Great Austin Parks was founded to marshall support for increased funding to the Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s (PARD) maintenance budget in the upcoming City Budget for 2013-2014. This is the first time in Austin that a broad array of park advocates have formed a united front to lobby for better park funding.
Background: The Austin Parks Department has been a favorite target for budget cuts in economic downturns for decades. However, when the good times return, these cuts are never fully restored. The results, PARD does not have the staff or the funding it needs to properly care for Austin’s 29,225 acres of parkland.
For instance, the Forestry Division has fewer employees today than they did in 1992 to take care of Austin’s tree canopy today. This is true despite the fact that they are responsible for three times the amount of acreage as then. This leaves them unable to do little more than cut down dangerous trees that are a threat to public safety. This understaffing comes at a time when Austin is estimated to have lost over 10% of its trees due to the ongoing drought and badly needs to plant new ones and care for others in distress.
“Great Austin Parks” proposes a $4.75 million dollar increase in the PARD budget. This increase will focus on Pools, Trees, Trails, and General Maintenance.
Great Austin Parks is asking City Council to support the following for the 2013-2014 Budget:
- $1.5m additional funds for Forestry
- $1m for Pools to keep them open and equitably service in all areas of town!
- $1.25m for trails to keep them in good shape for walkers, runners and bicyclists!
- $1m for basic maintenance of our parks.
Let’s take care of what we have!
Support the Great Austin Parks’ agenda, contact Austin City Council, help close the park funding GAP!