Butler Trail South East Shore Planning

I attended the Butler Trail (otherwise known as the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail) planning meeting. This was for public input and nothing is even remotely set in stone yet. Here are my notes:

  • New (much larger) restrooms and a water fountain are currently being built where the boardwalk ends where the old restroom hut was. These are happening.
  • A lot of support for having as much peaceful, natural area as possible.
  • There was not support for having concessions or amplified concerts.
  • Trail and bridge in front of the hostel building is coming soon. Trail Foundation already has funds.
  • As part of new Holly Shores park there was discussion of a pedestrian bridge connecting Holly Park on the North with the peninsula. There was a small, but very vocal contingent from the Holly neighborhood opposed to this.
  • Propose expanding the pedestrian tunnel under Pleasant Valley 4 to 5 times its current size and adding lighting.
  • A native orchard was proposed at the corner of Pleasant Valley and Lakeshore. A green classroom, natural children’s play area (think more the hill in Butler park/a labyrinth; not a playscape) was also proposed for that area.
  • There is a proposal for a new dam. The current path over the dam was pretty much everyone’s top priority (as well as at the Holly Park planning meeting), but unfortunately is not in the scope of this project. It has to be part of the new dam. If anyone has more info on that planning process or kickstarting it I think there would be massive community interest in getting the ball rolling on that.
  • February 25th there will be boards at city hall. They’re going to try to get them there by lunch time, so you can drop by during the day, view the proposals, and put post it notes on them with your opinions.

Those are my bullet points. A weird point happened that seemed especially pertinent relative to the current Mabel Davis/Winnebago Lane dog park situation. The top two comment getters were the bridges. The third was around dog parks. When asked to summarize the helper said that the comments were for no dog park. Thankfully a woman stepped up and pointed out that there were quite a few post-its in favor of a dog park. The facilitator was somewhat dismissive (in my opinion) and said they’d count them.

I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but it makes me realize that people who want things are going to start having to be assertive. We think following directions and putting down that we’re in favor of them will be enough. That someone will tally the votes and the majority will have their say. But it really highlighted to me tonight that the people who’d come up to the facilitator and talked her ear off about how much they didn’t want a dog park had clearly made a much bigger impression than the 10+ politely written post-it notes in favor of one.

A little sad that arts people weren’t out to support replacing the Dougherty Arts Center functions moving to the hostel.

If we want to have nice things we have to use the tactics of the bullies who continually seem to get their way.

  • We need multiple people there. Even just two. The Holly Street group only had about 4, but they made an impact.
  • We need to have an organized message before hand. And potentially regroup and craft a custom message there.
  • We need to raise our voices. Facilitators allow people who sound passionate or angry to talk (there was a long diatribe about rowing programs getting kids into college). They tend to cut off or redirect people who are talking politely.
  • We need to not be afraid to speak.

Otherwise we’re going to keep questioning why we get amenities that you can’t walk to, that are poorly planned, and that don’t accommodate the things we want to do there. If you’d like dog parks in the area and would like to work on that cause please do drop me a line.