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Second Round of Community Engagement Completed for Palm Park

Last month, we completed Phase II of community engagement for Palm Park. We’re excited to share that a total of 1,994 community members participated in our engagement process during Phase II. Our team attended an array of tabling & outreach events, held (5) Bilingual Small Group Community Conversations, gathered feedback through a Virtual Survey available for 10-weeks, and organized a Pop-Up Event for nine days at our annual Creek Show. Through these efforts, we collected a comprehensive amount of data that will inform the next phase of the Palm Park Project–design. To learn more about the data collected and efforts made, please find linked here the community engagement summary presentation for Phase II. 

Outreach & Tabling Campaign  

Our engagement team attended various outreach events to raise awareness about the project, gather comments, and bring new voices to the table. Below represents a few of the events we attended:

  • ACC Fiestas Patrias
  • Coffee with the Principal Presentations
  • Monthly Eastside School Community Alliance Meeting
  • Trail-or-Treat Community Event
  • Waterloo Greenway Creek Show

Small Group Conversations

During the months of October and November, we held (5) Bilingual Small Group Community Conversations in various locations throughout Austin, with special focus on East Austin. The Community Conversations were held at the new Palm Elementary School (2) in southeast Austin, Rodolpho “Rudy” Mendez Recreation Center (2) and East Chalmers (1). The format of these meetings consisted of a brief presentation providing an overview of the project, small-group discussions with facilitated questions, an opportunity for groups to report-out discussion highlights, and time for completion of the paper survey. Participants included youth of all ages, local residents, Palm School Alumni, Parents, Siblings and Children of Palm School Alumni, Teachers, School Counselors, Community Leaders and invested community members. The facilitated conversation was consistent throughout and focused on three topics (1) History, Cultural, and Personal Stories; (2) Preferred Park Features; (3) Future Program and Uses.  In total, 93 community members participated in these conversations and over 600 comments were collected. Key themes and data gathered from the Bilingual Small Group Community Conversation can be found in the Palm Park Summary Presentation linked above. 

Pop-Up Activity: Creek Show

Our engagement team also coordinated a Pop-Up Activity during our annual Creek Show event from November 10-18. Over a nine-day period, an area at the park was set up with dedicated engagement staff to gather input. During this Pop-Up Event, community members had the opportunity to visually see the Palm Park model, provide feedback, and learn more about the project. In an effort to keep data consistent across all engagement activities, we lined the model with printed sheets that included the top-two choices for all (7) themes selected by community members throughout Phase II. Participants had the option to place a green sticky dot on their top image choice per theme. This activity resulted in 1,055 community members participating in the pop-up activity, including children and adults of all ages. During the Pop-Up Event, we also received a total of 61 additional comments and ideas. For more information, please reference the Palm Park Summary Presentation linked above.

We are proud of the engagement efforts we launched during this time period and have focused on gathering input based on the themes the community identified as priorities since the 2016 engagement process. Those themes include: ​​(1) History & Storytelling; (2) Places for Relaxation; (3) Place to Gather; (4) Play Elements; (5) Shade Structures; (6) Shade Trees; and (7) Water Features. 

Community Engagement for Phase III: Planning for 2024

With the year coming to a close, the Project Team is planning for Phase III and will kick-off the next portion of the project in January 2024. The design team will be reviewing all the information/data collected and will start the process of bringing to life the potential elements for Palm Park. We are tentatively planning for the next Community Meeting to be held in mid-to-late March 2024

Phase II Construction: Confluence Updates

  • South of Cesar Chavez, mesh and soil nails have been installed to help stabilize the steep creek banks.
  • Jay-Reese has completed the placement of limestone blocks at the biofiltration pond (across the creek from Palm Park) and is continuing work on the elevated walkway that runs alongside the pond.
  • Jay-Reese has also been making progress on the creek-level walkway adjacent to Palm Park.
  • A recent and significant milestone was the concrete pour of the Cypress Grove Bridge, a pedestrian bridge over Waller Creek, in late October. 
  • We will begin planting at the Confluence in the spring! 

We hope you will continue to stay involved and if you have any ideas or recommendations, please feel free to reach out. 

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday!