The topic of today’s show was parks and the City of Austin, Texas upcoming budget process and how it may affect its public parks.
Our guests were:
- Ladye Anne Wofford – Chief Mission Officer with the Austin Parks Foundation.
- David Todd – long-time parks steward and representative of the Blunn Creek Partnership. He is also the co-author of The Texas Landscape Project: Nature and People (Texaslandscape.org), and The Texas Legacy Project: Stories of Courage and Conservation (texaslegacy.org). He is the executive director of the Conservation History Association of Texas.
- Carmen Llanes Pulido – Executive Director of Go Austin Vamos Austin.
The Trust for Public Land recently ranked Austin’s park system 46th amongst the 100 largest US cities. It wasn’t exactly the kind of stellar review or ranking that Austin is used to receiving.
Now, a group of environmental organizations are calling on our local elected officials to do something about it.
Austin City Council is currently on summer recess for the month of July, but when they return, most of their energy will be spent on one thing – the city’s budget. Throughout the months of August and September, they’ll be hosting public meetings and hearings on exactly where the city should be spending its money next year. The new budget will go into effect on October 1st.
In response, the Austin Parks Foundation is leading an effort to convince City Council to support a $5 million budget increase for the Austin Parks and Recreation Department. On its website, the Austin Parks Foundation explains that these increases are necessary because the department is dealing with a $700 million backlog in repairs and renovations. They also point to the Trust for Public Land ranking, which found that Austin spends $103 per resident each year toward maintaining and enhancing our parks. The top cities spend an average of $208.