Park advocates and stakeholders are working together to plan for the future of one of Austin’s most prized features—the green space on the south side of Lady Bird Lake.
Known to most as Auditorum Shores and Butler Park, the area serves as a social and cultural heart of the city.
Three prominent former mayors offered their guidance to planners. Former Austin mayor Will Wynn says the city's population will likely double in the not-so-distant future.
"Think of this park in the middle of a city of Austin of 1.8 million. It's going to happen 23 to 25 years from now," Wynn said.
Former Chicago Mayor Richard Daley suggests thinking outside the box and considering every idea.
"Be not afraid of any idea that you may have or someone else has because this has to really be so unique and different," he said.
Remember that parks are for everyone, says Former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz.
"There's nothing more important than the preservation of public land. And there's nothing more democratic than public land," Diaz said.
With dozens of big festivals every year, these parks are a victim of their popularity.
"It's been loved to death,” Colin Wallis with the Austin Parks Foundation said. “It creates really kind of a nightmare every time we have one of those events."
And some organizers are looking at the future of their events, like the Zilker Kite festival.
"As Austin grows, the kite festival attendance grows and the footprint and the neighborhoods around Zilker are taxed,” Jeff Kehoe with the Zilker Kite Festival said. “We would like to see perhaps going into the new metropolitan park at some point."
Thursday’s visioning session was just the first in a series of meetings to gather public input. It's all part of a comprehensive study on the future of the park corridor expected to be complete next spring.