In 1984, a small group of residents from modest nearby
neighborhoods banded together forming the Town Lake Park
Alliance (TLPA) to preserve this city-owned waterfront for
public benefit. TLPA emerged in response to a proposal to
construct a massive mixed-use public and private development
with a convention center adjacent to Palmer Municipal
Auditorium, built on this site in 1959. TLPA developed an
alternative vision: a public park.
Throughout 1984, TLPA gathered 19,577 signatures forcing a
charter referendum on the upcoming ballot. Under the
slogan "Save Town Lake," (the former name of Lady Bird Lake)
proposition 18 sought to make this entire area a public park.
Although proposition 18 was narrowly defeated in January
1985, TLPA remained undeterred. In a short time, the group
advocated for an expanded plan that called for not only
this site to be dedicated parkland, but to protect and enhance
the entire town lake corridor. TLPA urged 1985 city council
candidates to endorse their proposal and successfully
pushed for the election of an environmentally friendly city
council that spring.
TLPA influenced the newly elected council to coherently
assess, plan, and regulate land use along Town Lake from
Red Bud Isle to Montopolis. On July 17, 1986, the city dedicated
these 56 acres as parkland because
a group of passionate
citizens united in advocacy creating a central park amid the
green riverfront. TLPA members continued to champion the
sensitive evolution of the town lake corridor, and the
Alliance Childrens Garden commemorates their legacy.