The Early Years, the Country Club Era!

In the very early years 1965-1985, social life and recreational activities in Lakeway centered mostly around the Lakeway Inn, the Marina, the Golf Clubs, the World of Tennis and Lake Travis.

Prior to 1990 Lakeway had only two small parks; Porpoise Park was no more than an empty lot; Dragon Park had only sparse facilities. Dragon was minimally maintained by the Lakeway Civic Corporation, LCC! Two waterfront parks, Rebel & Sunfish, were never developed; sadly the LCC began issuing illegal private boat dock permits for the latter parks.

Initially swimming was available at the pools located at the Lakeway Inn, however access was limited to citizens who lived in areas developed by the Lakeway Company. These pools were not available to children living in Lohmans Estates or other areas not developed by the Lakeway Company. This pool privilege ended with the bankruptcy of the Lakeway Company circa 1990. Swimming was also available at the World of Tennis however this pool was small and only available to residents who were members of the World of Tennis.

Circa 1988, the Hamilton’s donated funds to purchase the Hamilton Greenbelts I & II, again these properties were maintained by the LCC and only sparsely developed; the 2 greenbelts remained unconnected.

Prior to 1990 the City had no parks department or interest in parks. Previous to this time, the citizens looked to developer to add recreational facilities. Indeed, the developer, the Lakeway Company had added the Lakeway Inn & Marina , the Live Oak, Yaupon, & Hills Golf Courses, and the World of Tennis. Sadly all these facilities were private and only available to those willing to pay the fees. There was talk of the developer building a new Country Club with expanded facilities, however nothing came of these discussions. Circa 1988, the Lakeway Company declared bankrupcy; over the following years all the developer owned facilities were sold off. Growth of recreational opportunities in the City of Lakeway stalled circa 1990 because the citizens had always looked to the developer for new ideas about expanded recreational opportunities.

The Golden Years!

In 1991, thanks to the initiative, creativity, & imagination of City volunteers, the land for City Park was purchased for $375,000. At the time many critics deemed this amount outlandish; yet the purchase price would later prove to be the steal of a lifetime by the city. City Park marked the beginning of the Golden Age in park and recreation development in Lakeway! 

After the success of the City Park initiative, citizens now realized that they didn't need the developer any longer for improvements to their quality of life. The development of Lakeway’s parks and recreation facilities began to flourish thanks to the work & initiative of citizen volunteers.  Milestones included:

  • Planning the development of City Park.
  • Acquisition of Hamilton Greenbelts, Dragon & Porpoise Parks from LCC  
  • Hamilton Greenbelt I & II connection        
  • Smith Greenbelt Donation
  • Building of Primitive-Nature Trails in Smith & Hamilton Greenbelts
  • Activity Center Bond Election, Planning & Building
  • Christmas Trail of Lights at City Hall
  • Construction of the Activity Center Arbor
  • Swim Center Bond Election; Planning, Development, & Construction
  • Canyonlands Donation; Trail & Bridge Building
  • $1,000,000 in grants for Development of City Park, Swim Center, & Trails
  • Establishment of the City Arts Committee and City Arts Programs
  • Lakeway Blvd West Trails
  • Acquisition of Live Oak Tennis Courts
  • Skateboard Park
  • Mt Lakeway Primitive-Nature Trails
  • Removal of the private boat docks on City owned Rebel and Sailfish Parks

All of the above improvements to the Quality of Life in Lakeway was due to the initiative of Citizen Volunteers! 

The End of the Golden Years of Park & Recreation Development

As the City expanded due to the rapid economic growth in the Austin Metropolitan area, the city staff necessarily grew in the City of Lakeway to handle the rapid growth in the City. Unfortunately, the bureaucracy also grew which stifled volunteer initiative and the continued expansion of parks and recreation facilities in the city. Sadly, the Mayor disbanded the Parks & Recreation Commission in circa 2012, in the years since neither the City Council nor the City staff have done anything to seek citizen input regarding parks and recreation initiatives; The Golden Years ended! Unfortunately, citizen involvement and initiative is needed now more than ever to meet the ever expanding growth in the City!

Lakeway, TX, USA: Parks & Trails