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Public engagement pop-up event this Saturday will envision the future of Drake Bridge Commons

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AUSTIN (April 24, 2019) —The Trail Foundation, in partnership with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department, invites Austinites to the first community input event for the new Drake Bridge Commons project this Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m., on the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail under the 1st St. bridge.

The community is encouraged to drop by to learn more about Austin’s history and share ideas for the future of Drake Bridge Commons. Feedback will help create a plan for improvements that reflect community needs.

The Drake Bridge Commons project will transform the space under the 1st Street Bridge and surrounding hillsides into a new public amenity linking downtown to the Butler Trail and Lady Bird Lake.

At the event this Saturday, improvisational actors will portray three important Austinites and their legacies. William (Bill) Drake, Emma Long, and Walter Seaholm were all city leaders in Austin in the 1950s. The South 1st St. bridge was renamed for Bill Drake, who was elected to the Austin City Council in 1949 and served as mayor of Austin from 1951 to 1952. Drake was known for the energy he brought to the city, his diplomacy, and civic attitude. He died in 1967.

“We are excited to work with the community to create an engaging space on this unique section of the Butler Trail,” says Heidi Anderson, executive director of The Trail Foundation.

“The intent is to create a memorable space under the north side of the Drake Bridge, and to consider new walking surfaces and an improved water’s edge. Because the under-bridge condition is so dark, it offers possibilities for dramatic treatments in the use of lighting, water, and materials,” Anderson says.

In keeping with the spirit of Drake, Long, and Seaholm’s legacy, the new space will be created using three themes: Equitable Access, Ecological Imagination, and Irresistible Attraction. Program elements could include Trail improvements, green stormwater infrastructure, lighting, water access, seating, donor recognition, interpretive features, and more.

“Our initial concepts, dubbed ‘Dock’ and ‘Rock,’ draw on our collective memories of fundamental landscapes as invitations for the public to imagine diverse experiences as they discover this new public space. From these abstract beginnings, we will use community input to customize an authentic place around Austin’s preferred ways of using the space,” says Nate Cormier, managing studio director of Rios Clementi Hale Studios, the firm hired by TTF to lead the conceptual design for the project.

Rios Clementi Hale Studios is a multi-disciplinary, award-winning design firm that recently opened offices in Austin. Established in Los Angeles in 1985, RCH Studios is highly regarded for their transdisciplinary approach to design.

Residents unable to attend on Saturday are encouraged to take an online survey about the future of the facility and to visit for information about upcoming meetings.

Drake Bridge Commons is a project of TTF’s Corgan Canopy Fund and was announced in 2018 as one of 15 projects for TTF’s 15th anniversary.


About The Trail Foundation

The Trail Foundation’s mission is to protect, enhance, and connect the Butler Hike-and-Bike-Trail at Lady Bird Lake for the benefit of all. The Butler Trail is the 10-mile lush, urban path in the heart of Austin that gets more than 4.4 million visits every year. Since it was founded in 2003, The Trail Foundation has achieved restoration and beautification projects to the Trail’s infrastructure and environment, while honoring the original vision of the Trail’s founders and ensuring its vibrancy for generations to come. For more information, please visit

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