The City of Austin owns a 7.36 acre tract of land in the upper Waller Creek watershed at 401 West St. Johns Avenue. The site was purchased for storm water management use and the Watershed Protection Department (WPD) has identified it as an appropriate location for a storm water management pond to address pollution.
In 1970 the Austin City Council approved the use of the West St. Johns Avenue site as a sports field and has leased the site to the University Hills Optimists (UHO) for its exclusive use since 1971. UHO currently offers kickball, baseball, and soccer to youth in Austin and surrounding communities at "Reznicek Field" at the site.
The most recent numbers from the Parks and Recreation Department suggest that a substantial number of youth sports participants who use this facility reside outside the City of Austin. The site remains locked when youth sports activities are not taking place and thus largely inaccessible for more general park use.
The City of Austin has adopted a goal of providing parks within a distance of one-quarter to one-half mile of every household, and the Parks and Recreation Department's (PARD) Gap Analysis in the Long Range Plan identifies this area of Austin as deficient in adequate parkland.
Among the top five votes during the Central Public Input Meeting conducted as part of PARD's Long Range Plan was to "move [the University Hills Optimists]... to create more park opportunity". WPD presented 60%-complete plans for the storm water facility to the Highland Neighborhood at meetings on December 13, 2012, and February 18, 2013, and neighbors expressed concern over lack of input regarding the design of the pond and their interest in using the WPD site as a park.
We'd like your suggestions and ideas for the future use of this property; we've listed four options that the Austin City Council wanted staff to analyze. Speak up, Austin!