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Turf Improvements Could Close Auditorium Shores for a Year

KUT News

Popular park and festival spot Auditorium Shores could close for a whole year if the Austin City Council approves a proposal from the Parks and Recreation Department.

The changes include an improved irrigation system, new turf grass and an enhanced off-leash area for dogs. The cost would be shouldered via a $3.5 million donation from the Austin-based promoters C3 Presents. The company has worked out similar deals to improve the grounds at Zilker Park, which hosts C3’s Austin City Limits Festival.

Austin Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Jesse Vargas says the department has been talking to event organizers for years about Auditorium Shores renovations. But the problem now is where to put the many festivals that are held in Auditorium Shores, including Fun Fun Fun Fest (booked by competing promoters Transmission Events), free South by Southwest concerts and more.

Parks director Sarah Hensley says the department is looking for alternate spaces. “We have some other parks and we have some other space,” she said during the council’s Thursday's budget meeting. “Whether they will be acceptable locations is the key.”

Making the search more difficult is the fact that one fewer park is available: Waterloo. Construction on the Waller Creek Tunnel Project at Waterloo Park will keep the park shuttered until 2015.

The Parks and Recreation Board will take the matter up at a special-called meeting tomorrow. Final approval of the proposal rests with the city council. 

Wells has been a part of KUT News since 2012, when he was hired as the station's first online reporter. He's currently the social media host and producer for Texas Standard, KUT's flagship news program. In between those gigs, he served as online editor for KUT, covering news in Austin, Central Texas and beyond.
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