AUSTIN PARK FACTS – “SAD AND TRUE!”
Austin is in the bottom one-third of major U.S. cities in what it spends on park maintenance. Source: Trust for Public Land’s publication City Park Facts, 2012.
Consider Austin’s population in year 2000: 639,185. Austin today: 830,278
- In 2000-2001 PARD had 159 FTE’s in Maintenance & Forestry for 15,600 acres. In 2012-2013 PARD had 149 ½ FTE’s in Maintenance & Forestry for 19,500 acres! Ten less workers for almost 4,000 more acres of park land! The parks budget cuts from the tech bubble crash have never been fully restored.
- Forestry had 28 FTE’s in 1992 for 6,900 acres of park & greenbelt land. Forestry has 24 FTE’s in 2012 for 19,500 acres of park & greenbelt land. Forestry sees each tree once in 91 years and is in a total “reactive” mode. Forestry has been with little capacity to care for trees or plant new ones, despite the fact that Austin is estimated to have lost 10% of its tree canopy since 2011.
- Mowing cycles of Austin parks has moved from 14 to 21 days to once every 30-45 days. This leaves many open fields unsuitable for team sports.
- 150 Flowerbeds have been abandoned due to lack of ability to care for them.
- 68 Park Restrooms do not receive either preventative maintenance or routine maintenance.
- Over 65 Park Parking Lots are in need of repair for which there is no funding.
- 37 Tennis Courts need resurfacing (for which there are no funds).
- 190 of 271 Children’s Play Structures do not receive daily service.
- 52% of all Children’s Playscapes in Austin parks have reached the end of their useful life and no funding is available for their replacement.
- PARD has only one Trail Maintenance crew for over 100 miles of Hike & Bike Trails, leaving many trails in poor repair, and in some cases unsafe. This is true despite the increasing use of trails as transportation corridors.
- PARD not only lacks staff. They lack materials of every description: paint, pea gravel, decomposed granite and often, even mulch. This leaves neighborhood park adopter groups on their own to buy the most basic needed materials for their local park or playground.