Last week we published a blog that did not accurately reflect the long and hard-won history of the Colony Park Neighborhood and Colony Park District Park. We’d like to sincerely apologize for the way that piece neglected to give the credit due to the many neighbors and residents who have advocated for this space for over three decades. We did not provide the full story of this incredible journey in trying to highlight one of our programs, and we are truly grateful to those who brought this to our attention: for their emotional labor, and for the investment of time and attention they made in us. We’re thankful to partner with community members who are unafraid to hold us accountable, and who believe we can do better. We can and we will. Below you’ll find a fuller picture of the history of the newly developed Colony Park District Park, provided by the Colony Park Neighborhood Association. We hope you’ll visit this premiere park space to see the truly remarkable things that can be accomplished when communities work together.
The Colony Park Neighborhood
Colony Park, located in North East Austin near Decker Lake, began a master planning process in earnest with the Colony Park Sustainable Community Initiative in 2012. This multi-year process lead to an overarching master plan for the neighborhood, as well as a renewed interest from the city and other funding partners in completing Colony Park District Park.
But before the master plan was ever conceived, the residents of Colony Park and Lakeside had already laid the groundwork for this premiere park space and a sustainable neighborhood.
1970s & 1980s: Petitioning for a Park
Beginning in the mid-70s, Lakeside and Colony Park community members petitioned the city for a park. In the mid-80s a single basketball hoop appeared on a gravel hill in the neighborhood.
1990s & 2000s: Turner-Roberts Recreation Center
Throughout the 1990’s and early 2000’s neighbors continued to advocate for a park space of their own. In 2001, the city purchased a tract of land in the neighborhood and a deal was brokered to create the Turner-Roberts Recreation Center in conjunction with Volma Overton Elementary School.
2008: Bond Funding Secured
In 2008 Turner-Roberts Recreation Center was completed, but due to the use of sub-standard materials, was re-constructed in 2012. In December of 2008, the residents requested that Phase II be placed in the upcoming bond elections, and the project received $750,000 as a result.
2011: HUD Grant Secured
Without a park master plan, Colony Park District Park still needed more support. In 2011 the neighborhood received a HUD Planning Grant. While the grant did not include the park space, it became the mission of the neighbors to create their park through the upcoming master planning efforts.
2013 - 2018: Park Master Plan + Construction
With Farr and Associates, the neighborhood created a master plan for Colony Park District Park using $150,000 of the 2008 bond. In partnership with the Austin Parks & Recreation Department, Austin Parks Foundation, Texas Parks & Wildlife, St. David’s Foundation, Dell Match Play, and the remainder of the 2008 bond, funding was secured to begin construction.
Colony Park District Park
We are happy to announce the final phases of construction at Colony Park District Park are being completed this week! With a brand new playscape, walking trails, multi-purpose fields, fitness zones and public art (featured above by Tyson D. Davis), this park is truly a testament to the amazing things that can happen when neighbors work together.
"Forty years ago the Colony Park/Lakeside community had a vision of a park, where our children could play without having to cross 183. Through years of hard work and prayer today our vision is now a reality."
- Barbara Scott, President of the Colony Park Neighborhood Association
We are proud to be a part of the Colony Park District Park project. We acknowledge the decades of hard work by the Colony Park Neighborhood Association, which is comprised of Colony Park/Lakeside residents, and neighbors from surrounding areas that brought this park to life. The newly created Colony Park/Lakeside CDC joined the community efforts in 2014.
We are grateful to our fellow funding partners - St. David's Foundation, Dell Match Play, Texas Parks & Wildlife and the City of Austin's Parks & Recreation Department especially Fred Fuller who has worked tirelessly to bring this park to completion.
To learn more, please visit the links below: