Preserving and Protecting West Austin

The West Austin Neighborhood Group (WANG) is a non-profit organization of residents with the shared goal of preserving West Austin and protecting it from deterioration. WANG is concerned with community development, ecology, safety, and any other matters that indirectly and directly affect the quality and character of the neighborhood and the City of Austin.

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WANG Newsletter

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Special Events

District 10 and Mayoral Candidate Forum

October 9 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Non partisan informal candidate forum Austin City Council

August Monthly Meeting

August 12 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Monthly Meeting, Muny 6-8PM

Muny Updates

  • President’s Message by Holly Reed

    MUNY Turns 100! 1924-2024

    This year the Lions Municipal Golf Course (MUNY) is 100 years old! Events are happening throughout the year to honor this historic public golf course in the heart of Austin. As the first public course to desegregate in the South (1950) MUNY is a nationally recognized Civil Rights Landmark. Yet despite its incredible history, essential open green space with hundreds of heritage trees, wildlife refuge and water recharge zone, needed now more than ever in this growing City, MUNY is still in danger of being closed and paved over as a luxury mixed use development. We must not let this happen!

    Please join WANG in celebrating MUNY’S CENTENNIAL by supporting the effort to SAVE MUNY. Visit for information on how you can help!

    SAVE THE DATE: OCTOBER 3rd, 2024 for MUNY’S CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION sponsored by the Founder Lions Club of Austin and the Muny Conservancy. Parade, Proclamations, Music, Golf Tournament and MORE!

    WANG Board Member Mary Arnold has been working to SAVE MUNY for 50 years and has written this wonderful summary of how MUNY began.

    IT’S JANUARY 1, 1924!

    Calvin Coolidge is President of the United States. Pat Neff is Governor of Texas. William D. Yett is Mayor of Austin Texas.

    Members of the University of Texas Board of Regents include Regents Stark (Chairman,) Caldweil, Cochran, 0’Hair, Royall, R. G. Storey of Tyler succeeding Marshall Hicks, (resigned,) Wooten, and Wroe. William S. Sutton is Interim President of the University of Texas at Austin.

    The local newspaper reported that the New Year’s celebrations in Austin were certainly not as loud and noisy as usual!   The Society section reported many members and guests celebrating at the Austin Country Club.

    And the Lions Club members in Austin were looking forward to continuing their efforts to initiate and support projects that would benefit the citizens of Austin. One of the projects that the Lions Club helped with in 1923-1924 was raising funds for the University of Texas to build the Texas Memorial Stadium.  Teams of Lions Club members were formed, and each team solicited funds.

    Another group of Lions Club members had been working on a project to find land in Austin suitable for creating a Municipal Golf Course for the City of Austin. At this time, there was only one golf course in Austin and it was a private club….NOT open to the public, called the Austin Country Club. The Lions Club had examined several potential areas, but had decided to ask for land that was part of the Brackenridge Tract, belonging to the University of Texas. The Lions Club group approached the UT Board of Regents at their April 15, 1924 meeting.  The UT Board of Regents Minutes for that meeting report the following:


    A committee from the Lions Club of Austin, Mssrs. A.W. Griffith, Johnnie Tobin, and Frank Rowe, came before the Board with a proposition to lease a portion of the Brackenridge Tract for the purpose of constructing a municipal golf links. After discussion, the Board, on motion of Mr. Jones, voted in favor of the lease, subject to the approval of the Attorney General, for a consideration of sixty dollars per year (which is an increase over present income) and the beautifying of the grounds and upkeep of the fences, with the understanding that the trees are not to be cut, only underbrush cleared off, and no concessions allowed on the grounds. The Chairman of the Board was empowered to execute the lease.”

    At the May 28, 1924, meeting of the UT Board of Regents, the Minutes report the following:

    MUNICIPAL GOLF LINKS – On the motion of Dr. Wooten, seconded by Dr. Storey, the Board authorizes the Chairman of the Board to sign the lease contract with the Lions Club of Austin for a municipal golf links on the Brackenridge Tract after carefully examining the contract and finding it satisfactory.”



  • President’s Message


    by Holly Reed


    Preserving Black History in Austin


    February is Black History Month, and we are honored and privileged to have a nationally recognized Civil Rights Landmark in our West Austin Neighborhood Group area. The Lions Municipal Golf Course (MUNY) was the first public golf course in the southern United States to become integrated. And this was a peaceful integration, that occurred without violence, and without litigation.


    In late 1950, two Black children who were caddies at MUNY decided to play golf in defiance of Jim Crow laws. They were detained while city officials deliberated, and then released after Mayor Taylor Glass said to “let them play.” Following the courageous act of these children, Black citizens from all over Texas came to Lions Municipal to play golf. It was the first and only public golf course where they could play in 1950. Heavyweight champion Joe Louis heard about the integration of MUNY and came to the course repeatedly, as he advocated for equal rights to public places by playing golf on courses all over the nation.


    Austin has a dark history of racial segregation. Schools and businesses were not completely integrated until well after the 1964 Civil Rights Act went into effect. The University of Texas did not integrate its athletic program until 1969. And Austin continued to be racially divided geographically, with Black residents having been forced to move to East Austin by the 1928 city master plan. There were very few places, if any, in West Austin where Black citizens felt safe, let alone welcome, in the 1950s and 60s. Clarksville, as a former Freedman Community and primarily Black neighborhood, was one. And MUNY became another. This rare bridge between two separated communities encouraged people to meet and recreate in a public place. And MUNY continues to be a bridge between Austin’s historically separated communities.


    In 2009 Lions Municipal Golf Course was given a Texas Historical Marker and in 2016 was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its role in Civil Rights history, in honor of the young Black children who bravely integrated the course. This year MUNY turns 100, established by the Austin Founder Lions Club and opened as Austin’s first public golf course in 1924.


    One would think that a place of such significant Civil Rights history, and a beloved public green space, would be revered and preserved forever. But MUNY is in danger of being closed and commercially developed by the landowner, the University of Texas. Since 1973, the West Austin Neighborhood Group has opposed this proposition, along with thousands of citizens of all demographics from neighborhoods all over Austin and the nation. The fight to SAVE MUNY has been going on for over 50 years, and continues to this day.


    On January 18th, during Martin Luther King Jr. week, the National President of the NAACP Derrick Johnson, Texas State NAACP Chair Gary Bledsoe, and Austin NAACP Chapter President Nelson Linder joined the Muny Conservancy for a press conference at Lions Municipal Golf Course. Leaders from Austin’s Black Community attended along with members of WANG, District 10 Council Member Alison Alter, and Board Members of the Save Historic Muny District. All stood in solidarity for the preservation of all 141 acres and 18 holes of this historic golf course.


    NAACP President Derrick Johnson summed up the importance of

    preserving MUNY’s Black History:

    “This golf course is significant. It’s significant for African Americans because it demonstrates the journey through which we have come…History will tell us what we should do or shouldn’t do for the future.”


  • City of Austin’s Watershed Protection Department is planning to turn Reed Park’s ball field into a water retention pond – depositing 30,000 lbs of sediment per year into the ball field.  Our green space and park land are in danger of becoming a mud pit and the historical preservation and natural beauty of our park will be forever changed for the worse.  Everyone who visits our beautiful park will be affected.  Sign this petition to show you OPPOSE the Watershed Protection Department’s proposed plan for Reed Park!  Help us put an end to this proposal and keep Reed Park’s open play field the way it is!

Land Development Updates

  • WANG has sent a letter to the City of Austin Planning Commission regarding the Proposed HOME Ordinance.  Click below to see the letter and information about the ordinance.

    WANG Letter to PC HOME 042224C  H.O.M.E. and Compatibilty Ordinances

  • What Passed? and What Is Coming?


    Land Code Changes Passed in 2023 (“H.O.M.E” Phase 1)

    More Dwelling Units on Single-Family Lots
    Three dwelling units per lot are now authorized in single-family districts SF-1, SF-2, and SF-3. An 11,500 square foot lot zoned SF-2 or SF-3 can now have six units without a zoning change, with a re-subdivision into two lots. If you don’t know your property’s current zoning designation, you can find it by entering your address here.

    More Cars on Your Street
    If more than one unit is being built on the lot it can be 15 feet from the street, with up to four parking spaces in the front yard. Mayor Watson’s council eliminated minimum parking requirements earlier in 2023, so all other parking may be on the street.

    More Short-Term Rentals (STRs)
    For a duplex or two-unit build, one unit can be used as an STR. For three units, there are no restrictions on short-term rentals.

    Loss of “McMansion” Protections
    Floor area ratio (FAR) regulates the cumulative size of structures on a site, and Phase 1 of “H.O.M.E” increases FAR as additional units are added. If all or part of an existing dwelling unit is preserved, the new units are exempted from the limits. The previous “McMansion” rules, limited FAR to .4, meaning a 4,000-square-foot house was allowed on a 10,000 square foot lot. Under Phase 1 of “H.O.M.E.”, a landowner or developer can build 10,000 square feet of units on a 10,000-square-foot lot if the existing unit is preserved.

    Loss of Occupancy Limits
    Local housing occupancy limits are removed, overriding previous rules limiting occupants to four unrelated people or fewer.

  • Reduction in Minimum Lot Sizes
    Having established the right to build three units per lot in Phase 1, the city council plans to reduce minimum lot sizes from 5,750 feet in SF-2 and SF-3 zones during Phase 2. It also plans to reduce the 10,000-square-foot-lot limit in SF-1 to a much smaller size (perhaps as small as 2,500 square feet) and allow existing single-family lots to be subdivided into multiple lots. According to the council’s Housing and Planning Committee, the planned ordinance will “adjust setbacks, height, and impervious cover for single-family zoning to allow more units on smaller lots.” After lot subdivision, the net effect will be as many as nine or more units on existing lots depending on current size.

    Extreme Changes to Compatibility Standards
    The city plans to reduce compatibility standards to only regulate building height for the first 75 linear feet from a single family home.