Park Neighbors As Local Experts: How We Approach Community Engagement

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At Austin Parks Foundation, we believe that the people who know best about the needs of their parks are those who live near the park! Your perspective as a neighbor and stakeholder provides valuable insight about park priorities. Our community engagement efforts are therefore centered around ensuring that the public is included in the decision-making during park improvement projects and is knowledgeable about APF programs and resources.

Our team aims to connect with neighbors through a variety of tools including block walking, creating flyers and park signage, partnering with neighborhood associations and other community groups, social media posts, and surveying. While some engagement efforts have shifted due to COVID-19, newer opportunities for connecting have emerged with virtual meetings, and we have continued to embrace traditional types of engagement such as phone calls!

Recently we partnered with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) to bring improvements to Govalle Neighborhood Park. A description and timeline of the project is posted on PARD's Govalle Project Page, as are all materials that are shared during meetings.

We collaborate with PARD for approval of all outreach materials and to ensure that we are meeting City standards for community engagement. For this project, we conducted outreach one month prior to each of the two community meetings. We provided opportunities for feedback during the meetings and through an online bilingual survey.

We also invited Govalle Elementary students to draw their dream playgrounds, and their responses helped influence the design options. Check out some of their (totally adorable) ideas below!


My Park by Mia

"There is a rock climbing tunnel to go up. There is a hot air balloon design with a lot of colors because I want it to stand out. There is a ladder to climb up and then there’s a door to inside the hot air balloon.

There’s another door in the back and there’s a bridge to a slide. There’s two connected swings and a tunnel with two arches to crawl through. I decided to put a lot of color because I want it to stand out and be colorful like a rainbow."


The Butterfly Park by Devsi

"It has butterfly statues. There are two slides and a rock climbing wall. There is a little park for little kids."


The Fun Fun Playground by Giovani

"There are monkey bars, an in-ground trampoline, a slide. There is spaceship where you can press buttons. To get to the spaceship there is a rope bridge. There are fun house mirrors in the main playhouse. There are swings and a seesaw. "


The Walk Through by Steve

"There are monkey bars. There’s a tunnel in the middle to walk through. It is a two-story playground. The 1st floor has a ladder to climb up to the 2nd story.

The yellow parts are where you climb up. There are three slides: two orange and one blue. The black net is a netted bridge tunnel in the shape of a rectangular prism that you can climb through. "


The Big Park by Brenda

"The red and blue part is a big globe and you can climb the purple and yellow part is a net ladder to climb up. The red part sticking are clouds.

The big flower is to climb on and there is a rope ladder to get to it. There is a slide and swings. There is a trampoline and some sand for little kids."


The Govalle Dinosaur by Jodie

"This is a dinosaur and I wish it was at the Govalle Park. There’s a hot air balloon dinosaur you get in to by jumping really high on the trampoline. The dinosaur eats you and you have to escape it. You could also climb up it."


The Fun Park by Valeria

"The Fun Park has a zipline and a butterfly seesaw. It has a sandbox and a trampoline. The trampoline could be in-ground to be safer.

There’s a splash pad with a sunflower that pours water out. There’s two fishes and a frog that spray water. There’s also a swirly whirly slide."


Space Playground by Zaria

"There is an alien statue. There are planets you can climb on. There is a galaxy bench at the bottom of the page you can sit on. There is a blue slide.

The red piece in the back is to climb up to the spaceship. It looks like the spaceship is flying away. There is a toy control panel inside the spaceship. You can play with your friends and make new friends."