City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Austin City Council adopted the Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s (PARD) Long Range Plan, which is a blueprint that guides the growth and development of Austin’s parks and recreation system. The plan, called Our Parks, Our Future, reflects the community’s desire for expansion of Austin’s trail system, immersive natural experiences, and expanded arts and culture programming in parks.
PARD’s Long Range Plan is developed every 10 years and guides land acquisition, capital improvements, and the development of programs and new amenities to ensure a stronger park system. Planning for Our Parks, Our Future kicked off in the fall of 2018 and PARD’s goals for the process included: assessing the state of the current park system, creating a renewed vision, guiding future growth and development, and creating strategies, actions and priorities that can be implemented and tracked. Public outreach played a critical role throughout the process with in-depth engagement of citizens, park supporters, conservancies, neighborhood associations, nonprofit organizations and public partners.
Key recommendations from the plan include:
- Adding between 4,000-8,000 acres of parkland to the system
- Closing gaps along watersheds to create a contiguous trail system throughout the city
- Expanding community gardens
- Ensuring that parks can be accessed safely through increased sidewalks, bicycle facilities, public transit, and safer intersections
- Planning and development of new parks and trails throughout the city
“Parks and public spaces play a central role in creating community. They bring people together, improve physical and mental fitness, offer recreational opportunities, and provide critical environmental benefits,” said Kimberly McNeeley, Director of PARD. “We are thrilled about the adoption of Our Parks, Our Future, the community-based vision for our parks and recreation system.”
The planning team was led by PARD’s Planning Division and WRT, a national planning and design firm. The team also included local consultants, Studio Balcones, Adisa Communications, and GO Collaborative, as well as national expertise from PROS Consulting ETC Institute, and The Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence. Funding for Our Parks, Our Future was made possible in part by Austin Parks Foundation.