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John Treviño Metro Park gets development contract

Monday, January 28, 2019 by Jessi Devenyns

The 330-acre plot of former ranch land that sits 2.5 miles east of Highway 183 has stood vacant since 2003 as it waits to become the future John Treviño Metro Park.

This metropolitan park is one of two remaining undeveloped parks without a master plan in the city of Austin. (Commons Ford Ranch Metro Park is the other park still on the back burner.)

Now, after 15 years, the city’s planning wheel is cranking into action. The first step is to ask City Council to approve a consultant to help devise the John Treviño Metro Park Master Plan. Before that can happen, however, city staff members needed Parks and Recreation Board approval, which they received unanimously on Jan. 22.

The plan presented to the Parks and Recreation Board was an ask for a total contract amount not to exceed $430,150 in order to hire a consultant from landscape architecture firm Gustafson Guthrie Nichol. The nationally renowned Seattle-based firm was chosen from a pool of five applicants by a team of city staff made up of members of the parks and the watershed departments.

While Charles Mabry from the parks department acknowledged that “They don’t have a lot of experience in Texas, in Austin in particular,” he did say that GGN has experience working on other municipal park projects with challenging topography (two-thirds of the John Treviño Park is in the flood plain).

Board Member Rich DePalma noted that GGN had designed the National Museum of African American History and Culture on the Washington Mall, and he expressed hope that the East Austin story would be woven into the design of the park in a similar fashion. One design goal emphasized on the firm’s website is to “express hidden histories and repair connections in the landscape.”

To the satisfaction of the board, Mabry explained that not all of the funding for the consultant will need to come out of the city’s pocket. “We have ($250,000 in) funding for this master plan which is provided by Austin Parks Foundation,” he said. He added that the other $180,150 will be supplemented by a 2018 bond for park development.

While there is no official plan in place for how the park is going to look, Mabry did say that the general idea is to connect this metro park to other green areas within the city including the trailhead under Highway 183, Roy G. Guerrero Colorado River Park, Bolm Road District Park, and the Colorado River greenbelt. Board Member DePalma added that John Treviño himself – a former Austin mayor – had conveyed his vision both to DePalma and to Chair Jane Rivera and he would be happy to share those insights with the planning team.

Board Member Frank Ward was absent from the unanimous recommendation for Council’s approval of the contract.

Map courtesy of Google Maps.

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