The project is the first phase of the Pease Park Conservancy Vision Plan, which was adopted by the Austin City Council in October 2014.
Renovations began on February 19, 2020, and opened to the public July 2. It experienced minor delays due to the particularly rainy spring in Austin. The 84-acre park sits just east of North Lamar Boulevard and runs from West 15th Street to West 24th Street.
Laura Bryant, board president of the Pease Park Conservancy, said the project aimed to accentuate some of the park’s existing features, including the dense tree canopy and historical architecture.
“It's always embodied this kind of magical, whimsical character,” Bryant added. “And so I think that the new design really builds upon that. It showcases the natural beauty of Austin, but it also is providing these incredible first class amenities that the city can take advantage of.”
Bryant said the project was largely executed by people from the Austin area, making Kingsbury Commons an excellent place to feature the city’s talents. It also meant that the people working on the project understood the park’s significance to the city’s culture, including its role as host of Eeyore’s Birthday Party. Austin-based Ten Eyck Landscape Architects led the design efforts.
Construction for the project cost $10 million with an additional $5.3 million set aside for operations, maintenance and programming. The project received a $9.7 million grant from the Moody Foundation. Pease Park Conservancy will work with the city of Austin to maintain the grounds.
In looking to the future, the Pease Park Conservancy plans to construct a similar gateway to the park east of Shoal Creek near East Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Those plans are still in the preliminary stages.