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.


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