Auditorium Shores to see renovations, changes

Auditorium Shores will improved after Austin City Council approved several renovation projects to the park June 6.

Renovations to the park include the establishment of an off-leash area for visitors and their pets that will have access to the shore of the lake, improved irrigation on the event lawn and a detour of the hike and bike trail around the proposed dog park. Construction is expected to begin in August and cause the park to be closed for a year. Special events will not be held at the park from January, 2014, through February, 2015.

The renovations and changes are funded through a donation of $3.5 million from C3 Presents LLC.

James Moody, a resident in the Bouldin Creek neighborhood and a partner with Fun Fun Fun Fest, which is held on Auditorium Shores, said he also feels that Auditorium Shores could use improvement, but wanted to be more involved in the development process of the plans.

"We know the park intimately," Moody said. "We work on it all year round, and we live there for three days every year, so we have good advice. But I also bring my dog down there, and I just know and love the park, and I would have liked to been involved."

An alternative location for the 2014 festival has not yet been selected.

Councilman Chris Riley said he was concerned about ensuring connectivity throughout all of Town Lake Metropolitan Park.

"I'm particularly interested in ensuring that we have looked carefully at connectivity for those who are moving through the entire park space, and that's a little hard to do when you break it up piecemeal and you're only looking at one piece of the park at a time," Riley said. "My hope is that as we move forward we will be able to make adjustments as plans proceed with regard to the rest of the park."

Jesse Vargas, assistant director with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, said staff would be able to adapt the design to accommodate changes in other areas of the park.

Councilman Mike Martinez said there will be further stakeholder input and council action about the improvements of Town Lake Metropolitan Park, he felt "comfortable" voting for the items.