Austin's iconic graffiti park is looking for a new home. HOPE Outdoor Gallery plans to relocate from Castle Hill and has launched an online survey to gain community input.
A combination of high maintenance costs and foot traffic are the catalyst for the move, reports The Austin Chronicle, who notes that the gallery was always meant to be a temporary installation.
"The property was always going to be developed," HOPE founder Andi Scull Cheatham tells the Chronicle. "This project was meant to have a shelf life of a couple years, but once the owner saw how much it had been embraced and loved by the community, he's done everything he can to keep it going."
The HOPE team, thanks to property owner Vic Ayad, thousands of visitors, and countless volunteers, has been able to keep the gallery running for more than five years. But now, the reasons for relocation are simple: money and accessibility.
High property values on Castle Hill make it increasingly expensive to hold onto the space and keep it well-maintained. Ayad, principal of Castle Hill Partners, pays about $100,000 each year in property taxes, insurance, and holding costs for the land, reports the Chronicle. The park's popularity has also swelled, affecting parking for the gallery, as well as traffic in the surrounding neighborhood.
A new location would create opportunities for expansion, as well as additional amenities like bathrooms, lighting, and more parking. Neighborhoods mentioned in the survey include downtown, East Austin, South Austin, and the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport area. The HOPE team also asks for public input on making the gallery an official City of Austin park or relocating it next to an existing one.
Once a location is determined, HOPE will launch a fundraising campaign to assist with moving the gallery. For now, artists and Austinites can weigh in on HOPE Outdoor Gallery's future by filling out the survey.