City discusses shutting down part of Riverside


by SHELTON GREEN / KVUE News and Photojournalist MICHAEL MOORE

Bio | Email | Follow: @SheltonG_KVUE

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 11:17 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 8 at 11:21 PM

AUSTIN – The first of a series of public input meetings over the future of Auditorium Shores was held Wednesday night at a South Austin lodge.

A Chicago-based development firm facilitated the discussion, which focused mainly on what would happen if Riverside between South First Street and Lamar Boulevard were shut down to cars.

The idea is to make Butler Park and Auditorium Shores one contiguous park space.

“I think the vision, the most important thing is that it remains a park. I mean, a lot of people use it as a central neighborhood park,” said Mark Cathcart, a Bouldin Creek Neighborhood resident.

Some residents at the meeting told KVUE that talks of improving Auditorium Shores have been in the works for years.

In 1997, Austin voters approved a multi-million dollar bond package for park improvements including Auditorium Shores. Seventeen years later, the project still isn’t finished.

Last year, local business C3 Presents donated $3.5 million for park improvements to Auditorium Shores.

“The city manager's office has basically redirected the funding for this for a major portion of this park project to underwrite convention center operations and maintenance and bonuses for their staff,” said Larry Akers, an Austin resident who for years has been integral in bringing the city and neighborhood leaders together regarding downtown park land.

Austin Parks and Recreation said there will be several more public input meetings before the Chicago developers release their final report in April.