After years of advocacy from Highland residents, on July 1st, 2014 Austin City Council determined that the 7.46 Watershed-owned property at 401 W. St Johns should become a City park to serve the needs of Highland Neighborhood and North Central Austin. Thus Highland Neighborhood Park and Reznicek Fields, a new park & sports fields in the urban core, was born.
Highland Neighborhood was designated as park deficient in 2011 by the PARD Gap Analysis, with park access limited only to AISD parks. When Watershed began making plans to create a water filtration pond on the St Johns property, it was the perfect opportunity to utilize the only City owned space in Highland Neighborhood suitable for a park. Located centrally in Highland Neighborhood, Highland Neighborhood Park is perfectly situated to provide a community and family gathering space, and a place for our ~5,000 residents of all ages to play.
In September 2014, City Council provided funding for maintenance, make-ready projects and the master planning of Highland Neighborhood Park. Since that time small changes have happened on the property, including removal of multiple fences, leaving an open space for neighbors to enjoy. Master planning, headed by PARD and Norris Design, began in November of 2015 with community engagement workshops. At the completion of three community meetings, ending March 23rd, a final draft of the master plan will go before the Park Board and City Council for approval.
Friends of Highland Neighborhood Park was formed by the Highland Neighborhood Association to advocate for the park, liaise with PARD and the neighborhood, and work toward park development. We are very excited about the future of Highland Neighborhood Park, and look forward to raising funds for park development when master planning is complete.
We are so grateful for the years of hard work from Highland residents. Damon Howze, past president of Highland Neighborhood, first began advocating for a park for Highland Neighborhood many years ago. That effort was continued with all the residents of Highland who wrote emails, made calls, and attended multiple City Council and Park Board meetings over 2 years in an effort to have the property designated a park. Because of their diligence and perseverance, Highland residents and all of North Central Austin will reap the benefits of Highland Neighborhood Park.