One of the city’s oldest and most iconic green spaces lies in the heart of Austin: Pease Park. It’s spread out over an astounding 84 acres between West 15th and West 31st Streets, along Lamar Boulevard. You may recognize the park as the location of the extremely fun and exciting Eeyore’s Birthday Party every spring.
If you haven’t been to the park on any other occasion, then you’re missing out. Pease Park is a perfect place to enjoy nature with happy picnics, birthday parties, peaceful nature walks, and other recreational activities. And Pease Park Conservancy promises even more with “Art at the Park” and development plans.
What Is Pease Park Conservancy?
In 2008, Richard Craig founded “Trees for Pease” as part of the Adopt-A-Park program with Austin Parks Foundation. Together with his friends, Craig took on the role of the park’s protector and beautifier, planting and watering trees, enhancing the park, and preventing any further degradation of Pease Park. In 2013, the organization received its formal nonprofit certification and its name was changed to Pease Park Conservancy.
While owned by the City of Austin, Pease Park is managed and operated by Pease Park Conservancy in a private-public partnership with Austin Parks and Recreation. The conservancy has stepped in where the city can’t, dedicating its mission to the rehabilitation, beautification, and support of this beautiful urban park.
Art at the Park: “Stickwork”
Pease Park Conservancy recognizes the power of public art and wanted to do something amazing to enhance the cultural environment at Pease Park. The team reached out to the office of internationally-acclaimed artist Patrick Dougherty in hopes of bringing his breathtaking “Stickwork” sculptures to the park, and was excited to get approval for the project. After visiting the park in August, Dougherty chose Custer’s Meadow on 24th Street and Parkway as the location for his artwork to be displayed.
Dougherty will be utilizing locally-harvested saplings of invasive species such as ligustrum, depression willow, ash, and elm, donated by a local supplier. Pease Park Conservancy estimates there will be five to seven truckloads of sticks for the sculptures.
Since these materials will be in a natural environment, the sculptures’ lifespans are expected to be two to three years long before deterioration. At that point, they’ll go through the chipper and turn into mulch that will be used in Pease Park. From start to finish, this project is aimed to be environmentally friendly.
“Stickwork” requires the help of volunteers to build the sculptures. There has been lots of excitement in the community regarding this project, along with an overwhelming amount of registrants. Registration had to be closed at 300 volunteers!
What’s Next? Pease Park Conservancy Grant
“Stickwork” isn’t the only thing on the horizon. Pease Park Conservancy recently announced a whopping $9.7 million grant from The Moody Foundation. The grant will be used to support the Pease Park Master Plan, which was adopted by the Austin City Council in 2014.
The plan includes recommendations for new nature trails, more trees and picnic areas, and additional amenities throughout the park. The initial focus of the restoration project will be Kingsbury Commons in the lower six acres of Pease Park. Some of the projects for this portion of the plan include enhancing the entrance and gateway of the park, creating additional features in the children’s play area, adaptively repurposing the Tudor Cottage, and creating the Kingsbury Pavilion to provide additional room for community activities.
Design for the project will take place in 2018, with construction to occur the following year. The project is anticipated to be completed in early 2020.
Whether it’s for Eeyore’s Birthday Party, “Stickwork,” or just a day out in nature, you are sure to enjoy your time at Pease Park. Learn more about the park and Pease Park Conservancy online.
@theAustinot wants to know:
What’s your favorite feature at Pease Park?