As 2019 was coming to an end, we were thrilled to see more great news for our soon-to-be-homeowners in The Heights at Vista Parke, Ash Creek Homes’ newest creative community in Austin with townhomes starting in the low $300s. According to an article in Four Points News, Travis County has plans to transform part of an old, 3-story office building (94 acres) into a beautiful new Visitor Center for the Balcones Canyonlands Preserve.
This community-friendly, new addition will be located about 1/2 mile away from The Heights! Homeowners will have yet another lovely perk to enjoy. Minutes from green space, preserve land and this new facility!
The expansive Balcones Canyonlands Preserve or BCP is one of the nation’s largest urban preserves, covering more than 32,000 acres – about 50 square miles. It is made up of more than 140 individual tracts managed by both public and private partners.
“The BCP was created to make up for other habitat that was lost, so it can never be developed. It will continue to be managed as preserve in perpetuity.”
This preserve was created in 1996 to serve as a habit that would protect eight endangered species: two migratory songbirds called the golden-cheeked warbler and black-capped vireo, and six karst invertebrates found in caves. These invertebrates (spiders, beetles, etc.) spend their entire lives underground in limestone caves and sinkholes and they’ve developed a number of adaptations that allow them to live in this unique environment, such as elongated legs and a slower metabolism.
One of the birds, the black-capped vireo, was removed from the list of endangered wildlife in May 2018, but the BCP still provides a safe habitat for this bird, as well as seven endangered species and 27 species of concern that can also be found in the preserve.
According to the article, the newly transformed facility will showcase exhibits about the region’s ecology with family-friendly educational programs. The grounds will be for public use, so visitors can view nature, hike and attend special events. There are actually plans for guided hikes onto the surrounding preserve land.
The remaining portion of the approximately 30-year-old, 60,000-square-foot building onsite will continue to be used as office space. The project’s design process will begin in 2020.