NEWS FROM MAYFIELD PARK 2014
Mayfield Park/ Community Project
Once again we have been busy inside the walls of Mayfield. On March 1st we celebrated “It’s My Park Day” with our good friends and neighbors from Frost Bank by spreading special hard wood mulch on the garden paths. Our annual fundraiser Trowel & Error 2014 came on April 5th, and we had another outstanding turnout to hear our excellent speakers. Karen tells us that through donations and sponsorships we cleared around $5,600. A big “Thank You” to both those who gave their time to speak to us and to those who came to learn and to support the park. With the financial help of the Austin Parks Foundation we completed the remedial erosion control work in front of the gazebo wedding area on the south side of the garden and also in the southeast corner of the cottage grounds where there is a gate into the Preserve. The Parks Department stepped up and replaced the cedar shingle roof on the dovecote. Our over 30 individual volunteer gardeners have been diligent, their patch garden plots reflect their efforts, and our general volunteer workday the second Saturday of each month has been well attended. Our peafowls are in fine shape and their lusty serenade of lovers who come to Mayfield was named a Critic’s Choice “Best of Austin” in the Austin Chronicle.
The Mayfield Council wants to thank those who have given their money, but especially those who have given their time, to the preservation and maintenance of this true gem in the City’s parks system. The Mayfield Cottage and Grounds, a City of Austin historic landmark and a National Registered District, would not be what it is today without these volunteer efforts.
We have a couple of projects we are undertaking this coming year, and we could use some help, please.
In 1986 the Mayfield Council commissioned and paid for the original Mayfield Park Master Plan and that document has guided the rehabilitation and restoration efforts at the park for the last 28 years. While the structural bones of the cottage and grounds have remained fairly static, the landscape has continued to evolve over time and through changing environments. The trees have matured, and along with some badly placed volunteer palms, the areas of shade and sun have changed since the Gutsches first planted the gardens. These changes have affected where and what is planted and thrives on the grounds, a good example being the lack of viable rosebushes in the historic Rose Beds. It is time for a new master plan, this time focused on the landscape.
The Mayfield Council has formally commissioned the noted Historic Preservation Landscape Architect Catherine O’Conner to work with the Mayfield Council in coordination with the City’s Parks & Recreation Department (PARD), and the scope of the project will focus on the historic landscape of Mayfield and its long-term preservation needs. Areas of research, analysis, and documentation will include historic and existing circulation, vegetation, hardscape elements and topography. The ultimate objective is to develop a plan that will assess and prioritize landscape preservation needs, interpretative
goals, maintenance practices, and establish a platform toward the development of sustainable practices. The projected cost is approximately $18,500.
Tying into the above project and in coordination with the PARD we have begun a structural evaluation of the 1,200 feet of perimeter rock wall that surround and define the cottage and gardens. Since the City acquired the park in the 1970’s there have been intermittent repairs to the rock wall that have not always been consistent with the original materials or design. Last year a fifteen-foot section of the west wall collapsed and it was feared that the foundation of the entire wall was over time proving to be unsound. Mayfield’s good friend Kim McKnight of PARD has committed the City to bringing in Brian Ash, a historic mason from San Marcos to do this first repair. While Brian’s crew is on site, and based on a consultation with a structural engineer and a historic architect, they will do a demonstration project on the east wall that should bring about long term stability without having to take the wall down. Over time the interior mortar in the walls has deteriorated and become unsound and now must be replaced through the circulation of a slurry-like mortar mix. Once the interior integrity is restored, the walls will be repointed and recapped using a mortar recipe more consistent with what was originally used. The eventual cost of this project is unknown, but this is work that must be done.
For tax purposes, contributions to the Mayfield Park/Community Project are channeled through an IRS § 501(c)(3) entity (Austin Community Foundation, MP/CP Fund) and can be sent to:
Mayfield Park/Community Project
Austin, Texas 78703
Austin Community Foundation
Mayfield Park/Community Project Fund
4315 Guadalupe Street
Austin, Texas 78751
Keep us in mind and come visit the park. We are expecting you.
Blake Tollett, Chair
3701 Bonnie Road 78703
The Mayfield Council
Karen Cannatti Rick Chance Janice Brown Tom Kidd
Tricia Ziegler Barbara Watt Sharon Lamb Shirley Koeller