The Pease Park Conservancy is soliciting community input as it ramps up towards the renovation of Kingsbury Commons, the picnic and playground area at the park’s south end.
On May 9, the conservancy is holding a public workshop led by cultural site development consultant Erin McClelland who uses the stories of a site’s history.
“It is a form of communication that seeks to help people form personal connections to the significant stories and meanings inherent is a space,” says Chuck Smith, director of programming for Pease Park Conservancy. “Interpretation helps answer the questions, ‘so what?’ or ‘why should I care?'”
Participants will have a chance to consider and add to Pease Park’s stories which are broadly categorized as “Park History,” “The Park Environment & Us,” and “The Park Geology & Hydrology.”
- History might include everything from prehistoric to native peoples; slavery & Freedmen’s communities; Governor Pease; nearby neighborhoods, enforcing segregation, and the City of Austin 1928 master plan; early park beautification; and cultural events in the park.
- Environment might include insects, animals, and plants; springs & swimming spots; water quality; ecological restoration; urban forests; recreational benefits; non-profit/public partner stewardship of parklands.
- Geology & Hydrology might include fossils from an ancient sea; clay from an ancient lagoon; the Balcones Fault Zone; natural springs & seeps; the Shoal Creek Watershed; and flooding and erosion.
The community’s input will then be coupled with input from scientists, historians, and others.
Potentially, stories may used in the creation of the limestone Interpretive Ribbon that will be a part of the Kingsbury Commons project. The 18-inch-wide limestone band is an element that will tie Kingsbury Commons together, that winds through the entry and play areas, around the water play area, through the volunteer plaza, up the hillside and ends at the Kingsbury Spring. The ribbon steps up and down.
“Sometimes the ribbon is a seat, sometimes a step, sometimes a wall, sometimes a gateway to a play area,” explains Smith. “Throughout the ribbon, stories, names, fossils, prints, and other interpretive elements will be sandblasted into the top, telling the story of Pease Park.”
Stories will also be leveraged to create art installations and via park programming
The interpretive planning workshop is 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. May at Lamar Senior Activity Center Multipurpose Room, 2874 Shoal Crest Ave.