The Holly Shores/Edward Rendon Sr. Park at Festival Beach Vision Plan was approved by City Council on August 28, 2014. Improvements to the park based on the vision plan continue to be phased in. District 3
In September 2009, City Council passed Resolution 20090924‐068 which reallocated $550,000 in funds from the Holly Good Neighbor Program to develop a Vision Plan for Festival Beach, Fiesta Gardens, and the Holly Power Plant Site Park. The Vision Plan includes approximately nine acres of dedicated parkland from the Holly Power Plant Site and approximately 90 acres of existing parkland along the north shore of Lady Bird Lake from I‐35 east to Pleasant Valley Road and south of Canterbury Street. City Council approved the Holly Shores/Edward Rendon Sr. Park at Festival Beach Vision Plan (PDF, 24 MB) on August 28, 2014, and directed the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to prioritize restrooms, sidewalks, and ADA accessibility compliance for the first phase of implementing improvements.
The map below highlights the study area. The improvements identified include the renovation or replacement of restrooms, the addition of accessible picnic areas and sidewalks, the relocation of fencing around the event areas, and parkland improvements at the decommissioned Holly Power Plant. PARD has started working on additional projects within the Vision Plan area. These include the Nash Hernandez Building, Velasquez Plaza, Holly Warehouses, Fiesta Gardens, and the potential incorporation of the Expedition School.
Below are several projects planned, in progress, or completed as part of the Holly Shores / Edward Rendon Sr. Park at Festival Beach Vision Plan Implementation.
Nash Hernandez Building
Please visit the project webpage at Nash Hernandez Building Project.
Fiesta Gardens Complex
Please visit the project webpage at Fiesta Gardens Complex Rehabilition
Camacho Boat Storage
A new boat storage enclosure for the Camacho Activity Center was originally part of the planned improvements in Area 4, but had been placed on hold due to a lack of funding. As of Summer 2023, Parkland Development funding has been secured to re-open the project, which is in the preliminary planning phase.
The Expedition School
The Expedition School was operating on the eastern shore of the lagoon just south of the Fiesta Gardens building complex and, has provided city-contracted instructor classes (kayaking, standup paddling, canoeing, and safety plans and programs) since 2006 on Festival Beach at the Camacho Dock near the Camacho Activity Center. PARD’s use of the Camacho Dock for programming, including programs for individuals with special needs, and the daily rental of standup paddleboards has increased, and it was determined that a new location for the operations of The Expedition School was needed.
Following City Council Ordinance 20191205-070, PARD began the development of a partnership agreement for a boating concession on Lady Bird Lake for The Exposition School that would allow the rental of recreational rowing equipment such as canoes, kayaks, racing shells, and row boats consistent with current boating concessions operated by PARD. In December 2019, a Request for Quotation (RFQ) was issued. After extensive coordination between PARD and The Expedition School, the terms and conditions of the partnership agreement were finalized in October 2020.
The new operating location of The Expedition School will be at the Festival Beach Boat Ramp. The school received a Site Plan Exemption in September 2020 to relocate the storage containers used by the school for storage of equipment and materials used for operations. This location will use the existing Nash Hernandez Spillway which provides access to Lady Bird Lake (see images below). Based on the Terms and Conditions of the agreement, this location will be utilized by The Expedition School for eighteen (18) months, with possible extensions. The Expedition School will initiate its planning effort for use of the new area.
The decommissioning of the Holly Power Plant by Austin Energy (AE) ceded and transferred ownership of approximately 9 acres of lakefront property to PARD. Contained in that acreage are several structures that were utilized by AE as support structures for the former power plant. These structures include a concrete bunker and two metal warehouse buildings. The two metal buildings (A & B) are located on the lakeshore, adjacent to the old water intake structure, and are referred to as the Holly Warehouses. The pre-engineered warehouses dated from the late 1950s or early 1960s and were used for storage and other support services.
In 2018, PARD engaged a consultant to provide an assessment of the warehouses, including the existing metal structure, and the mechanical and electrical systems. The warehouses do not have water or wastewater connections. The assessment determined that the warehouses are in sound structural condition; however, the mechanical and electrical systems were deemed non-operational, damaged, or at the end of the lifecycle.
The consultants developed five options with estimated improvement costs for the future adaptive reuse of the warehouses. The options are, from most to least expensive:
1. Retain and refurbish both buildings
2. Substantially upgrade building A and remove building B
3. Convert the two buildings into open-air structures
4. Remove the building structures and the slab
5. Remove the building shells and structures, but keep the building slabs
The Vision Plan for the Holly Shores / Edward Rendon Sr. Park at Festival Beach outlined uses for the Holly Warehouses consistent with benefiting the surrounding neighborhoods. Potential uses of the warehouse buildings included fitness classes, performing arts space, community events, and a black box theater. PARD recognizes the value of the adjacency of the current structures to Lady Bird Lake as an exceptional opportunity for the community. Complete removal of the structures, including the concrete slab, would detract from the inherent value of these structures and due to development codes, PARD would not be able to have a similar space close to the lake in the future.
The options and concepts generated by the assessment were communicated to stakeholders through two community outreach events held in the summer and fall of 2018. The fall presentation outlined PARD’s recommendation for Option 3, converting the warehouses into open-air structures. Further community engagement will be performed before a final decision is made. This project is on hold.
In 2006, City Council Resolution 20060525-082 provided for the naming of an unfinished roadway, “vacant right-of-way”, called Medina Street, between East 5th and East 6th Street as the Roy and Matias Velasquez Plaza. The vision of the plaza was to serve as part of the Trail of Tejano Legends. Since the resolution, PARD has worked with adjacent property owners to design and develop the property. In the spring of 2017, PARD began the process of procuring design and construction documents by contracting with DWG Landscape Architects. At the beginning of 2019, PARD received a construction cost estimate, resulting in a $500,000 shortfall based on available project funding. Due to the budget shortfall and the awareness that the “vacant right-of-way” would not be dedicated parkland, PARD re-evaluated the project and the location to be aligned with the Trail of Tejano Legends. More community engagement and assessment will need to be performed before a final decision is made. This project is on hold.
Festival Beach, Area 1
Area 1 is located just east of I-35 and south of Nash Hernandez Dr. Improvements completed in 2018 included new accessible sidewalks, an accessible parking space, new concrete picnic tables that complement the historic concrete picnic tables throughout the park, and new trash and recycling receptacles. The walkways provided pedestrian connections to the picnic tables and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail from the newly accessible parking space and the Rebekah Baines Johnson Center (RBJ).
Martin Neighborhood Pool and Restrooms, Area 2
Area 2 encompasses the pool, restroom, playscape, sidewalks, and picnic area. Improvements were completed in April 2020 and included replacement and upgrade of the perimeter fencing and major upgrades to the restroom including new plumbing fixtures, new stall partitions, as well as new hand dryers, soap dispensers, wall-mounted trash receptacles, and drinking fountains.
The Art in Public Places program contracted for the mural restoration on the restroom, which was completed in November 2020.
The community also identified the need for a shade structure at Martin Neighborhood Pool. The award of a $30,000 grant from St. David’s Foundation provided much-needed supplemental funding for a robust and appropriately scaled shade structure. The installation of the shade structure was completed to coincide with the 2018 season opening of the aquatic facility.
Additional work at Martin Neighborhood Pool includes accessible sidewalks with concrete picnic tables, replacement of damaged picnic tables, grills, park benches, and water fountains, and replacement of the playscape to improve accessibility and provide new play features. Work on the playscape was completed in 2019 and the sidewalk and park amenities were completed in February of 2020.
The playscape was identified for replacement as part of the Vision Plan. The community provided input in the spring of 2018 and supported the proposed play equipment but requested an inclusive swing and a lighter color palette. The playground was opened to the public in February 2019. Funding of $100,000 from the Austin Parks Foundation and St. David’s Foundation allowed for diverse play equipment with integrated shade structures and the planting of three shade trees.
Degollado Pavilion, Area 3
Work at the pavilion includes new accessible walkways from the parking lot and main entrance to the park at the intersection of Chicon St. and Jesse E. Segovia St., and along the north side of the pavilion. Work includes replacing the 8’ tall posts with attached light fixtures and outlets with bollard lights along the north walkway with integrated electrical outlets for events. The perimeter fencing will be removed to allow public access when not reserved for public events. Work in this area began in April 2020 and was completed in the spring of 2021.
Fiesta Gardens Event Lawn, Area 4
The scope of work in area 4 included the partial removal, relocation, and upgrade of the perimeter fencing on the east side of the Fiesta Gardens complex to allow for public access, removal of the light posts on the lawn, improved walkway accessibility, and new picnic tables. The fencing, walkways, and picnic table installation were completed in January 2020. Plans for a new boat storage enclosure for the Camacho Activity Center were placed on hold but resumed in the summer of 2023.
Metz Neighborhood Park Connection, Lakefront Trail, and Substation Walls, Areas 5, 6 and 7
Work in Areas 5, 6, and 7 included improving connectivity to Metz Neighborhood Park, and continuation of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail through the area that was once the Holly Power Plant. The power plant area was officially dedicated as parkland in February 2020 and the next steps include the installation of screening and preservation of the mural walls surrounding the remaining structures of the power plant. Work also includes the removal of fencing around the former power plant area to allow access near the ball fields at Camacho Activity Center. The new substation screen will provide additional art wall opportunities and existing art murals will be restored in collaboration with the Art in Public Places program.
Work on the Lakefront Trail project is complete.
Festival Beach Restroom
The Festival Beach Restroom replaced an existing deteriorated and inaccessible restroom in the Edward Rendon Sr. Metro Park at Festival Beach. The restroom was identified for replacement in the Vision Plan but was not included initially as a Phase 1 project.
After The Trail Foundation (TTF) selected the restroom as one of the 15 projects in honor of their 15th anniversary, PARD entered into a Parkland Improvement Agreement that allowed TTF to manage, design, and construct the project. Jobe Corral Architects, a local woman-owned architecture firm, was selected as the architect. The construction of the new restroom, which was funded through the 2012 G.O. Bond, was completed in June 2020.
Camacho Boat Dock
In the fall of 2019, the Watershed Protection Department informed PARD of code-compliance issues at the Camacho Boat Dock. PARD received approval for a permit in late June 2022 and has secured the services of a civil engineer consultant. Permitting was obtained in August 2022.
Outreach continues throughout the implementation of the first phase of the Holly Shores / Edward Rendon Sr. Metro Park at Festival Beach Vision Plan.
PARD holds community outreach meetings semi-annually to provide progress updates to the East Town Lake Citizens Neighborhood Association (ETLCNA) and other community stakeholders. These meetings are held at the Rodolfo “Rudy” Mendez Recreation Center (formerly Metz Recreation Center) or Fiesta Gardens. In addition to these engagements, in 2019, ETLCNA established a Parks Committee consisting of community stakeholders to allow for more frequent updates on the implementation plan. Furthermore, in the fall of 2019 PARD commenced the Holly Implementation Newsletter to provide quarterly project updates and improve communications.
As the first phase of implementation continues, opportunities for additional projects are being evaluated. The Nash Hernandez Building and the Holly Warehouses in conjunction with Velasquez Plaza are examples of projects that PARD has presented and sought stakeholder input and feedback. Before finalizing any improvements to these facilities, PARD will be reaching out to a broad group of stakeholders and surrounding neighborhoods for their input.
Should you have any questions about the Nash Hernandez building, Holly Warehouses, or Velasquez Plaza, please contact Ricardo Soliz, Division Manager, by email or phone at (512) 974-9452.
Should you have any questions about the Expedition School, please contact Reynaldo Hernandez, PARD Project Manager by email or phone at (512) 974-9464.
Should you have any questions about Fiesta Gardens Complex, please contact Alyssa Tharrett, PARD Project Management Supervisor, by email or phone at (512) 974-9508.