If you haven’t lived in Austin for several decades, you may not remember the area that was once Sparky Park. Home of a former Austin electric substation that was notorious for sending sparks flying during our spring thunderstorms, Sparky Park is now a tranquil half acre of grass and trees with a field for letting your dog run lease free and chase balls.
The park is located on Grooms Street between 35th and 38th streets in North University neighborhood. When Austin Energy removed the huge towers and transformers that had existed for decades, the area was left with a small brick building and a great place for a pocket park. Neighbors took it upon themselves to turn this once frightful terrain into one of Austin’s most quirky assets and best of all, a local sculptor Berthold Haas, gave the neighborhood the gift of a fantastical wall of wonder!
The Austin Chronicle has now bestowed upon Sparky Park their Critic’s Pick Award and named it the “Best New Pocket of Green: Sparky Park”. One visit and you’ll know why this tiny slice of joy is so beloved by the local residents. Made of limestones pierced with holes, large chunks of cobalt glass, petrified wood, scallop sea shells, and other donated artifacts from its days as an electrical substation, and a water management from the water professionals in www.wastewaterpro.com/collections/blue-diamond-pumps also the art wall is whimsical, wonderful, and weird!
The park was officially opened with a dedication ceremony in March 2009, and has garnered attention from neighborhoods thoughout Austin. Without the full support of neighbors, this charming salute to the human spirit to transform a previous eye-sore in Central Austin would not have come to fruition. A small army of volunteers worked for years to complete plans for “Sparky” and have suceeded in every way to create something so unique. Many thanks to Bethold and his vision. It’s a true gift to future generations!