A community master plan for the greenbelt to guide future improvement and operations as well as support fundraising efforts by identifying key principles and amenities based on community input and urban design best practices.
This community-driven greenbelt masterplan improves connectivity and access, provides space for gathering and recreation, and supports social and physical health.
Throughout the entire process, public meetings were held and participants were surveyed and asked to discuss current shortcomings of the space, rank priorities for development, suggest future programming, and provide feedback over the proposed plan.
One of the primary recommendations of the plan is to increase connectivity and access both within the park and with adjacent neighborhoods. The plan details internal wayfinding recommendations and investment in active transportation amenities among others.
The master plan provides an opportunity for members of the community to walk, play, bike, and be in nature. The greenbelt also functions as a gathering space where people can meet, engage, and enjoy programming. The plan provides outlets that sustain the physical and social health of the community.
The Little Walnut Creek Greenbelt master plan is an example of a community-driven effort to build upon and improve an underutilized open space and transform it into a haven for the community. In 2017, the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department reclassified the 206-acre Little Walnut Creek District Park as a greenbelt. While the greenbelt’s size lends itself to a District Park, its topography and steep slopes largely preclude the uses of a District Park. It was therefore essential that a plan be developed to address the change in designation as well as meet the needs of the community around the greenbelt.
The Master Plan was initiated by the Pecan Springs/Springdale Hills Neighborhood Association (PSSHNA) and was facilitated by a grant from the National Park Service (NPS) Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance Program. Asakura Robinson worked closely with the PSSHNA, members of the public, advocacy organizations, and the NPS staff to record community goals and create this master plan vision for the greenbelt.
An initial site assessment was performed, identifying preliminary challenges and opportunities. It was then integral to the development and success of the plan that the community be involved and that the plan’s recommendations evolved from the understanding of the community and their desires for the greenbelt. Thus, after the assessment, three public meetings were conducted gathering community feedback and ideas. Strava data from mountain bikers was even used as part of the process for outlining existing and potential trails in the greenbelt. Subsequently, the final vision for the plan was organized into actionable concepts to facilitate future improvements and community prioritization.