New in 2020

Here’s a round-up of new(-ish) things to see and do in downtown Austin…

A new mural, “Jeremiah the Innocent & Friends in Zilker Park,” is on display on the fourth floor of the Austin Central Library. This homage, based on the artwork of Daniel Johnston, was created by artist Jason Archer.

Your Biker Gang is a unique way to tour the city: “We’re a professionally guided biker gang themed experience.” Great. Something else to dodge besides electric scooters.

Two gigantic owls now sit near the Second Street “Butterfly” Bridge. Created by New American Public Art, these Kempelen’s Owls are ten feet tall. Each owl sits on top of a round, rotating bench that also rotates the head. I’ve read that the eyes and the perches light up at night.

Last Saturday afternoon I took this photo of another bird art sculpture in front of Austin City Hall. As I was checking on the sculpture’s title and creator (“Ganador” by Christy Stallop), I discovered that someone burned it to the ground last night! R.I.P. Ganador.

The plantings around the Waller Creek Tunnel outlet have filled in nicely and remind me of a large water garden. This tunnel was built to reduce flooding risks on the east side of downtown. Tunnel construction delays and other issues have kept Waterloo Park (on the creek about 12 blocks north) closed since 2011. Recent news reports say that Waterloo Park and its trendy Moody Amphitheater may be opening later this year.

I was obsessed with these public restrooms on the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail when they were first opened-but-not-really in 2015. (You can read all about it in my Please Hold It and Please Hold It A Little Longer, Ladies blog entries.) Well, the saga continues. The restrooms are closed again because “the old sewer line has developed sags that have caused backups in these restroom facilities.” Back to the porta-potties.

Finally, I must mention all the new buildings at the former Green Water Treatment Plant site. The Northside, Seaholm Residences, Austin Proper Hotel and Residences, and The Independent are mostly completed now. One office building, 500 W. 2nd Street, is done, and work has begun on another one named Third + Shoal. And I must not forget the Austin Central Library. None of these buildings were even started when Bill and I moved downtown in 2010.

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