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A Pease of the Pie

Pease Park's ambitious renovation underway following million-dollar donation from Whataburger heir

Pease Park's renovation underway following million-dollar donation

Pease Park
Pease Park's ambitious renovation of Kingsbury Commons is underway. Courtesy of Pease Park Conservancy

Pease Park's major "spruce" is underway. Two years after receiving a multimillion-dollar grant from the Moody Foundation, Pease Park Conservancy, the nonprofit that oversees the Austin green space, announced it received two more very generous gifts to help complete the project.

On October 16, the conservancy officially broke ground on the renovation of Kingsbury Commons, an area that occupies the lower 10 acres of the 84-acre park. Currently, the area includes a playscape and splash pad, as well as the park's iconic Tudor Cottage, which will also receive a face lift during the project. 

At the groundbreaking, the conservancy announced that Whataburger heir Lynne Dobson and her husband, Greg Wooldridge, and attorney Dale Linebarger and his wife, Libby, donated $1 million per couple to help fund the ambitious plan. These gifts, along with the Moody Foundation's $9.7 million grant in 2017, helped the conservancy raise $13 million of its $15 million goal, it said in a release. It also invited the Austin community to help raise the remaining $2 million (hint, hint).

With the project officially underway, Austin-based Ten Eyck Landscape Architects "redesigned the space to dramatically enhance park visitors’ experience, sustain the park’s ecology, and increase park usership and capacity."

In addition to landscape improvement, the plan includes:

  • Transforming the Tudor Cottage into a community space
  • Unique nature play area
  • State-of-the-art water play feature
  • Innovative treescape
  • Improved sport courts and play equipment
  • Bathroom and amenities updates
  • New stone terrace

The project is expected to be completed in 2021.

“We are creating a world-class public green space, befitting of Austin’s central city park, and we could not be more excited that the day is finally here,” says CEO of Pease Park Conservancy Heath Riddles. "Pease Park truly is the ‘people’s park,’ and we are eager to welcome the Austin community into this exciting and dynamic cultural landscape.”

Kingsbury's renovation is one of the key projects in a years-long master plan to create that "world-class green space." First announced in 2014, the plan includes new trails and trees, landscape work, and improved amenities across the 84 acres, which stretch from West 15th Street to West 31st Street along Lamar Boulevard. 

This ambitious plan ensures that Pease Park remains a vital part of residents' lives, much as it has for thousands of years. Beginning 11,000 years ago, Native American tribes camped along the banks of Shoal Creek. More recently, comparatively speaking at least, the troops of both General Custer and Robert E. Lee used the green space during the Civil War. 

In 1875, Pease Park was donated to the city and has remained one of Austin's crown jewels ever since.