Earlier this month, the Beverly S. Sheffield Northwest District Park Vision Plan was recommended for approval by Austin’s Park Board! Located in the Allandale neighborhood of Austin, Texas, Beverly S. Sheffield Park has major improvements in store. The 31-acre park currently features baseball fields, basketball and tennis courts, swimming pool, duck pond, passive and active greenspaces, and a hiking trail along Shoal Creek. The Vision Plan curates community requests to update the space, improve the trail system, rehabilitate the pond, and overall update the park’s infrastructure.

RVi worked closely with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to facilitate a robust community engagement program, including a multitude of community workshops, virtual meetings and online surveys, pop-up park meetings, and small group meetings featuring neighbors and neighborhood association groups. The following planning values were created, refined, and finalized through input received during these community engagement efforts and ultimately directed the design team. They include:

  1. Enhance & Preserve Park Natural Amenities
  2. Enhance & Increase Recreational Amenities (Active & Passive)
  3. Increase Park Connectivity & Park Identity
  4. Balance Park Amenities with Other City Infrastructure Needs

The Vision Plan ultimately serves to coordinate these improvement projects, spread across three potential phases that are expected to be completed by 2026.

Phase One focuses on the park’s two main playscapes. Featuring nature-based play themes, these playscapes will be made from sustainable, rot-resistant wood and will be conveniently located next to each other so parents can watch both areas simultaneously, a concern identified through the community engagement process.

Phase Two focuses on circulation and overall greenspace enhancements. The proposed landscape and habitat character includes both short- and long-term solutions, ranging from aeration and potential dredging, to identifying sources for makeup water such as stormwater capture and investigations of natural springs adjacent to the pond. There will also be areas of native grass and wildflowers dispersed throughout the park.

The third and final phase focuses on architectural improvements such as new restrooms, monuments and shelters, and includes the addition of two pickleball courts and a bike park – a highly anticipated element of the renovation. Although Phases Two and Three are detailed separately, there is the potential for them to be combined into a single capital improvement project.

Several interpretive concepts are also presented in the Vision Plan to help guide development. These ideas also stemmed from public comments and the technical advisory group and have been conceptually developed by the design team. They include Who is Beverly S. Sheffield?, Underwater in the 100 Year Flood!, Historic Rock Quarry, and Pleiosaur & Creatures of the Park wall graphic concept.

Wall Graphic Concept – for conceptual purposes only

We’re excited to see this project gain Park’s Board approval and proceed to the next steps to update this historic Austin Park! If you wish to learn more about the project site, click here to take a deep dive and virtual tour via the project’s StoryMap or visit AustinTexas.gov for more info.