Kevin Nelson: Shirley Theel Park: What happened?

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, August 18, 2021

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As had been noted several months ago, due to the underlying composition (mostly clay) of the ground within Shirley Theel Park, it holds water for extended periods of time following rain. Standing water isn’t as evident in Austin this year, given the lack of rain. However, many of us are familiar with the wet conditions which exist within this park during wet or even normal-rainfall years.

Going further back decades, locals used to hunt on that parcel, as it was a high-ground slough, one which retained so much water that people could actually find waterfowl congregating where the park now sits.

So present day, as standing water has continued to hamper recreational activities, even many days after a rainfall, city staff discussed possible solutions, and it was determined that tiling would be the best solution to rid this parcel of standing water.

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The tiling drain was first tied into a storm drain at 25th Street Southwest and Fifth Avenue, so all of the excess ground water will exit into this storm drain. The excavators have now moved on to the actual tiling process within the park, and slowly but surely the sections will be pieced together to form the grid which will work to ensure the space does not return to its slough status.

Instead, following some reseeding, it can be enjoyed for soccer, softball, and other field activities during most non-winter months.

Enjoy your park!