Auditorium Shores Renovation Project

Auditorium Shores is open for business! The park renovation project, which was originally proposed by the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and approved by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, has been an ongoing, coordinated effort with the goal of improving one of Austin’s beloved urban parks. The project has created a venue that can continue to sustainably accommodate large numbers of visitors and community events.

The need for improvements to Auditorium Shores was originally identified as part of the Town Lake Metropolitan Park Master Plan process between 2011 and 2012 and made possible through a grant from Texas Parks and Wildlife, a $3.5 million donation in 2013 from the company C3 Presents, and a $350,000 donation from the Trail Foundation. The newly renovated space includes an improved off-leash area for dogs, irrigation and turf grass, an expanded parking lot, a new restroom facility, improved bicycle and pedestrian access, new exercise and stretching areas, additional lighting, shoreline restoration and more.

Auditorium Shores Pics-01

Improvements of Auditorium Shores, Before and After

Portions of Auditorium Shores have been closed for the past two years while the City has made improvements, with the last section of the park opening just in time for the 2015 South by Southwest concert series in March. Another recent event was the 2015 Mighty Texas Dog Walk, put on by Service Dogs, Inc., which trains dogs to assist Texans living with hearing or mobility challenges. Then there’s the Austin Food + Wine Festival, the upcoming Cap 10K and other popular happenings at Auditorium Shores— without a doubt, the space will continue to get plenty of use.

Luckily, measures were taken during Auditorium Shores’ renovation to keep the newly landscaped park in good condition. First, the park has new soil structure, an irrigation system and a fresh bed of turf grass that is a hybrid of Bermuda grass specially designed for heavy use (such as sports fields). Second, there is special decking on some areas of the ground that’s designed to let the air and light in and help keep pedestrian wear and tear off high-traffic areas. Also, the City reconstructed the parking lot to address environmental issues and keep rain runoff from draining directly into Lady Bird Lake; the storm water is filtered through rain water gardens, so the oil and other contaminants are filtered out before they hit the lake.


Cyclical Interplay, by Artists Andrew Bellatti Green and Adam Pyrek

If you haven’t been to the newly renovated Auditorium Shores, one thing you’ll want to check out is the new kinetic sculpture called Cyclical Interplay. Designed by artists Andrew Bellatti Green and Adam Pyrek, the sculpture is designed to help us better understand the cyclical, changing weather conditions in Central Texas. It rotates for several minutes every day at dusk, after which the sculpture’s steel fins come to rest in a vessel-like shape to suggest fullness or emptiness. The “full” or “empty” shape is based on rainfall and reservoir level data collected on-site—the exterior fins reflect rainfall amounts while the interior fins indicate the capacity in the Highland Lakes Water System.

Also, just behind the stage and near the gazebo close to the First Street bridge, a new plaza was recently named the Brent Grulke Plaza in honor of SXSW’s creative director for more than two decades, who died of a heart attack in 2012 and was a driving force behind the Austin music scene.

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