ABOUT PARQUE ZARAGOZA NEIGHBORHOOD PARK
Since the late 1920’s, Parque Zaragoza Neighborhood Park has provided local residents a green space to enjoy. For multigenerational East Austin families, Parque Zaragoza Neighborhood Park is remembered for its three and four day long Diez y Siez and Cinco de Mayo celebrations, Potluck Thanksgivings, Adult Amateur Baseball and Softball tournaments, synchronized swimming and annual neighborhood reunions. It has also served as a gathering place for activists in labor, human rights and social justice movements.
Though Parque Zaragoza was officially founded in 1931 when the City of Austin purchased 9.3 acres of land, it was in 1929 when the local Hispanic community petitioned the City of Austin Parks & Recreation Department for a park of their own, originally named Zaragosa Park. Named for General Ignacio Zaragoza Seguin, notable for his role in defeating French troops at Puebla de los Angeles, Mexico, in 1862, Parque Zaragoza was originally intended as a segregated community resource for Mexican immigrants has since grown into a cultural resource for all in East Austin.
Parque Zaragoza’s historic swimming pool is one of the City of Austin’s earliest man-made pools built in 1933 during the Great Depression and at the beginning of the Presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. At the time of the pool’s construction, the accompanying bathhouse/caretakers cottage was built, and was then expanded by the National Youth Association and community volunteers in 1941 to become a two-room recreation center, used until 1996.
Throughout all of Parque Zaragoza’s history, all grounds, facility improvements, as well as all community programming, were largely organized and maintained by the Parque Zaragoza Recreation Center Advisory Board to which many of its members dedicated their entire lives of service. In 1980, the Advisory Board petitioned the City of Austin for a new recreation center and worked for 13 years to secure funding for it through its fiestas, ball games, Conjunto Fests and other fundraisers.
In 1992, City of Austin voters approved the recreation center through a Capital Improvements Bond on that year’s ballot. In 1996, a 17,000-square-foot recreation center was constructed, with murals painted by Austin artist, Fidencio Durán, who was commissioned by the Arts In Public Places program.
In 2017, Parque Zaragoza Neighborhood Park was designated a Lone Star Legacy Park by the Texas Recreation and Parks Society (TRAPS) signifying its prominence in the local community and the State of Texas. From 2018 and 2019, several Austin Parks Foundation ACL Festival community park improvement grants have been awarded for a new playscape, play field fencing and pool canopy shade installations.
In 2020, the Amigos de Parque Zaragoza launched and restarted the 'wreath laying' ceremony tradition, and awarded staff from three of the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Centers as the 2020 Cinco de Mayo Unsung Heroes.
Additional acreage was added over the years making the park over 15 acres.