Project Playback: Helping the Georgian Acres Neighborhood Get Their Park

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The Georgian Acres neighborhood had the highest amount of children and multi-housing units without a park nearby. For many years, residents of the neighborhood have been advocating for the park they were missing.

Georgian Acres Neighborhood Association (GANA) was determined to provide their fellow neighbors with a park they would be proud of. They envisioned a new park that would bring the community together and create recreational opportunities for the diverse community that lives there.

“The biggest challenge was staying patient and remaining positive no matter what challenge we faced in the park planning and development process,” said Daniela Nunez of GANA.

"It took many meetings, park clean-ups, door knocks, phone calls, and emails by committed volunteers to get us to this critical milestone, and we've been amazed by the overwhelming support for the Georgian Acres park. And this is only the beginning.”

At Austin Parks Foundation, we recognize the importance of increasing access to parks for residents of our city. Here's how years of hard work by the neighborhood and some help from the community made this new park a reality.

As Austin Grows, Our Parks Should Too

Just last fall, Austin was identified as the fastest-growing large city in America. The outdoor lifestyle made possible by our green spaces, trails and parks attracts new businesses and a talented workforce to Austin.

As Austin grows rapidly, our city is falling short when it comes to maintaining and investing in parks for future generations. We can all recognize the importance of protecting the popular parks we love, but also must ensure that all Austinites have access to great parks and green spaces.

Georgian Acres Neighborhood Association worked hard in organizing community planning meetings, going door-to-door for support, and going in front of City Council to advocate for their neighborhood. City Council Member Gregorio Casar recognized the importance of bringing a park to the Georgian Acres neighborhood located in District 4.

“When I first took office, District 4 had the least amount of park space of any part of our city. For a District that is one of our city’s most diverse, with both the most young children and the highest rates of poverty, this was unacceptable. Located in the heart of District 4, Georgian Acres is one of our densest and most diverse neighborhoods. In many ways, it represents the diversity and resiliency of Austin. That’s why, in my first year in office, we changed the City’s budget so we could finally build a park in Georgian Acres.

Then, in partnership with the Georgian Acres Neighborhood Association, Austin Parks Foundation, and other leaders in the area, we conducted an unprecedented grassroots effort to make sure the new park was unique and truly served the neighborhood. The community raised more money to make sure the park was truly something we could be proud of. And after years of advocacy and planning, I can’t believe the park is finally about to open. I’m so inspired, and I can’t wait to celebrate with everyone!”

Gregorio Casar, Austin City Council Member

Georgian Acres Neighborhood Park projected to open Summer 2020

The five-acre Georgian Acres Neighborhood Park will open later this year! The new green space will feature a granite walking trail that loops around the entire park as well as park benches spread throughout.

There are beautiful trees that the neighborhood will invest in preserving, along with new playscapes for tots and youth, swings, a net climber, a basketball court, bike racks, water fountains, and a picnic pavilion equipped with picnic tables.We asked Daniela Nunez of GANA what kind of impact their new park will have on the neighborhood:

“Georgian Acres Park will have a transformative impact on the neighborhood by serving as a unique and beautiful green space where residents and families from diverse backgrounds can enjoy nature, have fun outdoors, and celebrate together as a community. It has so much potential to help us build community, and improve the health, safety, and well-being of our residents and neighbors.”

Austin Community Steps Up to Make Georgian Acres Park Happen

In 2018, APF awarded an ACL Music Festival Impact Grant of $100,000 to the neighborhood to help with the construction costs. Dell Technologies Match Play, St. David’s Foundation, and multiple other donors contributed as well. Overall, $500,000 was raised to help with construction costs by APF and community partners.

This project wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. They understand the importance of putting the community's efforts front and center, which is exactly what happened with the Georgian Acres Park project.

Not only did they provide $620,500 for surveying, construction, permitting and engineering costs, but they also put in a lot of hours to make this happen. We'd like to thank D'Anne Williams and the team at PARD for their leadership and the effort that went into the masterplanning process.

Each facet of this new park will provide connectivity throughout the green space and community, as well as opportunities for physical activity. The playscape has many unique features suitable for children from toddlers to 12 year-olds.

Later this year, Georgian Acres Park will be a place for people to meet their neighbors, enjoy nature and get active in their new park. The Austin community is one small step closer to closing the gap of park-deficient neighborhoods!

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