Barton Hills Community Park Mosaic

On Saturday, December 12, Barton Hills Community Park celebrated the completion of another phase of its park improvement project – its first large-scale public work – with a ribbon cutting ceremony. The work, a mosaic entitled “We Are Barton Hills,” represents the collective efforts of almost 1,000 individuals who worked tirelessly to fund the project, create tiles, and install the beautiful art piece that now borders the playground at the park.

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We at Blairfield Realty have enjoyed watching the park take shape ever since we became a King of the Mountain sponsor for the park improvement kickoff event, “Come Play!,” back in March 2013. At that event, members of the Barton Hills Elementary school community joined forces with neighborhood volunteers to raise funds for the first phase of the initiative: a new playground. The playground officially opened in fall 2014, marking the end of the first milestone in the five-year master plan for the park. Since that time, elementary school students and visitors have also enjoyed an improved running trail, fields of wildflowers, river rocks for drainage, new blocks along Barton Hills Drive, and more.

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The idea for the mosaic was conceived by active community members who envisioned an art piece that reflected not just the children from the elementary school, but also the community as a whole. “Unlike the playground,” said project coordinator Beatriz Mejia, “we wanted something that would be accessible to everyone.”

First, she and co-coordinator Mina Kumar had to find funding for the project. They applied for and were granted an award from the City of Austin Neighborhood Partnering Program, which was supplemented by the Barton Hills Neighborhood Association and the Barton Hills Community Park Association. They worked closely with artists Rachel Noffke and Wanda Montemayor, who engaged students and parents from area schools as well as neighborhood residents to create and install tiles. The finished product truly reflects the high level of community involvement in the project, and the names of contributors can be seen woven throughout the mosaic walls.

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Next up in the five-year plan are plans for better erosion control, water reclamation, and additional landscaping improvements; ultimately, the vision includes a pavilion that will truly make Barton Hills Community Park a neighborhood gathering place. And that’s the point behind the efforts, says Beatriz. “The thing I most got out of [spearheading the mosaic project] is how important community is. The project couldn’t have happened with just one person. It goes to show how constructive people working together can be.”

Many of us at Blairfield Realty have a personal connection to the park, whether it’s because we live in the neighborhood, have sent our kids to Barton Hills Elementary, or simply because our office is located closeby. For that reason, this project has been especially fun to watch, and we’re proud to have been a part of its inception almost three years ago.

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