AUSTIN - The iconic Pease Park in Central Austin is getting an almost $10 million makeover.
It’s the first step in the greater plan to update the park.
Andy Gill, the executive director of the Pease Park Conservancy, said The Moody Foundation donated $9.7 million dollars to implement Phase 1 of the Pease Park master plan.
"We live in a city that we all know is growing very fast, and in order to keep up with that pace, one of the things that we need to do to assure that the quality of life for our residents stays at that high level that makes people want to stay here and fall in love with the city, providing really adequate green space,” said Gill.
The master plan was adopted back in 2014 by the city council to update the park as funding became available.
"It's certainly had it's ebbs and flows of care, it's seen some really great days, and some pretty low days,” said Gill.
For Jason Birdwell and his family, Pease Park is the perfect place to play.
"It's nice, it's big, it's spacious, it's pretty, a lot of shade,” said Birdwell. "We love it down here."
And for Nuria Zaragoza, it's a spot she likes to bring her dog.
"You know, we end up coming about every day,” said Zaragoza.
She said it's an important part of Austin's famous green spaces.
"So many people live near it, it's the only green space to the densest part of Austin," said Zaragoza. "It's just such a great asset to have this little bit of green space in an urban setting.”
"Pease Park is so perfectly situated near West Campus and the University of Texas, downtown and all these great neighborhoods," said Gill. "We're in a great place where we can serve a lot of residents with a really world-class green space.”
Gill said the money will help add additional nature-themed play areas and an educational tree house.
"One of a kind, haven't seen anything like it in Austin, but it will be really fun where kids will be able to not only play and enjoy being up in the tree, there's going to be a little education piece to kind of tell the story of Austin, history, and also explain the importance of our canopy in Austin," said Gill.
It will also repurpose the historic Tudor Cottage, enhance the park's entrance, and create a new multi-use facility for events.
"Being able to have birthday parties would be great,” said Birdwell. "More things to build community and keep the neighborhood and community involved."
"I've been running in this park since '95, and it's so fun to just see little by little all the improvements,” said Zaragoza. "I can't imagine how much better it's going to be. It's going to jump start all those awesome plans they have for this area, so I couldn't be more thrilled."
The Pease Park Conservancy will select a design firm soon. After that they said they hope to have a better idea of a construction timeline.
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