With the opening of a new section of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, the 10-mile path that circles Lady Bird Lake is complete.
The city of Austin on Wednesday officially opened the quarter-mile of trail, connecting what it said was the only remaining gap in the loop — a section along the lake's northeast shore where it veered around the former Holly Power Plant at 2298 Riverview Street in Austin's East Cesar Chavez neighborhood, sending trail users on a detour around the adjoining neighborhood before rejoining the it lakeside after circumnavigating the
The new section of trail opens up public access to about 9 acres of new East Austin parkland, which previously belonged to Holly plant manager Austin Energy.
The Holly Power Plant was built in 1958 — over the objections of many East Austin residents and neighborhood groups — and was reason the city dammed the Colorado River, creating Lady Bird Lake. A trail that ran completely around the lake was part of original plans for its beautification when Lady Bird Johnson and others took up the project and planning in 1971.
The Trail Conservancy officially took over management of the Butler trail in September.
After decades of environmentally damaging practices and at least one fire, the plant was decommissioned in 2007. The area around the former plant is now being redeveloped.