One of Austin’s favorite hot spot for pups—Auditorium Shores—is about to undergo a year’s worth of improvements.
The renovations will shrink the off-leash dog area from 17 acres to 3.25 acres. Concert promoter C3 Presents is footing the bill for some of the project, but the company was not involved in the decision to cut down the off-leash portion of the park.
Marty Stump with Austin’s Park and Recreation Department says it was a city staff recommendation—a concept which was a tough sell to members of the community during an input meeting Tuesday.
Austin resident Richard Bagdonas says he's suspect of C3's involvement. He wants to see all exchanges of money and email between C3, which promotes the Austin City Limits Music Festival, and city staff.
Bagdonas also says it's the concert crowds tearing up the grass, not the canines.
"I recommend and voice my support for leaving C3 Presents out of Auditorium Shores," Bagdonas said. "Five percent of the year is dedicated to these events. However, they equate to largest degradation of grass in the park."
The new off-leash dog area will have 195 feet of waterfront access, 20 fewer feet than it has now. City leaders say that's the best they can do because they need to think of the bike riders.
"The discussion of the off-leash and the on-leash is being done as part of a broader conversation regarding this parkland--a conversation that has been years in the process," Stump said.
Dog owner Stephanie Smith points to 10 miles of trail dedicated to bicyclists and runners.
"That's 52,800 feet of trail,” she said. “We are asking for 215 [feet]."
City leaders say the plans are not final yet, but dog owners note few differences since public discussions focused on them began three months ago.
Officials with C3 Presents say they have no role in the new design of Auditorium Shores, but are simply giving the city money to pay for the improvements. Once finished, the event lawn that C3 would use for concerts will be off-limits to dogs.
Leashes would be required outside the 3.25 acre off-leash dog area.