Members of the East Austin community oppose Pan-American Neighborhood Park name change

On Tuesday, community members and organizations will hold a press conference to discuss their opposition to the park’s renaming.

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

Pan American Neighborhood Parkaka Pan Am Park, may soon have a new name — and some don’t entirely agree with that.

That Austin City Council is expected to vote on renaming the park Tony Castillo/Pan American Neighborhood Park on Thursday. Castillo is an Austin native with more than 65 years of community service in East Austin. His son, Derek Castillo, nominated him for the renaming because of his years of service and involvement in the community.

But Anna Maciel, who serves as president of the Pan Am Advisory Board, is working with her colleagues to keep the park’s original name.

“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 we continue this tradition that we have at Pan Am,” Maciel said.

The Pan Am Advisory Board said it supports Tony Castillo and his ministry, but expressed that keeping the original name was critical to preserving what East Austin left to the next generation.

Tejano summer concerts have been held in the park since 1956.

“Pan Am hosts the annual Pa Am Hillside concert series, the longest running concert series outside of Austin, and we’re proud of all of it. We have so many musicians that have graced our stage,” said Maciel.

East Austin Community members and organizations will hold a press conference
Conference Tuesday at 10 a.m. at 2000 East Third St. to announce their opposition to a proposal to rename Pan Am Neighborhood Park.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Board agreed with the community at its June 27 meeting and voted that the council recommend not renaming the park. Instead, the board recommended putting up a plaque
recognize Tony Castillo.

The City Council will vote on the name change at its next meeting on July 28.

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Laura Coffey

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