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.