Memorial Day is just around the corner, and that means it's time for picnics in the park, hanging by the pool, and all the outdoor fun that summer brings. To have all of that fun though, our parks and pools need to be taken care of.
A perfect example is the Barton Creek Greenbelt, an Austin favorite, that will be highly trafficked this weekend.
Here at Austin Parks Foundation, our mission is to help identify and address the needs of our parks through volunteerism, funding and activation. Here's how you can help our parks:
Raise Your Voice: Let Your Representatives Know Austin's Parks Need Their Help
Unfortunately, funding for our parks is one of the first things to get cut when economic times are bad and one of the last to get put back when times are good. The truth is: Austin's parks, trails and green spaces need some love and care.
The City of Austin's Fiscal Year 2020 budget is being worked on right now, and it's important that your voice is heard so that parks are considered a priority. Please take a moment to write to Austin City Council here to make sure they know how important parks are to you, and let the City's budget team know your thoughts here.
Austin's Parks, Trails and Green Spaces are Susceptible to Flood Damage
As climate change continues to fuel changes in the weather we experience, our parks are more important than ever. When it comes to weather, Austin is unfortunately no stranger to destructive flooding.
Recent rains led to flooding that closed down trails such as the Barton Creek Greenbelt and the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, as well as Barton Springs Pool. The damage caused by flooding will take both time and funding to repair.
While these beloved spaces have re-opened to the public, not all of the damage has been fixed. Unfortunately, one of the major hurdles is a lack of maintenance funding. Even in good economic years, Austin’s Parks and Recreation Department has struggled with a maintenance backlog and a lack of resources to address it.
Budget Season Presents Opportunities for an Infusion of Park Funding in 2020
As we enter into another budget season, it is critical that Council continues to address this need. While voter approval of Propositions B & C and an infusion of funding in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget were crucial to making progress on addressing needs in our parks, much work remains to be done. Additional funding is necessary for:
- Playground maintenance to make sure all kids can access safe places to play
- Aquatics maintenance to ensure that our pools remain operational in the hot summer months
- General maintenance to make sure trash is collected, grass is mowed, and our parks are getting the attention they deserve
While City Council has difficult budget decisions to make, we urge them to prioritize funding for parks maintenance. Parks are used by all Austinites, and in order for our parks to be world-class, we need to care for them. If we don’t care for what we have, we might just lose it. Every Austinite, young and old, deserves access to a great park.