St. David's Stories

Seeing the Potential: Keep Austin Beautiful & LBJ High School

LBJ High School sits in northeast Austin, surrounded by neighborhoods and families. It’s a neighborhood in transition, with several developers building new homes in close proximity to the school. The neighborhood is a mix of original neighbors from the 70’s and younger families moving to the area. Yet, the large park area around the school is barely used, due to a fence and non-user friendly features.

The park at LBJ High School is soon to be a favorite neighborhood spot. What is now an empty, unused piece of land will soon have trees, shaded walking trails, picnic tables, hammocks and more.

“The campus is very exposed, with very little shading,” said Rodney Ahart, Executive Director of Keep Austin Beautiful. Rodney and his team wanted to change that and make it a more inviting space for the families. So after receiving a grant from St. David’s Foundation, they met with community members to see how they would like to use the park and what features they’d like to see installed or improved. Shade trees and walking paths will be added, as will a dedicated space for soccer and volleyball.

“We’ve worked very closely with the principal and students at LBJ High School. The students mentioned that if the campus had more trees, they would spend more time outside. We’re planting trees… and are incorporating shade structures to ensure the areas with seating are covered,“ Rodney continued.

A rendering of plans for the new park at LBJ High School, which includes a lawn for recreation, sculpture park and playground, and numerous sports courts.

Because the school is a focal point of the neighborhood, improving this park could mean that LBJ High School becomes a model of what is possible with collaboration between the organization, the school and the neighborhood.

“Our hope is that once the improvements are complete, the students and administrators will fully enjoy them, playing pickup football, soccer and games in the newly designed open spaces. We hope the surrounding community, too, will enjoy the clean, safe and easily- accessible place to exercise and enjoy nature.”

Our Parks Initiative: Creating Opportunities to be Active in Central Texas

We’re excited to be working in collaboration with Austin Parks Foundation and The Trust for Public Land to enhance Austin's existing parks and launch a multi-year effort to provide increased activity options at parks across Central Texas!We're lucky to have many acres of parks in here in Central Texas, but more needs to be done to enhance opportunities at these parks to enjoy physical activity, recreation, and community connections. We need to ensure that our local parks are safe, vibrant physical activity assets for years to come!

Posted by St. David's Foundation on Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Opportunities to Be Active is a new area of focus within the Healthiest Places strategic priority. In 2017, we gave our first grants in the area to: Austin Parks Foundation, Barton Springs Conservancy, Downtown Austin Alliance, Keep Austin Beautiful, Pease Park Conservancy, Shoal Creek Conservancy, The Trail Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, Waller Creek Conservancy and The YMCA of Austin.

Read our story about our Active Parks Project Grants.

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