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Council OKs plan for East Austin park land, possible disc golf course

Friday, January 14, 2011 by Michael Kanin

The Austin City Council has approved, on first reading, a change in both the future land use map and the zoning of a piece of land next to Roy G. Guerrero Park. With the action, Council Members signal that the property will be absorbed into the East Austin green space.


It remains to be seen, however, if this segment of parkland will be used for a disc golf course. Proponents of that idea have been actively seeking the transformation.


Despite testimony from both sides of that debate, Council members appeared unready to make that call. Indeed both Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Council Member Laura Morrison took pains to highlight the fact that the park’s use would be subject to further debate.


“Zoning and the use as the disc golf course are two separate things,” said Leffingwell. “The fact that it’s zoned P-Public does not necessarily mean there will be a golf course, that’s just one possible use.”


Disc Golf enthusiasts are looking for a replacement for the Pease Park course, which was shuttered at the beginning of this month. Neighborhood activists, however, argue that the city should focus on repairing existing Montopolis athletic facilities.


PODER head and Montopolis Neighborhood Contact Team Chair Susana Almanza questioned the need for another disc golf course in Austin. “I’ve gone to all of the disc golf courses,” she said, “and there’s not a long line of people waiting. I don’t know why they keep saying there’s not enough places.”


But Gordon Maxim-Kelley suggested otherwise. “More disc golf courses are needed for the city,” he said. “A proposed course here would have been an excellent compliment to all of our other existing courses, and with the removal of Pease Park, it’s even more urgent that this and other disc golf courses be developed quickly.”


In either case, the vice-chair of Austin’s Sierra Club, Roy Waley, called for the protection of the natural state of the park. “It’s a beautiful piece of land,” he said. “And it’s full of heritage oaks and other heritage-size trees. (We) want to make sure that those are taken into consideration.”


After the hearing, Assistant Director of Parks and Recreation Kelly Snook told In Fact Daily that there was no guarantee that the park would become a disc golf course. “This is simply zoning it for park use,” she said. “We’re responding to a need for additional disc golf courses in the city. (We) felt like this was a good location to locate one.


She added her department “hadn’t had requests for anything specific other than that.”

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