Miss East Contest at Givens pool
3811 E 12th St, Austin, TX 78721
Givens District Park is a 40-acre park acquired by the City in 1957 and named posthumously for Dr. Everett H. Givens in 1962, one of the first Black dentists in Austin, a World War I veteran, community leader, and a luminary for African Americans in East Austin. Dr. Givens was not only a stalwart advocate for a larger district park for Austin’s African American community, but he championed many of the improvements in East Austin as well as civil rights, welfare, and opportunities for Black Austinites during a time when Jim Crow racial segregation was widespread in every facet of Austin life.
In the summer of 1959, Givens District Park opened to the public as the second segregated public park (just after Rosewood park) in Austin, which was seen as a huge victory for East Austin. The park quickly became a hot spot for African Americans in Austin; the traditions that started in the park became beloved and many have lasted throughout the years, such as the car culture, youth sports, miss contest, and celebrating holidays. Tannehill Creek runs north to south through the entire park and provides a source of water for many of the large shade trees located along its banks. Park amenities in the park include a recreation center, a swimming pool with bathhouse, two covered pavilions, one stage, restrooms, a playscape and swing set, 2 basketball courts, 2 tennis courts, picnic tables, grills and two ball fields with bleacher seating.
The Givens District Park Vision Plan was approved in January 2019 to provide a framework for improvements to the park. Using 2018 bond funding, the first phase of implementing the plan has begun. Currently, the city is in the process of making improvements to the park in accordance with a vision plan that was approved in January 2019.
The Texas Recreation and Parks Society honored East 12th Street’s Givens District Park on February 16, 2022, naming it one of three new Lone Star Legacy parks this year. Givens joins Zilker, Parque Zaragoza, Pease, Eastwoods, and Rosewood parks, which have also earned the historic designation. A new restroom, multi-use field, field fighting and plaza– replacement of a small restroom south of the recreation center with a new, larger, accessible restroom, adjacent to a new plaza with shaded picnic seating and an accessible walkway that will connect to the recreation center. The project will also replace an under-utilized ball field with a multi-purpose field including new fencing and field lighting. Work is anticipated to begin in the summer of 2022 and completed late spring of 2023.
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