I arrived at Shipe Park on the morning of Saturday, March 7 around 7:30 a.m. to start setting up for the annual It’s My Park Day (IMPD). First thing to do was to set out traffic cones to reserve parking along Avenue F for Austin Fire Department’s Engine #9. Firefighters were expected to show up at the park to meet all the volunteers and sell some cool firefighter t-shirts. Next, members of the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department (PARD) pulled up with some new park benches and a trash can, which they installed over the next few hours. Landscape materials had been delivered the day before, which were distributed by volunteers—Dillo Dirt at the playing field and mulch around all the trees
By 8:00 a.m. many more folks started showing up, including IMPD project leaders, Rhonda & Philip Baird, who received this year’s second annual Friends of Shipe Park (FoSP) Park Hero award, and Jack and Jill Nokes, with tools, t-shirts & their kind love of all things natural and beautiful—and on and on until we increased our number to easily 300 people. Folks from the Wheatsville Food Coop, the Austin Software Council, and members of a UT fraternity were a few of the larger groups that arrived for the occasion.
By 9:00 a.m., banners from It’s Shipe Park Day sponsors, HPNA & the FoSP, were flying. Participants then swarmed over the park and must have completed in three hours an amount of work which would have normally taken three months. This year’s entertainment, the Lost Pines Band, was thoroughly enjoyed by all. All seemed to be smiling ear to ear; and if they weren’t working, they were dancing.
Thanks are owed to all the organizers and participants. By any measure, IMPD 2015 was as good as it gets. The work performed was perfectly executed by a community of folks who love their neighborhood.
Chair, HPNA Parks & Public Space Committee