At the last Friends of Wooldridge Square (FOWS) meeting at the History Center, Michael McGill stepped down as Chair of FOWS and Charles Peveto and Mitchell McGovern stepped in as Co-Chairs of the group. On September 27, National Public Lands Day, FOWS hosted a Volunteer Day from 8-11AM. The volunteers focused on weeding the mulched areas around the Wooldridge trees. FOWS will be scheduling a Mulch Day in Wooldridge sometime in November.
FOWS is working with DANA, DAA, APF, PARD and OANA on bringing back programming to Wooldridge Square. Austin now has over fifteen thousand downtown residents and there is an even greater need for beautiful and functioning public space in Downtown Austin. Wooldridge Square is one of three remaining four public Squares leased to the City of Austin by the Sate of Texas in 1839, included as part of the city master plan drawn up by Edwin Waller. Wooldridge is the only Square that has retained it’s original historical integrity and the Square has three important historical designations: National Register of Historic Places, Austin City Landmark and State Archeological Landmark. In 2012, PARD made the decision to close Wooldridge Square for one year to do major rehabilitation of the historic Square. A complete new irrigation system, new turf and eleven new trees were installed at the Square, headed by PARD landscape architect Marty Stump. Kim McKnight of PARD and Michael McGill & FOWS worked with preservation architect Tere O’Connell of Volz-O’Connell-Hutson Associates to develop a rehabilitation plan for the historic Bandstand, designed in 1910 by Page Brothers.
On September 13-14 2013 DAA, APF, FOWS and all of our downtown partners welcomed all the citizens of Austin at a Re-Opening of the beautifully rehabilitated historic Wooldridge Square with a series of talks, celebration events, including three Austin Symphony performances three different weekends during last Fall.
FOWS continues to work with all of our downtown partners on finding appropriate programming for the park and finding a permanent food vendor that will service the park most mornings and lunch periods. FOWS is currently working with PARD to begin a formal planning process that will incorporate a public process for the next phase of Wooldridge Square. FOWS would like to welcome our downtown residents to join our group and contribute ideas and time on maintaining one of Austin’s true important gems!
On November 21 PARD will be receiving an award honoring the incredible work they performed at Wooldridge Square in the last two years! The award is Preservation Austin’s award for “Preservation of a Cultural Landscape, and will be presented at the Annual Awards Luncheon at the Driskill Hotel, November 21, 11:30am-1:30pm.