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Big changes slated for small East Austin park

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TWC News: Big changes slated for small East Austin park
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It only stretches a few blocks, but a small park in East Austin has the eye of city planners.

Gertrude Patton tends to plants on her porch and looks out at the stretch of park land known as J.J. Seabrook Park every day.

"We pick up trash and clean out the creek,” Patton said. “Do our trees, fertilize our trees and trim our trees."

Pershing Drive bisects the park, which stretches from Martin Luther King Boulevard to just south of Manor Road.

Kristin Pipkin with the Austin Watershed Protection Department is working on plans to make the park more inviting.

"They want to be able to go to the creek and be able to explore the creek again in an area that has been underappreciated and undervalued so far," Pipken said.

Pipkin says that while the park is small, it's a priority for the city because it feeds into Tannehill Creek, a stream Pipkin says has poor water quality.

She says improving the water quality begins along the creek bank.

"You use native plants in these features, and they help remove pollutants from the water that it captures as well," Pipkin said.

Patton says she's seen very few changes to this area in the past 50 years.

"Watershed people come and they talk about improving this and improving that, but we haven't gotten anything yet," Patton said.

Pipkin's certain the area will look a lot different soon. She has a plan she continues to tweak each week in response to feedback from neighbors.

She says the latest changes include adding a pedestrian bridge, so visitors can access both sides of the creek.

A trail will also be added to connect other neighborhood trails north and south of the area.

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