Hancock Golf Course Community Engagement Update

This update provides information regarding the three major action items set for accomplishment by the close of the year; historical designation, reclaimed water and concession options.

Historic Designation

In consultation with the Historic Preservation Office, the Parks and Recreation Department has reviewed options with regard to the historical designation of Hancock Golf Course and Recreation Center. The recommendation is as follows: pursuit of a local historic district for the golf course site, which includes the clubhouse and grounds, as well as individual City of Austin Landmark designation for the clubhouse. The different designations are summarized below.

Local Historic District for Hancock Golf Course

For the site as a whole, the Department recommends pursing a Local Historic District. For large parks and sites, a district designation is the appropriate tool. Local Historic District designation will provide protection for the character defining features of the site through the development of design guidelines. Features and buildings are defined as contributing or non-contributing. The clubhouse would be contributing to the property; however a modern playscape would be listed as non-contributing. Once the local Historic District is in place, the Department may choose to pursue National Register District to boost marking efforts. It is interesting to note more than 30 golf courses around the country are designated as National Register Districts. A local example of a park designation as a National Register Historic District is Zilker Park.

City of Austin Historic Landmark

While the 1934 Hancock Recreation Center would be protected by the Local Historic District designation, the Department also proposes that we also pursue a Historic Landmark designation. The combination of these planning tools is most appropriate for this beloved historic site.


As previously stated, the Department will present this recommendation to the Golf Advisory this month and then to the Parks Board in September, 2012. The Department will provide this information to Council and prepare an application for review and award. The application preparation requires research and expertise in historic preservation. The Department has these resources and will need to balance this project with existing workloads but expects to prepare and submit the nomination for the spring of 2013.

Reclaimed Waterline

The reclaimed waterline has successfully been through the permitting and approval process. The installation of the lines is to be completed by Department golf and irrigation staff and while originally scheduled to begin near the end of August, will now begin in September. Please know this delay is in part due to a slower than expected permitting process and also hinges on the completion of the Morris Williams golf course renovations. A more exact date for the project start will be forwarded in the near future.


The Department has been exploring options of expanded concessions and the “risk-rewards” associated with the Department assuming responsibility for food and beverage concessions (including alcohol sales). The City’s Risk Management Department as well as the Legal Department are working closely with staff to determine the most appropriate course of action. It is expected a final determination will be made by October, 2012. Based upon the recommendation, the Department will create a specific action plan to address concessions.


The Department received a very comprehensive report regarding our current marketing efforts. Based upon this report, the Department is exploring the possibility of creating a position specific to implementing a Department wide marketing plan. The creation of this position is currently being explored and proposed to the Parks and Recreation Department executive team for consideration. The most critical factor to creating this position is allocating adequate funding. If/when this position is created, it will be advertised as a job opening on the City of Austin website and applications will be accepted and reviewed as is standard practice. More updates to follow.

Based upon feedback received at the Community Engagement Session, the Department identified a few items that were easily addressed. Please know the following has also been completed:

  • Established a partnership with the First Tee of Greater Austin, implementing a junior golf program where junior members from the First Tee are now able come play the golf course for free with an accompanied paying adult.
  • A work order for updated signs on the property has been placed through Austin311. Signage will be updated with 8-10 weeks.
  • A golf equipment and merchandise vendor list has been compiled. Discussions will continue on the development of an equipment demo day at the facility.
  • Compiling a comprehensive list of home owner associations and neighborhood association contacts to better advertise Hancock Golf Course’s programs and services.
  • The Golf Division hired an Events Coordinator as a full-time position to improve management of tournaments, programs and events.

I am happy to provide additional details regarding our progress. Thank you for your support in this effort.

Kimberly McNeeley, Assistant Director
Austin Parks and Recreation Department