The "front yard of our downtown," as Senator Kirk Watson puts it, is about to get a major makeover. This week officials broke ground on a $5.8 million renovation of Republic Square Park.
This means the park — which is host to a variety of events — will be closed for the next year. But come summer of 2017, the central plaza will have a new market area, a food kiosk, public bathrooms, additional seating, and much more. The centerpiece is a "circular promenade which connects pedestrians to all four corners of the park," according to the master plan.
"[Wednesday's] groundbreaking is the beginning of the next iteration of Republic Square Park as a community meeting place, and I couldn't be more proud or more excited," said Watson at the ceremony.
The historical site has gone through many transformations over the years. Its latest metamorphosis has been more than three years in the making and involves a clever collaboration between the City of Austin, the federal government, several local organizations, and private donors.
The Austin Parks Foundation spearheaded the design and fundraising processes, and the Downtown Austin Alliance has signed on to manage the park once complete. Austin Parks and Recreations Department will continue to work with events and operations.
"Under the Auction Oaks in Republic Square Park is where the first lots of Austin were sold. This is literally where our city got its start, so I'm gratified to see nonprofits, private donors, and government come together to give Republic Square Park fresh life," said Mayor Steve Adler.
During construction, the SFC Farmers Market on Saturdays will be located nearby at the Federal Courthouse Plaza and West Fourth Street.