A year after receiving a $9.7 million Moody Foundation grant to jump-start implementing its long-awaited master plan, the Pease Park Conservancy unveiled new drawings and details about the major transformation in store for the beloved central-city parkland.
The conservancy, which recently welcomed landscape architect Ixchel Granada—its new director of projects and programming, who will play a major role in executing the master plan—also announced that Ten Eyck Landscape Architects will lead design and construction for the southernmost 13-acres of Pease Park in implementing the first phase of the master plan. The city Parks and Recreation Department and the Conservancy began the planning process for the Pease Park Master Plan in 2013.
Ten Eyck will work with the Parks and Recreation Department to enhance the experience of the park as well as creating hub of play and community and protecting the natural landscape. Project partners also include local architecture firms Clayton & Little and Mell Lawrence.
The first phase of the plan for the 84-acre park, which winds along Shoal Creek just west of downtown, is the refurbishing and updating of Kingsbury Commons, near the the existing entrance area at Kingsbury Street and Parkway. The vision for the area—currently the location of a Tudor-style cottage, picnic tables, a playground, and other recreational and gathering spaces—is to retain a sense of the space’s spirit, cultural history, and importance as a recreational facility. Another key component is protection and preservation of the natural landscape’s legacy, which Ten Eyck intends to accomplish with the use of indigenous and sustainable materials throughout the project.
The ambitious plan also includes numerous structural and hardscaping components. Clayton & Little will adapt the historic cottage into a community gathering and event space, and a new stone terrace north of the cottage will expand the space available for community. The firm will also design a new multi-use facility to be built just north of the cottage. The new structures will contain modern restrooms, storage, and additional picnicking space to supplement the park’s overcrowded existing picnic facilities and concrete block restrooms. Mell Lawrence Architects will also design an Innovative ”treehouse”— a recreational and educational play pod inspired by the park’s native species and trees.
Other improvements include new children’s play areas with a dedicated, age-specific play section for preschoolers and young children; a state-of-the-art waterplay feature and splash pad about three times the size of the existing one; new basketball and volleyball courts; and the creation of inviting entrance on the eastern side of Shoal Creek.
There will also be an interpretive stone ribbon that winds throughout Kingsbury Commons, connecting the diverse activities in the area and highlighting the ecology and the history and important place of Pease Park in Austin. Clear wayfinding and informational signage, as well as new bike racks and benches, will be installed. The historic picnic tables will be restored, and accessibility at the park entrance will be improved and enhanced with native landscaping, new sidewalks, and changes parking-lot improvements. In addition, there will be Improvements to plantings and natural landscape, which will likely include the addition of rain and pollinator beds and a new meadow.