A portion of one Austin's most popular parks is closing, though only temporarily. On Wednesday, February 19, Pease Park's Kinsbury Commons, which comprises the park's lower seven acres, will close for a massive 12-month capital improvement project.
The renovation of Kingsbury Commons is the first phase of the 2014 Pease Park Master Plan, an ambitious project to help transform the Central Austin green space into a world-class destination.
For the Kingsbury Commons upgrades, park lovers can expect an "adaptive repurposing of the Tudor Cottage [into] a community gathering space with new terraced seating," a nature play area, a state-of-the-art water play area, restored park entrances, spring-fed water features, improved basketball courts and baseball fields, a new bocce court, renovated bathrooms, and numerous native plantings.
While the renovations are underway, that portion of the park will remain closed to the public. The trail that runs along the eastern side of Kingsbury Commons (along Shoal Creek) will remain open throughout the duration of the construction, as will the remaining 70-plus acres of Pease Park, notes a news release.
As for Eeyore's Birthday, that will still take place at Pease Park, but it will relocate outside of the Kingsbury Commons area for the 2020 celebration.
The City of Austin is working in conjunction with the Pease Park Conservancy on the enhancements. Construction is expected to be competed in January 2020.
Costs for the Kingsbury Commons renovation will total around $15 million, according to the City of Austin. Much of that cost was offset thanks to a $9.7 million grant from the Moody Foundation and grants from Whataburger heir Lynne Dobson and her husband, Greg Wooldridge, and attorney Dale Linebarger and his wife, Libby, who donated $1 million per couple. The rest of it was raised by the conservancy.
Following the Kingsbury Commons renovation, Pease Park, an 84-acre swath of land donated to the city in 1875, will continue to undergo renovations and improvements. Also on the master plan are improvements to the park's cultural, recreational, and natural features. Including the Kingsbury renovation, it's projected to cost between $20-$40 million, which will be raised through a combination of grants, city funding, and private donors.