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Pease Park gets $9.7M boost for implementing master plan

Moody Foundation grant jump-starts iconic Austin green space’s revitalization

The Kingsbury Commons entrance
All photos by Casey Chapman Ross, courtesy of Pease Park Conservancy

Pease Park is about to get a big infusion of cash that will help fund phase one of the park’s master plan, approved by the city in 2014. Pease Park Conservancy, the group that helped formulate the plan and is primarily responsible for working with the city Parks & Recreation Department to implement it, announced recently that it has received a $9.7 million grant from the Moody Foundation.

The master plan for the 84-acre park, which winds along Shoal Creek just west of downtown, is meant to provide a unified vision for the space that revitalizes the natural environment (currently somewhat worn from years of use) and enhances the park with new amenities.

The Moody grant will enable the Conservancy to implement phase one of the plan. That phase focuses on the lower six acres of the park, commonly called Kingsbury Commons, near the the existing entrance area at Kingsbury Street and Parkway.

Current features, such as the playground, splash pad, and concrete picnic tables (built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s), will be enhanced and joined by a new stone terrace. Phase one projects within Kingsbury Commons also include: increasing accessibility at entrance and gateway of the park; the creation of additional children’s play features within the area, including nature-based playscapes; a new water feature; and the addition of a treehouse.

The site will also feature the adaptive repurposing—headed by local restoration experts Clayton & Little Architects—of the historic Tudor cottage perched on the hillside overlooking the picnic tables and open lawn. Designed by noted architecture firm Giesecke & Harris and built in the mid-1920s, the structure will be used as a community gathering space.

The new stone terrace to the north of the cottage will expand the space available for community use. The Kingsbury Pavilion—to be built immediately north of the Tudor Cottage—will be a multiuse facility that serves as an additional area for community activities, with modern bathrooms and new picnic facilities to accommodate more people and larger groups.

The larger plan features recommendations for new trails, more trees, and picnic shelters and thoughtfully spreads additional amenities throughout the park, as well as increasing intrapark mobility. Pease Park Conservancy is in the process of selecting the design firm responsible for carrying out the master plan and bringing this vision to life.