May 21, 2019 - The Trust for Public Land just released their rankings of the 100 largest cities' parks. Austin moved down to 43rd from 42nd in 2018.
Austinites will agree that our parks are one of their favorite parts of living in Austin, but the reality is our parks are vastly underfunded. Our parks don't meet the needs of our residents when it comes to access, amenities, acreage or investment.
You Love Parks - Will You Help Us Improve Our Scores?
Austin Parks Foundation is committed to enriching people’s lives through the parks, trails and green spaces that we protect and preserve. Scoring 40 out of 100 points in both accessibility and amenities, and seeing that only 59% of Austinities live within a 10 minute walk of a park shows us that we have work to do. Your support is critical.
When we put this in the context of a report card, it's easy to see why APF needs your help to improve the grades of our parks. Will you join us?
2019 Report Card
Austin's Parks, Trails and Green Spaces
ACCESSIBILITY BY AGE
Ages 19 and under:
Grade: F (57)
Grade: F (60)
Grade: F (58)
Grade: F (58.34)
ACCESSBILITY BY INCOME
Grade: F (63)
Grade: F (59)
Grade: F (55)
Grade: F (59)
Residents within a 10-minute walk of a park
Grade: F (40)
Dollars per resident for parks
Grade: D (62.5)
Median park size and percent of area dedicated to parks
Grade: D+ (67.5)
Features like basketball hoops, playgrounds and dog parks
Grade: F (40)
# OF PARKS
of Austin's city land is used for parks and recreation
National Median: 15%
of residents live within a 10 minute walk of a park National average: 54%
2.5 per 10,000 people
1.3 per 100,000 people
1.5 per 10,000 people
1.2 per 10,000 people
0.6 per 20,000 people
1.8 per 100,000 people
Analyzing the Rankings
We're not exactly rushing home to put this one on the fridge.
Our lowest score? We're in the 14th percentile for playgrounds with 1.5 per 10,000 residents. Children and families deserve access to a playground in their neighborhood. Playing outdoors is essential to childhood development and promotes physical activity for better overall health.
The City of Austin's Parks and Recreation Department does a wonderful job with the assets and labor force that they have, but they are missing crucial funding for maintenance and improvements as our city grows. So, what can be done?
Addressing the Lack of Playgrounds
Because we scored the lowest in access to playgrounds, we've focused our efforts to change that. In collaboration with our funding partners, we've helped bring new playscapes to:
- Patterson Park - $50,000 Community Grant. Read More
- Edward Rendon Sr. Park - $130,000 investment in partnership with St. David's Foundation. Read More
- St. John Neighborhood Park - $250,000 First-ever Impact Grant recipient. Read More
- Parque Zaragoza - $200,000 investment in partnership with St. David's Foundation. Read More
Additionally we're working toward new playscapes at:
- North Oaks Neighborhood Park - $300,000 investment in partnership with St. David's Foundation Read More
- Pan American Neighborhood Park - $500,000 investment. Read More
- Colony Park - $1,050,000 investment in partnership with St. David's Foundation and Dell Technologies Match Play. Read More
- And more to come in 2019 and 2020!
Austin Parks Foundation is Determined to Make the Grade
While Austin's parks are missing the mark, Austin Parks Foundation is determined to fill the gap. We're focused on bringing Austinites amenities and programming that would be otherwise impossible with the current funding mechanisms.
Parks are essential to neighborhoods regardless of the area of town. We have designated a portion of our Austin City Limits Music Festival Grants to help Austin's parks better serve their diverse communities. Check out our work and investments in Austin's parks including ADA accessible trails and entrances, shade structures for pools, planning and installing playgrounds, community gardens and much more.
We can get Austin's parks on the honor roll - but we need your help!
What You Can Do
Volunteer - Join us at one of our First Saturday Work Days, create a custom project for your office, or volunteer on It's My Park Day in the Fall and Spring. Want to really up your park volunteerism? Create an Adopt-A-Park group and become a steward of your favorite green space.
Advocate - Your voice is powerful, and we need your help to advocate for more parks funding at City Hall. Write to your council member today asking them to make parks a priority, and be sure to get on our advocacy list for the latest action alerts and parks new.