Exciting Changes at PPC in the New Year

AUSTIN - It's with deep appreciation and admiration that we announce Pease Park Conservancy Founder Richard Craig will be stepping down as Chairperson of the Board of Directors. This transition will become effective following executive committee elections scheduled for the Conservancy's January 3rd board meeting.

Richard began Trees for Pease in 2008 following his retirement from the State Comptroller Office to reverse the steady decline in Pease Park's infrastructure and ecology. From 2008 to 2014, Pease Park Conservancy (PPC) largely focused on environmental restoration of historic Pease Park. Under Richard's leadership the Conservancy began hosting volunteer days that contributed thousands of volunteer service hours in the park each year. That effort resulted in nearly 3,000 native trees being planted, the removal of invasive species, dramatic improvements to the park's walking trails, the establishment of substantial understory cover, and the proper maintenance of the park's heritage trees. Chances are if you've visited Pease Park on a Saturday morning, you've seen Richard there leading a group of volunteers.

PPC learned, however, that for the park to obtain its full potential as Austin's central park and urban oasis, a broader and more strategic effort would be required. With that in mind Richard established a permanent financial endowment at the Austin Community Foundation so the Conservancy could assure the long-term care and maintenance of the park. That fund now boasts over $200,000. Next, in 2014 PPC embarked on an intensive master planning process to define the future of the park. Compiled by the landscape design firm Wallace, Roberts & Todd, and shaped by extensive community input, the plan is an comprehensive blueprint that identifies strategies for all aspects of the park. The Plan was privately funded through the Conservancy's efforts, one of Richard's most impressive accomplishments. The Pease Park Master Plan was adopted unanimously by the Austin City Council in October 2014 and received the 2015 Project Planning Award by the American Planning Association.


We are grateful for Richard's relentless leadership, without it the park would not be where it is today. What originally started as an effort to pick up trash and plant trees turned into a full-fledged nonprofit operation employing two full-time staff members. Now, as we set to embark on a capitol campaign to fund Phase One Implementation of the Master Plan, we must take a moment to thank the many leaders who came before us. From Governor Pease to Janet Fish to Richard Craig, we're all better off for their vision, their patience, and their persistence to support Pease Park.

A heartfelt thank you to Richard from Conservancy staff and board members, the community, and the future generations who haven't quite realized their love and appreciation for Pease Park yet.

PS - Please rest assured that Richard isn't going far. He'll still be on our board of directors and you'll still see him in his yellow PPC cap and blue shirt working in the park. We're merely going to let him enjoy his retirement and get back to planting trees and making sure they stay healthy and hydrated!

A note from Richard Craig.....

Dear Friends,

It has been my great and sincere honor to work with many of you on the restoration and improvement of Pease Park over the last nine years. We have achieved incredible things together, but I need a little rest. So I am stepping down as Chairman of the Conservancy in January 2017. I will still be very much involved and look forward to continuing to contribute to the progress at Pease in the future.

I want to personally urge each of you to make a year-end contribution to Pease Park Conservancy. Please include this beautiful oasis that is so important to all of us as you make your year-end charitable donations.

Your support will allow the Conservancy to continue its good work, including implementation of the park's award-winning Master Plan. Please generously donate online or send a check payable to Pease Park Conservancy to P.O. Box 50065, Austin, Texas 78763.

Thank you for your support of Austin's favorite central city green space! It means a lot to the park, everyone at the Conservancy, and to me personally. See you at the park again soon!

Happy Holidays!

Richard Craig