AUSTIN -- Construction has begun on the West Lawn of Auditorium Shores.
Back hoes and tractors roared to life Friday morning beginning the process that is set to end next summer. When the park is done it will have a newly realigned trail, irrigation system and new event lawn. It will also have a re-designed off-leash area for dogs.
The issue has created some controversy in recent weeks. Many dog owners are upset that renovations will only leave less than five of the current 18 acres as an off-leash dog park.
One of them is Lindsay Willis. She comes to the park frequently to walk her dog Nyla. "I think its kind of a disservice to the dog owners of Austin because it's been so long," she said. "We don't really have that many places to go off leash for our dogs so its kind of sad because I wont have any place to take her."
Many dog lovers protested when city council unanimously approved the plan earlier this month.
Some runners and walkers at those meetings said they liked the changes because it made them feel safer; many didn't trust dogs off leash.
The park improvements are part of a parnership project between PARD, C3 Presents and the Austin Parks Foundation.
The renovations are expected to be done by the middle of 2014.