City of Austin representatives and Pease Park Conservancy CEO, Heath Riddles-Sanchez, signed the Park Operations and Maintenance Agreement (POMA) for Pease Park on Friday, January 13, formalizing shared responsibilities for Operations, Maintenance, and Programming of Pease Park’s Kingsbury Commons (the southernmost 7 acres of the park).
The agreement formalizes the partnership between Pease Park Conservancy and the City of Austin for stewarding and caring for Pease Park that has been in practice since the renovation of Kingsbury Commons was completed in July of 2021. The POMA details the role of the Conservancy in operating, maintaining, and programming Kingsbury Commons and plans for the Conservancy to take on additional responsibilities throughout the entire park in the future.
Austin Parks and Recreation Director, Kimberly McNeeley, said “The relationship with Pease Park supporters began over 15 years ago with a community driven Adopt-A-Park group dedicated to stewarding the trees at Pease District Park. The recently executed agreement solidifies the partnership between Pease Park Conservancy and the City of Austin. The Parks and Recreation Department is excited to formalize this partnership and to continue working together towards a shared goal.”
“Pease Park is Austin’s first and oldest public park, and it deserves the most innovative approach to future sustainability, said Heath Riddles-Sanchez, CEO of Pease Park Conservancy. “This partnership for public purpose will help create a new model for how we manage our beloved green spaces in Austin.”
Pease Park Conservancy fundraised for the renovations of Kingsbury Commons and in partnership with the Parks and Recreation Department implemented the $10 million renovation of the space that concluded in the summer of 2021. Pease Park Conservancy raised an additional $5 million to support the Conservancy’s ability to operate and maintain Kingsbury Commons after the renovation project was completed. When Kingsbury Commons reopened, the Conservancy grew its staff and established a daily presence in the park ensuring that the space is clean and welcoming to all Austinites.
Pease Park Conservancy fulfills the following responsibilities at Pease Park:
- Cleans the bathrooms and facilities and maintains all supplies daily
- Empties the 18 trash and recycling bins in Kingsbury Commons multiple times per day
- Performs daily safety inspections on fixtures, features, and amenities
- Operates and maintains the water feature (splash pad) for park visitors to enjoy on hot Austin days
- Meticulously maintains ornamental planting beds in Kingsbury Commons through all seasons
- Serves as on-the-ground ambassadors for Pease Park visitors
- Cares for the ecology and biodiversity throughout Pease Park
- Plans and facilitates volunteer groups, engaging 1,500 volunteers to care for the park per year
- Coordinates and facilitates free art, learning, wellness, and conservation programming events in the park serving 12,000 Austinites annually
- Manages affordable reservations for special events such as weddings, meetings, classes, performances, birthday parties, and more
The POMA also lays the groundwork for a phasing plan that will transition more of the maintenance and conservation responsibilities for the entire park to the Conservancy over time.
The Conservancy values a healthy, well-maintained urban green space that is welcoming and inclusive for all community members. Pease Park Conservancy and the City of Austin’s mutually beneficial partnership will help ensure that Pease Park is a beautiful green space for the community to connect with each other and with nature for years to come.
About Pease Park and Pease Park Conservancy
Pease Park Conservancy was formed in 2008 and celebrates the diverse ecology and history that make Austin’s first public park valuable and unique. The Conservancy works to restore, enhance and maintain this public green space for the sustainable use and enjoyment of all. Unfolding across 84 acres, Pease Park is a series of connected green spaces running along Lamar Boulevard from West 15th to West 31st Streets, providing residents and visitors alike with an intimate, yet sprawling, natural amenity. Owned by the City of Austin, Pease Park is a public district park, maintained, operated, and programmed by Pease Park Conservancy, in partnership with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department.
About Austin Parks and Recreation
Austin Parks and Recreation seeks to inspire our community to learn, play, protect and connect by creating diverse programs and experiences in sustainable natural spaces and public places. This City of Austin Department protects and maintains parkland, urban forest, and trails as well as offering sports, recreation, educational enrichment, arts programs, cultural opportunities, and nature and aquatic activities for Austinites. For more information visit AustinTexas.gov/parks.