Holly Project, a park improvement initiative spearheaded for years now by the folks at the Trail Foundation to accessibly realign and improve a section of the the Hike-and-Bike Trail in the Holly Shores area of East Austin, is nearing the end of its design period after soliciting significant public input over the last two years — and the updated site plan for this scenic peninsula now centers around an unusual focal point in the form of an ADA-accessible fishing pier connected to the trail. Though you’ll find a few designated spots for fishing on the Lady Bird Lake boardwalk already, including another ADA-compliant pier across the water on the south shore, the addition of this feature to the Holly plan comes straight from community feedback:
The vision plan goals emerged out of a robust and open community process and represent many voices and opinions. The over-arching call was for this place to remain first and foremost a neighborhood park, and many of the goals stemming from that are concerned with better connectivity, openness and integration between the various park elements, so that the park itself will continue to encourage connectivity within the community. Beyond that, an emphasis on the natural environment, a tranquil and pastoral character, and park comfort will make Holly Shores an even better place to find a moment of respite from the stresses of city life.
It’s easy to forget that Austin’s most central body of water is actually pretty good for fishing, even if more serious anglers tend to prefer Walter E. Long — and the pier is just another step towards providing better access to the water in this region of the trail. That mission is also helped along with the addition of a small boat launch, as seen in the illustrated site plan below from the Trail Foundation, the City of Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department, and landscape architecture firm Ten Eyck:
In addition to native plantings, seating, and lighting, a major purpose of the Holly Project is to realign the Hike-and-Bike Trail in this area to more closely follow the waterfront, a process that will also stabilize the shoreline and restore some of its natural wetland ecology. It’s only the first step towards a much larger vision for revitalizing this area’s extensive lakefront parkland, but the transformation of this comparatively small area of the park as a public gathering place should make a convincing argument for the rest of the plan.
Speaking of convincing arguments, the Trail Foundation is conducting one last round of feedback on the nearly-finalized plan seen above, pier and all, before sliding into the fundraising and permitting phase of the project — so whether or not you’re an angler, do us a favor and bang out this five-minute survey before August 31.