AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Zilker Park Vision Plan has become a hot button topic in Austin.
According to the City of Austin’s website, the park needs some upgrades.
The site said Zilker is in crisis and facing increased ecological degradation, accessibility issues and damage from overuse in certain areas. The Vision Plan looks to address those issues with new parking garages, new pedestrian and bicycle bridges and even an amphitheater, but not all the proposed changes have been welcomed.
“I have some serious problems with that plan,” said city Mayor Kirk Watson.
Watson said the park needs to improve on its accessibility, but he’s not in favor of the three proposed parking garages.
“I think we can address the parking issues in ways other than putting a parking garage in one of our crown jewels, or three parking garages,” said Watson. “We could get parking nearby, we could get a tram service.”
Another controversial proposed addition is the amphitheater.
The great lawn is a place many people like to hang out and play sports, it is also a place used during ACL and Blues on the Green.
Watson said there are other options nearby, and the Zilker Hillside Theatre is still in use.
“We have a great amphitheater in Waterloo Park, and I believe we have the ability to do some things at the Long Center now that we have that new stage,” said Watson.
“I don’t see why they would need to put one in the middle of Zilker,” said Will Payne, who visits the park often.
Chase Straut also enjoys visiting the park. He said he enjoys the park the way it is now.
“I think there are more pressing matters that the money can go to,” Straut said.
Watson said there are other parks in need of improvements.
“Right now there is no money to put the Zilker Master Plan in place, and it is here at a time when we have a lot of parks throughout Austin that need some attention,” he said.
Watson said there will be a work session at the end of August to discuss the plan. Then, on Aug. 31, there will be an opportunity for public comment and consideration. It is then that the Austin City Council will decide what it wants to do.