By Chris Qualls
The late Reverend Wilbert Austin, Sr. was an inspiration for so many Wacoans. As a member of the City Council, Rev. Austin worked tirelessly for the betterment of our city, and for development and equality within his district. With his incredible support, NeighborWorks Waco was able to develop our newest subdivision, Legacy Square, located in East Waco.
His passion and dedication to making Waco a better place for all of us to live cannot be overstated. Past editions of the NeighborWorks Newsletter have detailed much of Rev. Austin’s work, and we are proud of the dedication with which he served not only Waco, but also NeighborWorks.
Recently, the City of Waco found a new way to honor Rev. Austin, who passionately strived to improve the East Waco Park. He believed that the park was vital to community health, and championed numerous park enhancements. After his passing, NeighborWorks Waco partnered with the city in an effort to continue Rev. Austin’s revitalization work in the park, and to rename the newly renovated park in his honor.
On Tuesday, November 20, 2018, the park was christened as the Wilber Austin Sr. Park, and dedicated to his honor. This comes after several strategic improvements totaling $340,000, including drinking fountains, grading, draining, accessibility improvements, paved walking trails, curbs, fencing, lighting, electrical power, sport court enhancements, and, most notably, the signature seat wall, bearing Rev. Austin’s name.
We look forward to a bright future for the former East Waco Park that will follow the example of Rev. Wilbert Austin, and tirelessly serve a vibrant community, and we are honored to have been but a part in the movement that led to the park’s dedication. Rev. Austin is sorely missed, but his legacy of leadership and community service lives on.