City of AustinFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
How New Development Brings New Parks to Austin
As Austin grows, the Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) continues to expand the park system equitably to maintain a high level of park service across the city. Since November 2018, PARD’s Park Planning team has grown the park system by approximately 200 acres over 51 new or expanded parks — that’s about 20 new or expanded parks a year for Austinites.
Parkland dedication is a local government requirement for new development applications that mandates the dedication of land for parks, and/or the payment of fees to acquire land and/or develop park facilities. New developments must provide for an expansion of the parks system proportionate to their impacts. That way, Austin can continue maintaining the high quality of life for which it is known, while the city continues to grow.
The City of Austin passed the first Parkland Dedication Ordinance in 1985, updated in 2007 and again in 2016. In 2018, the Austin voters passed a $45 million dollar bond to fund the acquisition of new parkland to keep up with Austin’s extensive growth. PARD has utilized both the 2018 Bond and the fees collected through the Parkland Dedication Ordinance to contribute to the equitable distribution of parkland across the city.
PARD’s planners use a variety of criteria to locate where the best investments can be made to further the city’s goals and best serve our residents. The analysis begins by looking for areas with high population density, especially those with a concentration of prioritized communities, such as communities of color, lower income residents, and children. Planners look for creek corridors and gaps in greenbelts - which have been the bedrock of Austin’s parks system for generations. Then, they look for areas that lack parks within walking distance of growing communities.
Looking ahead, PARD anticipates major upcoming acquisitions for greenbelt connections and neighborhood parks for prioritized communities. Altogether, targeted future acquisitions amount to an estimated $43 million. About $29 million will come from the 2018 bond, with the remaining $14 million paid using funded through parkland dedication fees in-lieu.