Caretakers seek inspiration to remodel some facilities along the iconic Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail. Regular users are invited to be a part of that transformation by sharing their memories, which will be handed over to architects as they draft designs.
"It's just a beautiful place to be down by the water,” said Donna Williams of Austin. “You see everybody and all kinds of people. Everybody is enjoying the resource altogether."
Williams brought her sister-in-law, Anne Bonaparte, to the trail to create their own special moments.
"I think it's a gift to the city,” Bonaparte said. “It's an opportunity for people to gather, to enjoy the sparkle and sunshine."
Hundreds of memories filled the 36-foot long wall within hours of its installation. The wall featured historic photos along a dateline from 1900 to today, meant to remind users of the trail's early years.
Susan Rankin is executive director of The Trail Foundation.
"It wasn't until the 1970s that Lady Bird, Ann Butler, Les Gage and all the visionaries started thinking about how beautiful the trail could be," Rankin said.
Rankin said trail pioneers then planted hundreds of trees along the once desolate riverbank. She said early projects were kept on a tight budget due to the high initial cost of creating the trail. Today, many of the original facilities are showing their age. A leaning Heron Restroom west of Lamar Blvd. is the impetus for the memory wall. Rankin said architects will incorporate memories of the trail's better features into their new designs.
"I just talked with a gentleman who talked about running out here with his kids in jogging strollers,” Rankin said. “Now, his kids are runners."
Bonaparte said she also enjoys seeing the many generations using the trail simultaneously.
"The whole range of families,” Bonaparte said. “I love seeing newborns to 90 year olds."
You can leave your thoughts on the wall through Friday. It is located on the trail near Cesar Chavez, just west of the Lamar Boulevard bridge.