With its unfinished foundation from the 1980’s, Austin’s famous ‘Castle Hill’ is facing demolition after a unanimous vote to clear out the Graffiti Park. The park has been a local attraction since 2007 when it was approved for public use. The graffiti park has many visitors each day from locals and tourists, being especially busy on weekends when people will add to the art, take photos, or just walk around.
Despite the plan for demolition, Austin’s commission noted the importance of Castle Hill to those in Austin, stating that instead of being completely destroyed it would be preserved at the Austin History Center.
With no news yet of what’s taking over space, many in Austin are upset at the news. From heated conversation and angry tweets speaking on the topic, it’s clear that locals to the area are upset with this decision.
“Relocating will not be the same. That place means so much to people.” Twitter user @LeeAnn_Lazarus tweeted. “They’re literally DESTROYING people’s imagination” tweeted another user, @OriginsofPuga.
It’s been seen that this decision is arising frustration from some of Austin’s own young artists. “How will they even credit the artist? And who says which parts conserved?” Sierra Walton (12) said. “It was started in an untraditional way, and that’s what adds value. There’s something special about that.”
Young artists are upset about the demolishing for more than one simple reason. Some see demolishing the Graffiti Park is a mark of gentrification. They notice that it could quickly turn into something that generates more money for the city.
“It’s kind of just implying that all the money the city is making is more important than these places that have so much history for artists in Austin behind it.” Chloe Leline (11) said.
In recent years, Austin has become a more expensive place to live. There’s been a lot of upzoning along with a growing population that people associate with the demolition.
“I feel like it’s part of gentrification,” Kai Bovik (11) said. “It’s most likely going to be replaced by expensive apartments or office buildings which means that the price of the buildings around there will go up leading to local businesses and people who have lived there for years being forced out.”
This process of possible gentrification makes some of Austin feel pushed out of a city they’ve lived in their whole life. Some locals have said they feel Austin’s history being taken away.
“They’re taking away Austin’s culture bit by bit because they believe it’s not suitable to their idea of what Austin should look like,” Shimray said.
Young artists see a lot of issues with this decision and have been speaking up.
“As an artist I feel like they’re taking away a canvas,” Khammila Shimray (11) said. “So many artists have collaborated to work on it so it’s kind of sad to see that go.”