If natural green space feeds the soul, then the Mueller spirit is well nourished. Twenty percent of the neighborhood is dedicated to parkland and open areas.
With approximately 140 acres of dedicated land, including more than five miles of hike and bike trails meandering through the neighborhood, the Mueller redevelopment area is approaching its goal for every resident to live less than 600 feet away from green space. More than 15,000 trees will eventually make their home in the community, while over 270 trees will be protected or moved. Once all five planned parks are completed, the green space will help protect the watershed and ease the effect of the city’s heat island.
Native Plant Life Rekindled
Experts at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center selected much of the vegetation. Native plants, including 14 species of Texas wildflowers and several dozen grasses, help reclaim blackland soil formerly compacted beneath the airport parking lots. With a nod to the past, developers planted a 3-acre tallgrass prairie, representative of a savanna that once extended from Central Texas to Manitoba.
Mueller’s commitment to green fortifies Austin’s ranking as the 17th greenest city in America. In an effort to reduce water consumption, Mueller developers have pledged to landscape using only native plants. In addition, community-wide irrigation exclusively employs reclaimed gray water.
“Mommy, Can We Go to Lake Park?”
At 30 acres, Lake Park, located at the intersection of Mueller Boulevard and Aldrich Street, is the largest in the Mueller plan. Opened in 2008, features include the 6.5-acre lake adjacent to Mueller Central, interactive playscapes, an amphitheater with a stage for live performances, a picnic peninsula and a crushed granite loop trail for hiking and biking.
With seven play areas, Lake Park has become a destination for families with toddlers and older children. The distinctive fenced-in playground is described as “crazy cool” by locals. Designed by British company KOMPAN, the sleek playscape elements resemble sculptural pieces of art that are definitely non-traditional and full of motion. Playground essentials like swings, slides and merry-go-rounds are represented here, but in exciting new shapes and operating in unusual directions. By design, all the twirling and spinning generates absolute delight in visitors.
One of the playground’s most celebrated features is the sandbox, thanks to an uncommonly useful feature: a button-operated water spigot. With just a little water, sand sculptures are easier to build, and all things sand are so much more fun.
Special Events in Lake Park
Lake Park hosts regular events, such as the popular “Movies in the Park.” And an exciting addition to the land around Simond and Aldrich just opposite Lake Park is the new location of the Austin Children’s Museum.
“This park is a fantastic piece of 78723 (East Central),” says area resident Ashley Storey. “Where else in Austin can you view downtown, find plenty of trails, open fields, playgrounds, unique architecture, a lake, ducks, an amphitheater stage, and ample parking? Right here, where the old Austin airport used to be!”