The Austin Parks Basis has laid out its plans to revive the beloved prepare previously referred to as the Zilker Zephyr, which ceased operations final yr. In January 2020, after greater than twenty years in operation, the homeowners of the Zephyr introduced in a Facebook post that they have been shutting down for good after rainstorms in 2019 rendered the prepare inoperable.

Concurrently, contract negotiations between the enterprise homeowners and the Parks and Recreation Division broke down. In accordance with the submit, the homeowners requested a five-year extension to their contract, an quantity town wasn’t prepared or capable of meet on the time.

To fill the outlet left by the Zephyr, the Austin Parks Basis has stepped up and brought on the accountability of bringing a prepare again to Zilker. In accordance with Parks Basis CEO Colin Wallis, Metropolis Council requested the group to take over the venture.

The Parks and Recreation Board convened on Feb. 23 to listen to a presentation from the muse. Throughout their presentation, Ladye Anne Wofford, Parks Basis chief mission officer, highlighted 4 focus areas for the brand new prepare: preserving the custom of getting a prepare at Zilker; enhancing the expertise for Austinites; effectivity; and neighborhood funding.

The Parks Basis is having a brand new prepare custom-built and new tracks laid down, investing in panorama upgrades within the space, and is trying to fund your entire venture itself. Proper now, the muse estimates the venture would require a finances of $800,000.

In accordance with Wofford, that estimate doesn’t embody working prices like workforce wants, wages and a ticketing system for riders. She went on to say that when the prepare is up and working, the venture will “ideally pay for itself.”

As the muse is figuring out the logistics of a concessions settlement with town, they’re sure they need at the least a five-year contract.

Wofford mentioned, “We’re taking a look at a minimal of a five-year settlement, however we additionally know that we wish the prepare to stay on for much longer than that.”

She additionally hinted at a loftier aim for the brand new prepare: aiding with transportation wants round Zilker.

“We do assume there’s quite a lot of potential for the prepare to turn out to be greater than only a quick trip. It may presumably additionally turn out to be a people-mover, which we expect may assist handle among the parking points and different considerations folks have had about accessing Zilker Park,” Wofford mentioned.

On the entire, board members appeared happy with the thought and evaluation that went into the presentation.

Board Member Fred Morgan went so far as to say, “Nice presentation, and I’m wanting ahead to taking my four-year-old granddaughter on prepare rides.”

Although most of the particulars are nonetheless being sorted out, the Parks Basis web site estimates an open date of this year. Wallis closed the presentation with some cautious optimism: “Clearly, we’re not within the prepare enterprise … nor did we ever anticipate being within the prepare enterprise … but it surely’s a labor of affection and we expect it’s properly price it.”

Photograph by Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 3.0, through Wikimedia Commons.

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