East Austin community members oppose renaming Pan American Neighborhood Park

On Tuesday, community members and organizations held a press conference to voice their opposition to the park’s name change.

AUSTIN, Texas – East Austin residents want to protect the history of one of the area’s most historic parks.

Pan American neighborhood parkAlso known as Pan Am Park, it could soon have a new name — and some aren’t entirely on board with it.

this Austin City Council A vote on renaming the park to Tony Castillo/Pan American Neighborhood Park is expected Thursday. Castillo is an Austin native with more than 65 years of community work in East Austin. Her son, Derek Castillo, nominated her for the name change because of her longtime community service and involvement.

Tony Castillo founded competitive sports teams and served on the advisory board of the Pan American Society. He helped elect East Austin’s first Latino officeholders.

He is honored to have two baseball fields in East Austin named after him. His son said that changing the name of this park is an opportunity.

“It’s an opportunity to recognize someone for decades of service. He spent 60 years of his time, and he still goes and volunteers in some capacity at Pan Am Park,” said Derek Castillo.

In a poll conducted by the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, 79 percent of surveyors supported renaming the park, while 19 percent disagreed. When looking at City Council District 3, where the park is located, 51 percent of surveyors do not favor the name change, while 49 percent do.

Anna McKeel, who serves as president of Pan Am’s advisory board, is working with her colleagues to preserve the park’s original name.

Maciel said, “Oswaldo AB Cantu was a wonderful example for our community and that’s why it’s named after him, because he really embraced the community. And we want to make sure that we continue that tradition that we have at Pan Am.” gave.”

This park is also the place Oswaldo AB Cantu/Pan American Recreation Center.

The Pan Am Advisory Board said it supports Tony Castillo and his services, but stated that keeping the original name is critical to preserving what East Austin has left for the next generation.

The park has hosted summer Tejano concerts since 1956.

“Pan Am puts on the annual Pan Am Hillside concert series, which is the longest-running foreign concert series in Austin, and we’re proud of it all. We’ve had a lot of musicians on our stage,” Maciel said.

East Austin community members and organizations held a press conference
conference at 10 a.m. Tuesday at 2000 East Third Street to voice their opposition to the request to rename Pan Am Neighborhood Park.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Board agreed with the community at its June 27 meeting and voted against the council’s recommendation not to rename the park. Instead, the board recommended that a plaque be presented to recognize Tony Castillo.

The city council is expected to vote on September 1.

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