UPDATE: Demolition of Graffiti Park unanimously approved by Austin's Historic Landmark Commission

Update 10:25 p.m.: The Historic Landmark Commission unanimously approved the demolition of the concrete walls and slabs at Graffiti Park with a vote of 8-0. The item provoked no discussion from the commissioners.

Original post: Tonight the Historic Landmark Commission will look to approve a demolition permit for the graffiti-covered concrete walls and slabs at 1012 Baylor Street, colloquially known as Graffiti Park.

The graffiti-smothered area, officially known as the HOPE Outdoor Gallery, opened in 2011 to muralists following a South-by-Southwest event. The concrete walls and slabs that evolved into a public canvas were leftovers from a failed multi-family development from the 1980s.

According to a press release sent out late last year, the HOPE Outdoor Gallery will move to 9507 Sherman Road, on Carson Creek Ranch in east Austin, close to the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport—a considerable distance from its current central Austin location. The new location will provide more structure to the gallery and more space for artists and is expected to open by the end of 2018.

One of the concrete slabs from the old park will be moved the new location as a memorial.

Andrew Rice from the city’s Historic Preservation Office said he did not know a timeline for the demolition. However, Rice said that should the commission approve the demolition tonight, the permit would be released tomorrow, Jan. 30.

Although the property is not considered historic by city standards, the Historic Preservation office said that because of its value to the community, the site cannot be demolished without “comprehensive photo-documentation of the existing conditions,” for preservation at the Austin History Center.

The property’s owner, Mid-City Development, was not immediately available for comment. No plans for the old park have been released but Mid-City specializes in multi-family unit development.

Editor's note: For a look at the top stories Community Impact Newspaper's Central Austin edition will be following in 2018, visit our guide. That and more content from our Annual Community Guide can be found here.






Editor's note: After receiving an overwhelming amount of readers and discussion surrounding this story, we wrote the following blog post to help explain a bit of our process. One thing is for certain, local news matters. 

Blog: How I found a local story about a Graffiti Park in Austin that drove a statewide conversation and crashed the Community Impact Newspaper website

 
By Christopher Neely
Christopher Neely is Community Impact's Austin City Hall reporter. A New Jersey native, Christopher moved to Austin in 2016 following years of community reporting along the Jersey Shore. His bylines have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today and several other local outlets along the east coast.


MOST RECENT

For a third consecutive semester, Texas public school districts will not be penalized financially due to declining enrollment and attendance as a result of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, due to an extension of the hold-harmless guarantee, state leaders announced March 4. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas leaders ensure financial stability for public school districts through spring semester with hold-harmless extension

The guarantee also ensures that Texas school systems can retain their teachers for the 2020-21 school year for whom they originally budgeted.

Winter Storm Uri caused restaurants across Austin to close due to power outages and unsafe road conditions. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
Austin Energy GM Jacqueline Sargent resigns from ERCOT's board of directors in wake of winter storms

Sargent's departure follows a trend of resignations from the agency that oversees Texas' power system.

Central Texas Food Bank
Central Texas Food Bank announces distribution sites in March following winter storm

The Central Texas Food Bank is holding food distribution events throughout March for local residents experiencing food insecurity due to the COVID-19 pandemic and lingering effects from damage caused by Winter Storm Uri.

Austin Marriott Downtown opens March 4. (Courtesy Austin Marriott Downtown)
31-story Austin Marriott Downtown opens March 4

The new hotel includes The Lobbyist, a two-story cocktail bar and Corinne Restaurant, a neighborhood dining and cocktail spot with an outdoor patio.

Courtney Manuel (center), I Live Here I Give Here executive director, and and board chair Kathy Smith-Willman (right) stand with Edward B. Burger, St. David's Foundation executive director, during Amplify Austin Day 2020. (Courtesy Trent Lee Photography)
Here's how to support Central Texas nonprofits during ninth annual Amplify Austin Day on March 4-5

The annual 24-hour giving campaign will begin at 6 p.m. on March 4.

People wait in line to receive a vaccine at an Austin Public Health vaccination site. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
Texas offers COVID-19 vaccinations to school, child care workers

Educators, school staff and child care professionals are qualified to receive coronavirus vaccines effective immediately.

In response to Gov. Greg Abbott's March 2 announcement that Texas' statewide mask mandate and COVID-19-related business restrictions will be lifted as of March 10, the Texas Education Agency released updated public health guidance March 3. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Updated Texas Education Agency guidance allows individual school boards to determine mask policies

"Under this updated guidance, a public school system's current practices on masks may continue unchanged. Local school boards have full authority to determine their local mask policy," the release reads.

H-E-B will continue to require employees to wear face masks until further notice. (Nicholas Cicale/Community Impact Newspaper)
H-E-B to require employees, ask customers to be masked despite upcoming expiration of governor's mandate

H-E-B officials announced their employees and vendors would still be required to be masked while on the job, and customers would be encouraged to wear masks while in stores.

Photo from inside a movie theater
Alamo Drafthouse files for bankruptcy, closes theaters in downtown Austin and New Braunfels

Most theaters will remain open under an asset purchase agreement to the company's senior lending partners.

Winter Storm Uri ice
Winter storm closures deepen financial woes for Austin’s pandemic-battered restaurant scene

Some restaurants in Austin lost thousands of dollars in lost business due to business closures during Winter Storm Uri.