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Plans for Colony District Park permit move forward

Tuesday, September 11, 2018 by Alyx Wilson

The Zoning and Platting Commission had a few questions before unanimously approving a conditional use permit for additional amenities to Colony District Park last Tuesday.

The park, which is located at 7201 Colony Loop Drive, is home to Overton Elementary School, and the community is eager to make improvements to the public spot. Plans include addition of a multiuse field, a baseball field, a playground and open play area, two open-air pavilions, a multiuse trail, and a pedestrian bridge.

The original master plan included plans for an aquatics facility, but the first phase of funding does not include that amenity.

Fred Fuller, a project manager with the Parks and Recreation Department, has been on the project since late 2016. He reassured commissioners about potential disruptions from the park. Pedestrian lights are 150 to 200 yards away from the nearest residence.

“Probably the noisiest thing we’re going to have out there is a playscape. It is an intense new playscape that the neighborhood has been woefully lacking for the last 10 years,” said Fuller.

The master plan for this park is an offshoot of the Colony Park Sustainable Communities Initiative that had been in the works for several years. The improvement plan for this park came as a byproduct of that initiative, enabling the city of Austin to give the neighborhood park amenities it had been wanting for several years.

The growth of the park requires the addition of 34 new parking spaces, including new spaces for people with disabilities. In addition, both the trail and the pedestrian bridge are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. More parking spaces will be built when the park moves into its next phase of improvement with the addition of the aquatics facility.

“This is a district park, so anyone is welcome to use it at any time,” Urban Design Group agent Candace Craig confirmed after the commissioners questioned if the park would have restrictions on visitors during school hours, given that the park surrounds an elementary school.

The commissioners also asked whether there would be any backlash coming from the Austin Independent School District or parents about use of the park during school hours.

“I haven’t heard any concerns from the school or the three neighborhoods represented in our meetings with them, other than that they want trails for the kids to walk on, and more places for them to play,” said Fuller.

The commission congratulated the applicants on their well-formed plan, and on their hard work to bring a higher-quality park to the students at Overton Elementary and other community members, before moving to approve the permit.

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