC AARC Symphony
12/16/2021 7 Northwest Recreation Center Teen Afterschool Program
12/18/2021 3 Pan-American "A.B. Cantu" Recreation Center Holiday Drive-Through
12/29/2021 8 Zilker Park Playscape and Hike-and-Bike Trail  
12/29/2021 1 George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center Kwanzaa Celebration and Ujima Marketplace
Pop-up Series 4: February 17 to April 9, 2022

This series of pop-ups, sharing the 3 plan concepts for the Zilker Park Vision Plan, took place between March 11 and April 9, 2022. The locations included sites in City Council District 1 (Givens Recreation Center, Asian American Resource Center), District 2 (Dittmar Recreation Center), District 3 (Mendez Recreation Center, Montopolis Recreation and Community Center), District 4 (Gus Garcia Recreation Center), and Zilker Park (Kite Fest and event honoring Joan Means Khabele at Barton Springs Pool). View the comments posted on the boards here (PDF). Also, view the tallies of dots posted next to preferred amenities here (PDF).

Boards were posted at the following locations for community members to post dots on preferred amenities:

  • Montopolis Recreation and Community Center (District 3): March 11 to 31, 2022
  • Mendez Recreation Center (District 3): March 11 to 16, 2022
  • Dittmar Recreation Center (District 2): March 11 to 16, 2022
  • Givens Recreation Center (District 1): March 16 to 30, 2022
  • Gus Garcia Recreation Center (District 4): March 16 to 21, 2022

Pop-ups with PARD staff occurred at the following dates and locations:

Name of Engagement District Date Number of participants
Zilker outreach Zilker 2/17/2022 40
Carver Museum Black History Month Block Party 1 2/19/2022 50
Housing Authority for the City of Austin (Public Housing) City Wide meeting with Staff   3/8/2022 24
Elisabet Ney Nature Day Museum 9 3/12/2022 25
Mendez Recreation Center 3 3/14/2022 20
Bartholomew District Park 4 3/16/2022 6
Mueller Park 9 3/16/2022 10
Give a Bark About Your Park (hosted by UT Student Services) and Great Lawn outreach Zilker 3/16/2022 40
Gus Garcia Recreation Center 4 3/18/2022 10
Zilker Park Vision Plan outreach at Bartholomew Park and Mueller Lake Park (informal pop-up/outreach) 4, 9 3/18/2022 25
Carver Museum Book Club 1 3/18/2022 6
Montopolis Recreation Center 3 3/21/2022 5
Dittmar Recreation Center 2 3/22/2022 7
Gus Garcia Recreation Center 4 3/23/2022 10
Goodrich Resident Council Meeting 5 3/24/2022 10
South Properties (HACA) 3, 5 3/24/2022 7
Carver Museum Vendor Fair and Carver Genealogy Center 1 3/26/2022 20
Asian American Resource Center 1 3/29/2022 45
ABC Kite Fest Zilker 4/3/2022 150
IMOM Program the Women of HACA (Santa Maria Village Apartments) 4 4/5/2022 32
Ceremonial Moment of Silence & Splash Honoring Joan Means Khabele (Desegregating Barton Springs Pool) Zilker 4/9/2022 75
Pop-Up Series 5: November 15, 2022 through January 8, 2023

After the release of the draft Zilker Park Vision Plan on November 15, the Parks and Recreation Department went to all 10 districts to raise awareness and get feedback on the vision plan. Below are the 21 pop-ups that were held:

District Pop-Up Date
1 AARC Phase 2 Reveal Community Meeting November 17, 2022
1 Carver Museum Voices of Evergreen November 29, 2022
1 Equity Action Team Meeting December 3, 2022
1 Conley-Guerrero Senior Activity Center December 14, 2022
2 Southeast Branch Library December 9, 2022
2 Dittmar Recreation Center December 10, 2022
2 Armadillo Neighborhood Park Open House December 17, 2022
3 Montopolis Recreation and Community Center December 3, 2022
3 South Austin Recreation Center December 9, 2022
3 Willie Mae Kirk Branch Library December 17, 2022
4 Gus Garcia Recreation Center November 19, 2022
4 COA/North YMCA January 6, 2023
5 South Austin Senior Activity Center December 13, 2022
6 Spicewood Springs Branch Library January 7, 2023
7 Balcones District Park December 4, 2022
8 Circle C Metropolitan Park November 26, 2022
8 Oak Hill Hampton Branch Library December 12, 2022
9 Adams-Hemphill Park Open House December 3, 2022
10 Old Quarry Branch Library December 17, 2022
Zilker Zilker Tree Lighting November 27, 2022
Zilker Trail of Lights at Zilker Tree December 16, 2023
Small Group Discussions: Round 1

Small Group Discussions are small-scale, focused conversations around particular topics or subjects. After the series of discussions are completed, the meeting recordings were posted below with links to YouTube. If information was provided in the meeting chat, that information has also been provided.

Small Group Discussion presentation (PDF)

  • PARD Operations: April 29, 2021, noon (view | chat)
  • Environment-Water Issues: May 3, 2021, noon (view)
  • Events (Large): May 3, 2021, noon (view)
  • Events (Small): May 4, 2021, 5 p.m. (view)
  • Neighbors I: May 5, 2021, 5 p.m. (view)
  • History-Culture-Tourism: May 6, 2021, 5 p.m. (view)
  • Area Businesses and Concessionaires: May 10, 2021, noon (view)
  • Exploring Equity and Inclusion: May 10, 2021, 5 p.m. (view)
  • Parkners and Nonprofits: May 11, 2021, noon (view | chat)
  • Higher Education Partners: May 12, 2021, noon (view)
  • Recreation: May 12, 2021, 5 p.m. (view)
  • K-12 Schools and Youth Partners: May 13, 2021, 11:30 a.m. (view | chat)
  • Circulation-Connectivity-Transportation: May 14, 2021 noon (view | chat)
  • Neighbors II: May 18, 2021, 5 p.m. (view)
  • Exploring Equity and Inclusion 2: May 27, 2021 noon (view | chat)
  • Texas School for the Deaf: June 28, 2021, 3:30 p.m. (view)
Parks and Recreation Board Presentations and PARB Zilker Park Vision Plan Working Group

A working group was established by the Parks and Recreation Board. Below are recordings of meetings as they occur.

The Zilker Park Vision Plan team also presented to the Parks and Recreation Board in the following meetings prior to the approval of the Draft Vision Plan.

Technical Advisory Group

The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) is comprised of City of Austin representatives from various departments who provide technical expertise on different elements and concerns in and around Zilker Metropolitan Park. The members of the TAG ensure their department's goals, policies, plans, and constraints are understood in relation to Zilker and are communicated with the project team. Meetings will be recorded and posted for review by community Members.

View TAG members (PDF, updated July 2021)

  • TAG Meeting #1, March 3, 2021 (view)
  • TAG Meeting #2, May 5, 2021 (view)
  • TAG Meeting #3, July 7, 2021 (view | chat)
  • TAG Meeting #4, August 18, 2021 (view | chat)
  • TAG Meeting #5, October 27, 2021 (view recording)
  • TAG Meeting #6, February 23, 2022 (view | chat)
  • TAG Meeting #7, October 18, 2022 (view)
Additional Meetings and Information with Special Interest Groups

In addition to the meetings above, the following meetings have been recorded and posted.

  • Meeting with Zilker Park partners, January 14, 2022 (view | chat)
  • Meeting with leaders of neighborhood associations near Zilker, February 11, 2022 (view | chat)
  • Meeting with Zilker Collective, March 24, 2022 (view)
  • Meeting with Black Women Who Kayak, March 30, 2022 (view)
  • Meeting with Boys and Girls Club of Austin, April 14, 2022
  • Meeting with RISE School, May 2, 2022 (view)
  • Eco Uplift Small Group Discussion 1, June 29, 2022 (view)
  • Eco Uplift Small Group Discussion 2, June 30, 2022 (view)
  • Meeting with Zilker Collective, November 28, 2022 (view)
  • Meeting with Zilker Collective Impact Working Group, January 4, 2023 (view | chat)

Meetings with Rewild Zilker Representatives

The planning team has been committed to connecting to all key stakeholders and experts throughout the process. The Rewild Zilker group is sponsored by SOS Alliance and Zilker Neighborhood Association with members from Bouldin Creek N.A., Barton Hills N.A., Sierra Club, Austin Master Naturalists, Safe Bike Austin (several members wearing multiple hats). The Rewild Zilker group and its members have had significant influence on the plan and have been involved throughout the process. The planning team has met with representatives of this group or its members more than any other group, including the meetings below:

ZPVP Meetings with Rewild Zilker representatives:

  • May 3, 2021: Small Group Discussion Round 1 "Environment-Water Issues" included representative from SOS/ZNA/Rewild; Note: several organizations invited, few attended.
  • May 18, 2021: Small Group Discussion Round 1 "Neighbors II" included representatives from ZNA, Barton Hills N.A., Bouldin Creek N.A.; Note: several adjacent neighborhood organizations invited, one other attended (City of Rollingwood)
  • May 21, 2021: Coffee meeting included representatives from SOS, Rewild, ZNA, Kurt Culbertson and Claire Hempel (Design Workshop)
  • November 16, 2021: Zilker Vision Plan and Rewilding Report Discussion included representatives from ZNA/Rewild Zilker, Ana Gonzales and Ingrid Karklins (WPD), Amanda Ross and Greg Montes (PARD)
  • February 11, 2022: Meeting with leaders of neighborhood associations near Zilker included representatives from ZNA, Sierra Club, Rewild Zilker, Barton Hills N.A., SOS Alliance
  • December 20, 2022: Rewild Zilker Meeting with representatives from ZNA, SOS, Design Workshop, Siglo, and PARD
  • January 9, 2023: Zilker Site Visit with representative from ZNA, Rewild Zilker SOS Alliance, and Jonathan Ogren (Siglo)
  • May 31, 2023: Meeting with SOS Alliance representative Bobby Levinski and Sierra Club representative Roy Whaley with PARD Director Kimberly McNeeley to discuss primary concerns of draft plan.
  • September 27, 2023: Rewild representatives Robin Rather, Tanya Payne, Ana Aguirre and Mark May met with PARD Director Kimberly McNeeley and PARD staff members Ricardo Soliz and Justin Schneider. Also present were PARD guests Heidi Anderson of the Trail Conservancy, Councilmember Ryan Alter and his staff Ben Leffler along with PARB Chair, Pedro Villalobos. (notes, PDF)

These groups were also represented at each community meeting and were able to provide input during those events. Additional emails have also been exchanged throughout the process. 

Meetings with C3 Presents (ACL Music Festival organization)

As an existing stakeholder in the park, the planning team has met with C3 Presents and other organizations with events in Zilker, primarily for information gathering, understanding the footprint they use and how park management occurs during the events, including external and internal shuttles. The planning team has not attempted to hide any of these meetings, and they are now added on the webpage. The meetings are listed below.

  • May 3, 2021: Small Group Discussion "Large Events" included representatives from C3 Presents, Trail of Lights Foundation (TOL) and Kite Festival Foundation; Note: Zilker Relays and Blues on the Green representatives invited and did not attend.
  • January 7, 2022: Events meeting with C3 Presents, TOL, Kite Festival
  • February 7, 2022: Events follow-up with C3 Presents, TOL, Kite Festival
  • March 7, 2022: C3 Presents with PARD Special Events Office
  • September 15, 2022: C3 Presents at their office

Meetings focused on Equity and Inclusion

  • Equity and Inclusion at Zilker, March 1, 2022 (notes, PDF)
  • Interpreting the Park through an Equity Lens, March 23, 2022 (view)

Interviews about Zilker Park Vision Plan

  • KAZI Interview, March 23, 2022 (listen)
  • Austin Parks Foundation Podcast
    • Part 1, December 14, 2021 (listen)
    • Part 2, April 8, 2022 (listen)
Public Information Requests and Responses

As of October 19, 2023, the Parks and Recreation Department has received the following public information requests connected directly to the Zilker Park Vision Plan process.

PIR Number Date Topic Response (PDF)
C130959 April 2022 Impervious Cover Response
C149388 September 2022 ATD TxDoT CTRMA Meeting Response
C167550 February 2023 Electronic Copies of Geographic Locations: Some files requested were considered under "trade secret" exceptions. Design Workshop offered to release these files if Waiver was signed. Requestor refused to sign waiver. Attorney General ruling is also attached.

GIS Files (ZIP)

Park Info & Maps (ZIP)

Design Workshop Waiver
Attorney General Ruling

C171327 March 2023 Draft Vision Plan Criteria Response
C175156 March 2023 Correspondence with Office of Sustainability Response
C178534 April 2023 Electronic Copies of Contracts Response
C186926 July 2023 Analyses, Calculations, Referenced Documents Response
C188426 July 2023 Attendees, Notes, Emails, Recordings of meetings with C3 Presents Response
C192329 August 2023 Carbon Sequestration Data Response
C192381 August 2023 Benefits and Cost Relation Response
C195761 September 2023 Dimensions of Parking Garage Response
C195765 September 2023 Lou Neff Road Response
C203635 November 2023 Documents that mention traffic, parking study Response
C204722 December 2023 Information about funding and total cost for vision plan Response
C206132 December 2023 Request for copy of Nelson Nygaard Report Response

All responses listed above have been completed with responses sent to requestor.

 Plan Concepts

Below are the 3 Plan Concepts that community input was gathered on to create the draft Vision Plan. You can still review each concept. Click on the image of concept to view a PDF of the concept. To view a PDF with each concept, view the Comparisons PDF here (22 MB).

Concept A: Stitch

Zilker Outline with stitches across it

Concept B: Edges

Zilker Outline for regenerate plan concept

Concept C: Regenerate

Zilker Outline for regenerate plan concept

Funding and Resources

Funding for this planning process is a result of the 2012 General Obligation Bond that was approved by City of Austin voters in November 2012.

Consultant Team

The Design Workshop, Inc. was selected as the prime consultant for the Zilker Park Vision Plan.

Contact Information

For more information, email the Zilker Vision project team or call (512) 974-9458.

Zilker Park Gate welcoming visitors on Barton Springs Road