AUSTIN -- This week the master plan calling for the re-development of Festival Beach and the Holly Street Power Plant area cleared the first of half a dozen hurdles before it can become reality.
On Monday, Austin’s Waterfront Overlay Advisory Board approved the master plan, which includes easier water access, a massive park area, and playscapes for children.
Passersby can see a noticeable difference at the Holly Street Power Plant.
So much metal has been dismantled, nearly 12,000 tons according to Austin Energy, that one can see through the structure from both sides.
“Now it looks like they're rebuilding it, but they're taking it down slowly but surely,” says Manuel Rodriguez, a neighborhood parent who uses the nearby baseball fields with his children.
“It's amazing what they've done and that you can see the trees now where before you could see nothing but the stacks,” said Chris Yanez with Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department.
According to Marcos DeLeon with the East Town Lake Citizens Neighborhood Association, the dismantling of the Holly Street Power Plant is behind three months and is supposed to now be cleared out by late October or November.
“We're hoping for that day to come when it's actually out of here,” said DeLeon, who is also on the Holly Street Power Plant Decommissioning Committee.
DeLeon says the decommissioning project is several months behind because of the unexpected discovery of asbestos, mechanical failures and other issues.
Four more Austin boards and commissions, including environmental, planning and parks and recreation divisions, have to approve the re-development master plan before the council votes on it, possibly in November.
The concern for many neighbors now is what will remain in the soil once the plant is gone.
“That's what we need to know. I don't know. I don't think anybody really knows until we get the people who know how to test the earth, test the soil to see what's there,” added DeLeon.