The struggle to preserve the historic Lions Municipal Golf Course, has been a long one. It has been championed for more than 30 years by an indefatigable group called Save Muny, which—in large part due to one of its original leaders, Mary Arnold—could be credited as a jumping-off point for Austin’s once-mighty local environmental activism, as well as managing to stave off desired development by its landowner, The University of Texas, and longtime leaseholder, the city of Austin.
While the controversy originated in the 1970s, when notorious UT Board Regents Chairman Frank Erwin was anxious to profit from the 141-acre property along Lake Austin Boulevard, it heated up again during Austin’s most recent, most sustained boom.
Due in large part to Save Muny’s documentation and advocacy over the years, and in particular the course's history as leader in desegregating Southern golf courses (or some of them) in the 1950s, the city, the Texas Historical Commission advisory committee, and the United States Golf Association all called for Lions' preservation. The state Historical Commission awarded it a historical marker in 2009.
In a major victor for Save Muny, the course was (somewhat quietly) added to the National Parks Service’s Register of Historic Places in June, according to the Austin American-Statesman. Despite its significance, however, the designation does not necessarily protect the land from being redeveloped.
That’s why it’s a good thing that, as Curbed.com reported Wednesday, it has been include in the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2016 list of 11 Most Endangered Places. According to the article, the trust is participating in the evolution of preservation to include more places important to the evolution and growth of urban places. According to Curbed’s Patrick Sisson, "inclusion on the list has typically been a huge asset, as only a few of the more than 270 sites listed have been lost."
• Citizen Mary: Mary Arnold has been quietly fighting for Austin for 30 years [The Austin Chronicle]
• Muny added to National Register of Historic Places [Austin American-Statesman]