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Plans underway to revamp Butler landfill beneath parts of Zilker Park

The landfill was used in the 1940s and was eventually capped off, but it isn't in the best of conditions currently.

AUSTIN, Texas — The Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is trying to keep Zilker Park beautiful, but part of that includes trying to figure out what to do about an old landfill underneath part of it.

The landfill runs right under MoPac Expressway, and the City of Austin is working to revamp it.

Zilker Park is a place that, for years, has been drawing people from all over Austin and beyond. But in between all of the beautiful green spaces lies the Butler landfill.

"In the late 1940s, about 1948, the city started to use it as a city landfill for household waste," said Gregory Montes, program manager with PARD.

City of Austin Parks and Recreation Program Manager Gregory Montes says over time, a clay cap was placed over the landfill to close it off.

Since then, the city has been using it as a temporary staging area and for parking for events like the Austin City Limits Music Festival.

But the cap isn't in the best of conditions. That's why the parks department is proposing some solutions. 

There are three plan concepts. The first concept is called "stitch."

"The concept is proposing to kind of introduce prairie back into that space as well as kind of a woodland area to provide shade," said Montes.

Stitch will also add some surface parking, but the other plan, "edges," is a bit more ambitious.

"Instead of a parking lot, we are actually proposing a parking structure. And so, in addition to that, we were entertaining the idea of maybe relocating the site theater," said Montes.

And the last plan, "regenerate," turns Butler landfill into a prairie and woodland area. This plan calls for repaving the lot and adding walking trails.

"Those are kind of the three ideas that are being floated out there right now, and people have chimed in on those concepts," said Montes.

Montes knows much work needs to be done and hopes the revamping can begin soon because that will help deal with the growth in the city.

Residents can still weigh in to help decide what Butler landfill becomes. 

Montes hopes to present this plan to Austin City Council by early next year. 

Click here for more information about the project.

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