Proposed site for the River Hills Sports Park in West Austin
We at Reilly Realtors strive to keep our visitors informed of important happenings within the Austin area, and the proposed construction of the River Hills Sports Park in the middle of a few West Austin neighborhoods is an event we felt Austinites should be aware of. Since 2011, the Western Hills Little League has been working hard to raise funds for a proposed sports complex intended to serve the Westlake area youth sports community. The current proposal includes plans for a 50 acre sports complex located along River Hills Road, which can be accessed from FM 2244 (Bee Caves Road) in West Austin. The River Hills Sports Park will include 12 sports fields, a large indoor gym, 3 tennis courts and a 650 car parking lot. Some of the neighborhoods in the area that will be directly affected by the development of the sports complex are the Seven Oaks and the Rob Roy communities located along Bee Cave Road. Residents here have expressed both positive and negative feelings about the construction of a new sports complex in their neighborhood.
Western Hills Little League is spearheading the efforts to develop the sports complex with support from Westlake Youth Soccer Association and I9 Sports, to name a few. As of March 2013, these groups had raised over $1 million dollars in donations to fund the project, which has an estimated cost of $5-10 million. Currently, youth sports organizations are forced to limit enrollment and schedule late games and practice times due to lack of facilities. Supporters of the project are excited to have a place where area kids and youth sports leagues can practice and host games within their community. On the other hand, the Westlake Neighborhood Alliance is concerned about the impact this large complex will have on the surrounding area. Opponents to the complex claim that the damage caused to the land in an attempt to level it for sports fields will have an unimaginable environmental impact. Residents are also concerned about traffic; River Hills Road is only a two-lane road with no shoulder or traffic light, so it is not able to fully support the increased traffic. Residents who have homes near the site are concerned that the proposed facility will disturb the peace in their community with bright lights and loud noise.
The Western Hills Little League has made amendments to their proposal to try to alleviate the concerns of residents, including light timers, noise restrictions and funding for a traffic light. The land is leased to the Western Hill Little League by Eanes ISD, and opponents have been appealing to the school board to rescind the lease. Two community members have even put in an offer to buy out the lease for $5 million in order to stop the development of the complex. Permits to begin development were submitted to the city for approval in March, but the process is a lengthy one. For now, opponents to the River Hills Sports Park are planning a demonstration this Sunday, September 15, from 8 to 10 pm to illustrate the lighting impact the proposed complex will have on the area. The demonstration will be held at Emma Long Metropolitan Park. Only time will tell whether or not West Austin will be home to a new youth sports complex.