Mount Bonnell

Visitors of Mount Bonnell take in  the scenic view of Lake Austin on Tuesday afternoon. The West Point Society of Central Texas has proposed a plan to replace the limestone monument with an inscription dedicated by the Covert family with a black-and-white granite replica.

Photo Credit: Mikhaela Locklear | Daily Texan Staff

Both natives and visitors to Austin who enjoy the expansive views of the city from Mount Bonnell may see changes to fixtures at Covert Park if a proposed plan is approved by Austin City Council.

The West Point Society of Central Texas, which serves the local community of West Point graduates, adopted the park as part of the Adopt-a-Park program in 2010, society member Stan Bacon said.

The society hopes to make landscape renovations to the park including the addition of benches and handrails. Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department will be holding a community input meeting Feb. 20 at 6:30 p.m. to field concerns from the public.

Covert Park, which is named after the family who donated the property to the city of Austin in 1939, features a limestone monument with an inscription dedicated by the Covert family. The society plans to replace the monument with a black-and-white granite replica, Bacon said.

Bacon said the Covert family is willing to donate $20,000 to replace the monument but would not be willing to pay to simply restore the existing monument. He said funds for the other renovations would come from a city grant of $50,000 and in-kind contributions from community members, amounting to a total of more than $100,000.

The city’s Parks and Recreation Department previously considered the plan and then withdrew its proposal after receiving opposition from members of the Historic Landmark Commission, Bacon said. The West Point Society is now bringing the plan to the City Council for appeal. 

“The Covert family would not pay for restoration because the city had allowed the marker to disintegrate, and if we lost that money we would lose the grant,” Bacon said. “Not only would the grant go away, but the reason that Mt. Bonnell was designated a historic landmark in 1991 was primarily because of its many visitors and views, and had nothing to do with any structures on it, so there was no point in [objecting].”

Jacqui Schraad, executive director of Preservation Austin, which advocates for preserving historical landmarks throughout the city, said the organization does not support replacing the original limestone monument, as it is one of the oldest man-made elements on the property. Other parts of the West Point Society’s proposal have merit, she said, but do not involve historic aspects of the park.

Justin Chandler, chemical engineering and chemistry senior, said replacing the current monument with a granite one would take away from the natural aspect of the park, which is situated on a limestone foundation.

“It would just stand out more,” Chandler said. “If you want to kind of project history and make it more noticeable, then it’s good on that point, whereas if it was granite sticking out, it would look less natural. My personal view is I would be less concerned with the historical, and more with the natural aesthetics.”

Published on February 13, 2013 as "Renovations proposed at park". 

The newly renovated Kerbey Lane Cafe provides the campus area with 24 hour service of varied genres of food.

Photo Credit: Pu Ying Huang | Daily Texan Staff

“Hi, how are you? Do you want to walk around SoCo, or hike Mount Bonnell? Actually, I’m hungry. Let’s go to Home Slice Pizza.” If you recognized some of these Austin terms, kudos to you. If not, do not fret; such Austin novelties become unremarkable over time. To get a head start on becoming a proud and knowledgeable Austinite, check out the list of items below, and impress your non-Austin friends with your hip lingo.

Kerbey Queso: “I’ve been to Kerbey Lane, but I have never heard of Kerbey Queso,” freshman Sam Lukenbach said. One of Kerbey Lane’s most popular items, Kerbey Queso can feed a table of four. Filled with queso, shredded onions, tomatoes and topped off with guacamole, Kerbey Queso becomes an instant favorite for anybody who tries it.

410, 411 & 412: Become familiar with these numbers, especially if you plan on venturing to downtown Austin soon. All three are bus shuttles that will pick you up at various places on campus and on Riverside. They begin running in the evening and usually stop at 2:47 in the morning. So if you don’t want to walk from downtown to campus or Riverside (or vice versa), make sure you catch one of these buses on the Drag. And be wary of the white bags; you’ll understand once you see them.

Dirty Sixth: This is just a fancier (or nastier) way of saying Sixth Street. I’m not going to spoil the fun. You’ll eventually find out why one of Austin’s most wild streets is the dirtiest of them all.

WINGO: Separately, wings and bingo are already great things. But together — it’s almost euphoric. On Thursdays, Pluckers Wing Bar has its weekly WINGO event, where customers can participate in a night of wild bingo. The prizes usually consist of Pluckers gift cards and shots (if you’re 21 or older, that is).

SoCo: South Congress? No. You want to be a hip Austinite, remember? Therefore, always be sure to say SoCo around your fellow Austin friends. There are many great places to be discovered on this cultural street. Home Slice Pizza, various food trucks and other interesting places await you on SoCo. A few words of advice though: be ready to walk.

Home Slice Pizza: This joint is a hot spot in Austin, and it’s totally worth the trip. Sure, it’s much more expensive than your average Little Caesars, but it’s really delicious. Who doesn’t want to fold up a hot, greasy New York-style pizza and finish it off with some sweet cannoli? If your mouth is not already watering, you may need a taste bud checkup.

“Hi, How Are You?”: If you’ve passed that one building on the corner of 21st and Guadalupe streets, you’ve probably seen that frog-looking illustration on the side. Drawn by singer-songwriter Daniel Johnston, the drawing has become a significant part of Austin’s culture. People have taken pictures in front of it, and Kurt Cobain even wore a T-shirt with the design on it. So when someone says, “Let’s check out that ‘Hi, How Are You?’ drawing,” you’ll know what they’re talking about.

Greenbelt: There are multiple greenbelts throughout Austin, and each one offers a great time. Barton Creek, Onion Creek and Waller Creek alike are urban areas built to protect natural environments. They provide plenty of activities for visitors, and some even have trails and hiking locations. If you’re feeling adventurous one day, Austin’s many greenbelts have got you covered.

Mount Bonnell: Speaking of hiking locations, Mount Bonnell is another place worth checking out. The walk up is exhausting, but once you get to the top, you can see everything: the city of Austin, Lake Austin and the surrounding hills. All are beautiful sights, especially at night.

Of course there are many other Austin terms and attractions I could inform you about, but that would spoil the fun. You need to explore and get to know the wonderful city you now call home, so go out there and start becoming a great Austinite.

Photo Credit: Marisa Vasquez | Daily Texan Staff

As 13-year-olds, my best friend and I would often picnic in the elementary school playground nearest my house. By “picnic,” I mean we would sit in the abandoned-for-the-summer playground and sloppily devour pints of ice cream we had just purchased at the nearby CVS with spoons stolen from the nearby McDonald’s. At the time, I couldn’t imagine a better picnic. However, after a week spent researching the best picnic spots in Austin, I believe I’ve come across at least four places that put my ice cream feast to shame. So the next time you feel like getting out of the house, take your best friend/significant other/favorite pet to one of these four spots and take a shot at the accompanying menus. Don’t worry: you won’t have to steal a single spoon from Mickey D.’s.

All of the following locations have no entrance fees.

Mount Bonnell, 3800 Mount Bonnell Drive

Known for its romantic view of Lake Austin, Mt. Bonnell presents a challenge to the eager picnicker: the steep set of stairs that brings you to 785-foot summit makes lugging a cooler a hellish affair. Instead, pack light: Spread some Brie on two sides of a sliced baguette and top it with sliced figs. Wrap it in parchment paper and bring a Mexia peach for dessert. If you want something more filling, add some prosciutto to the sandwich. With a picnic this compact, you can eat while perched on the most precarious of limestone ledges and get the best of Mt. Bonnell’s amazing views.

Ease of Enjoyment: The climb is steep, but the picnic is easy. There aren’t any bathrooms, so bring wet wipes for your hands.

Mayfield Park, 3505 West 35th Street

Just below Mount Bonnell, a well-kept garden full of preening peacocks anchors this former-estate-cum-nature preserve’s 22 green acres. The ancient cottage just inside the park’s gate, recently restored, gives the place the feel of an abandoned, old Hollywood property. Spread out your picnic blanket on the grass behind the cottage or, on the less busy weekdays, the stone path between the koi ponds. Make sure to bring a feast that complements your avian friend’s plumage — say red quinoa tossed with pesto and feta with sides of watermelon and cherries. Perhaps best of all, if you neglect to bring a friend/date/dog, the peacocks will happily join your feast. Just make sure to shoo them away from your quinoa — they will devour it.

Ease of Enjoyment: Parking is easy, the paths are flat, and there are tables as well as a myriad of grassy spots.

Treaty Oak Square and Central Park, 507 Baylor Street and 4001 N. Lamar, respectively

These bite-sized parks are grouped together because they share picnic spot traits: Though their decidedly urban locations won’t get you closer to nature, both of them are situated less than a city block away from high-end grocery stores. Central Park is located directly behind Central Market, while Treaty Oak Square is near Whole Foods. Even smaller than Central Park, Treaty Oak Square claims only a single tree — the 500-year-old treaty oak, a legendary meeting spot for the Tonkowa and Commanche Native Americans.

Ease of Enjoyment: The 1L bus will take you straight to Central Park, or you can park in Central Market’s parking lot. Parking is scarce around Treaty Oak Square, but pay-to-park spots are available. As for the picnic, is there anything easier than buying it pre-packaged at the grocery store?

Open Room Sculpture, Sand Beach Park, below the Pfluger Bridge

A project of the Art in Public Places government program, this sculpture consists of a long picnic table covered in a lacy aluminum tablecloth and four tree-like chandeliers that light the area at night. It is difficult to access (you’ll have to find parking downtown and take a walk along Lady Bird Lake), but if you’re going for a picnic, you should also go for a stroll. Your picnic should be as classically American as the table feels: Go with macaroni and potato salad and apple pie for dessert, with fruit sides.

Ease of Enjoyment: You may find yourself sharing your table with strangers or sitting on the ground. Though definitely not the easiest spot to reach, once there, there’s nothing to do but enjoy yourself.