Zilker Park Vision Plan “shelved,” Mayor Kirk Watson says

The expansive overhaul of Austin’s signature park will not be moving forward, the mayor announced Monday.

The Great Lawn at Zilker Park on a sunny day.

The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan has been “shelved” indefinitely.

Photo by ATXtoday

The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan has been “shelved” indefinitely, Mayor Kirk Watson announced in his email newsletter Monday.

“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,” Watson said.

A draft version of the expansive, ~$200 million plan was released last year, delineating what would have been the first master plan for Zilker Park in its 100 years of existence.

A map of the overall draft zilker vision plan

The Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan would have added several new fixtures to the 100-year-old park.

Rendering via the City of Austin’s Zilker Park Vision Plan Draft Document

In addition to changing traffic on Barton Springs Road, the 254-page draft of the plan envisioned major additions to the park, including:

  • Three new parking garages
  • A land bridge crossing over Barton Springs Road, joining the north and south sides of the park
  • A new Zilker Hillside Theater, integrated with the new land bridge
  • A new pedestrian and bike bridge across Lady Bird Lake
  • A new picnic area near the Great Lawn with bathrooms and concession
  • A new welcome plaza, repurposing the current caretaker’s cottage on the south side of the park

In the months since the draft plan was announced, residents have expressed concerns about the plan’s impacts on the park’s accessibility and ecology, sparking a campaign called “Save Zilker Park.”

City Council had plans to discuss these concerns later this month, before Watson’s announcement Monday.

“My recommendation is that we cool off for a spell,” Watson said in his newsletter. “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 … this plan wasn’t the right course and it’s time for it to be ended.”