Trail Foundation Begins Major Rainey Trailhead Improvement

Thursday, January 27, 2022 by Willow Higgins

The Trail Foundation, soon to be take control the city’s walking and biking trail management, is working on one of its first major trail upgrades. the Rainey Street Trailwhich is located at the south end of Rainey Street, will be undergoing a major facelift, courtesy of TTF.

The existing fleet is not being used much, according to Nick Blok, a TTF project manager who presented the project to the Downtown Commission last week. The current space is more of a manicured lot than a park, primarily used for letting the dogs run around.

The upgraded park, when complete, will include a natural play area for children, two different seating areas, a multi-purpose boat launch to access Lady Bird Lake, a neighborhood lawn for recreational use, and numerous green spaces for native plants. restoration. The entire park is adjacent to and connected to the hiking and biking trail that joggers, walkers, and cyclists can use at their leisure.

The Rainey Street Trailhead Project began in 2019, before the pandemic, with in-person community engagement meetings. TTF proposed two designs for the park based on the interests expressed by the community. The first design was more formal and organized, with circular areas segmenting various park features, while the second design’s layout was more naturalized and informal, and ultimately preferred by both the community and the Downtown Commission. TTF is moving forward with design #2.

The natural play area was described as a design highlight – TTF consulted with a group from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center to determine how best to use various natural elements to spark children’s imaginations. The playground was designed in conjunction with the goals of the national initiative Cities Connecting Children to Nature. Austin was one of seven cities nationwide to receive a project planning grant in 2016.

“It’s a much more adventurous way to play than some of the traditional game elements,” Blok said during the reunion. “It all comes together in a series of log pieces, both bigger logs and sort of loose logs that kids can build forts with. There are little grass mazes where you can hide and go down into the dirt and explore…there’s a sandbox and a stage to really create your own adventures.

The land has an impressive natural canopy that will be preserved in the landscaped park. All trees in the lot will be kept intact except for the removal of three dead or unhealthy trees.

“But the coolest thing is that because the game of nature uses up all those logs and loose parts, we’re able to reuse and recycle those trees that we remove and put them back into the game of nature. nature,” Blok said.

President August Harris has suggested that the bald cypress and mesquite tree being removed from the property could be used for more than just logs. “There are probably some great people out there who could make custom furniture for the park,” he said.

Trailhead rendering from The Trail Foundation and dwg. landscapers through the city of Austin.

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