On Thursday night, the City Council held the first of two public budget hearings leading to the adoption of the upcoming fiscal year’s budget in September. Austin Parks Foundation is advocating for an additional 5 million dollars to be allocated to the Parks and Recreation Department, and FoPP and other park groups were invited to support them.
The city’s parks have 700 million in deferred maintenance, plus 80 million to make them ADA compliant and many millions more to keep our aging neighborhood pools from failing. According to APF, “ParkScore, the Trust for Public Land’s gold standard index for parks, ranked Austin 46 out of the 100 most populous U.S. cities for how well we meet our resident’s needs for parks in 2017.”
The council also reviewed the recently released Aquatic Master Plan, and decided to form a task force to review its implementation in an equitable way. There was lots of discussion about how many East Austin pools are in relatively poor condition, and that there are large newer areas of the city with little access to aquatic facilities. Our group should keep up with this as it develops.
Examples of deferred maintenance and improvements at Patterson include our 50+ year old bathroom facilities, a basketball court that’s been in need of resurfacing for 15+ years, a tennis court that was never surfaced, and a playground that is near the end of it’s 20 year life. While we are deeply grateful for recent updates, including new signage, trash cans, fresh paint, and most importantly the resurfacing of the playground, there is much that remains to be done. Parks are the heart of our city’s neighborhoods and require regular attention as Austin’s population continues to grow. If you would like to email City Council members to support parks funding, you can do so here.