Post-ACL maintenance to keep Zilker Park closed until Oct. 23

Estefania Espinosa

The northern part of Zilker Metropolitan Park will be closed through Oct. 23 following Austin City Limits Music Festival. This includes 11 days of setup, the two event weekends, a week of stage removal and a week for Austin Parks and Recreation Department to perform maintenance.

The rest of the park will remain open to the public during this time, with the exception of the six days of the music festival.

Erica Ellis, who attends ACL every year, said she is used to not being able to access all of the park occasionally.

“I do stay away during those times,” Ellis, who moved to Austin from Houston eight years ago, said. “That’s just the name of the game though. There are certain times when it’s crowded here also.”

The city rents out the space, also called the Great Lawn, to C3 Presents, which manages ACL. The contract stipulates that C3 Presents will fix any issues that arise as a result of the event.

“Basically, we’re not in charge of the event,” Shelley Parks, public information officer for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, said. “C3 is in charge, but we do have the authority to cancel the event if the weather means the grounds will irreparably damaged.”

Parks said department personnel walk the grounds with C3 Presents representatives daily, checking on the trees and that the ground is not too muddy. The company also helped the city plant grass that is more resilient to trampling, according to Parks.

“They’re really good about making sure they keep Zilker Park manageable,” Parks said.

Levi Nussman, a student at St. Edward’s University, said he thinks traffic congestion around Zilker makes it a poor location for the festival. Even though he doesn’t visit the park often, Nussman said the traffic still affects his daily travel.

“It doesn’t directly affect me getting into Zilker,” Nussman said. “But it about doubles my commute to work every day.”

Parks said it’s impossible to know how many people are affected by the closures, because the city doesn’t keep track of park visitors, and some of those may also attend the music festival.

Bobby Henry, who works nearby and visits the park about three times per week, said he doesn’t mind the closures and detours that occur as a result of ACL.

“It’s just for a little while,” Henry said. “It brings a lot of people in.”

ACL will take place at Zilker Park Oct. 2–4 and Oct. 9–11.