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Sara Hensley Turns Over a New Leaf
The new PARD director has big ideas – to realize them, she'll have to raise big bucks
News Story  July 24, 2009, by Katherine Gregor
"..."Sara Hensley is a rock star!"..."

... Until Your Pool Runs Dry
Austin's swimming pools are leaking – and that may be the least of PARD's problems
News Story  May 14, 2015, by Michael King
"...On April 24, Parks and Recreation Depart­ment Director Sara Hensley issued a foreboding memorandum to Mayor Steve Adler and the City Council. Under the heading, "2015 Summer Aquatics Facility Operations and Future Sustainability," Hensley wrote that an internal review had concluded that the existing "business model" of the Aquat­ics Division is "inadequate." Despite past "creative" maneuvers, she wrote, "it is no longer feasible or appropriate to repeat past practices and as such, the Parks and Recreation Department will proceed with an alternative operation model starting Summer, 2015."..."

Keeping Austin Green
The Parks budget finally got a boost, but the real job has just begun
News Story  November 8, 2013, by Chase Hoffberger
"...In that context, PARD's newly budgeted $7.9 million won't turn Austin into a lush, grassy meadow, but it will help alleviate some of the worst stresses upon our 260 parks and 203 miles of trailways. PARD Director Sara Hensley said the money – to be phased in over time – will allow PARD to hire 60 new full-time employees – 20 for city cemeteries; five for new area parks; and 35 for "general park enhancements, forestry, pool maintenance, and trail improvements." That should cut down the amount of outstanding work orders, help maintenance staffers respond to graffiti and vandalism within a 24-hour time frame, and knock that mowing cycle number down by 10%..."

Austin Animal Center Strains to Maintain Its No-Kill Status
City shelter struggles with overcrowding and volunteer dissatisfaction
News Story  February 7, 2019, by Nina Hernandez
"...By this point, Animal Services had been for a year without a permanent director to replace Hammond, had several other key leadership vacancies in its ranks, and was being overseen by an assistant city manager (Hensley) who was herself an interim. All this led to the group of volunteers feeling their issues were being unheard, and finally Valls-Trelles, a fierce advocate of spay/neuter programs as a solution to chronic shelter overcrowding, led a group of volunteers to the Council Audit and Finance Committee to try to get attention from the dais...."

Council Wrap-up
Staff not amused by some CMs' ideas on how to cut the budget
News Story  September 3, 2015, by Michael King
"...The big news hitting City Council at Tues­day's work session was only indirectly related to the matter at hand, budget development. The evening before, City Manager Marc Ott had forwarded to Mayor Steve Adler and Council a letter from Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley, with the support of 22 other department heads, informing Ott that in the current budget process, city staff has come to feel "a serious lack of understanding" from Council, and "a diminished level of respect for the work we do." In his cover memo, Ott described city staff as "understandably" feeling they are "under attack," and added that in his tenure as city manager, "this level of response by employees is unprecedented."..."

Austin Street Art Enters Into a New Era
With the city cracking down on graffiti and Hope Outdoor Gallery set to close, artists look for permission to paint
News Story  July 26, 2018, by Kate Groetzinger
"...The four-person team convened earlier this year as part of a citywide effort to crack down on graffiti, prompted by a resolution passed by City Council in 2016 directing interim Assistant City Manager (and former PARD director) Sara Hensley to conduct a review of the city's graffiti abatement efforts. What she found, according to a memo released last year, is that Austin "does not have a comprehensive plan to address graffiti, nor do we have a centralized unit to carry out such a plan." Hensley promised the city would "tackle the backlog collectively and then establish a systematic approach to address graffiti on City property." [inset-3-right]..."

No Discs, No Pease
City to move disc golf course from Pease
News Story  June 18, 2010, by Mark Fagan
"...Asked if the city will reconsider closing the Pease course, Parks and Recreation Depart­ment Director Sara Hensley said: "No, not really ... because I'm not going to shut it down until we have an alternative course..."

Naked City
News briefs from Austin, the region, and elsewhere
News Story  September 26, 2008
"...• NEW PARD DIRECTOR City Manager Marc Ott says he chose Sara Hensley to be Austin's new Parks & Recreation Department director because "she understands Austin's love of the outdoors, its stewardship of the environment, and the goal of Austin becoming the fittest city in the country." Currently the director of Parks and Recreation in Phoenix, Hensley starts her Austin job Dec. 1 with a $163,000 salary..."

Parks and Rec Plus Eight
A new planning approach
News Story  June 26, 2009, by Katherine Gregor
"...That's how Sara Hensley, director of the city's Parks & Recreation Department, expressed her excitement this week about an opportunity for PARD to engage in a formal, facilitated process of "agency reinvention." At the Parks and Recreation Board meeting Tuesday night, board members heard from the executive director of GP RED ( about its groundbreaking Method of Eight Planning Cycle – which Hensley believes can help fast-track positive change firmly grounded in today's community needs. The Colorado nonprofit has invited Austin to be one of three cities to serve as a "beta site" for its research, a five-year, eight-stage contemporary approach to organizational planning...."

ANC: Do More With Less
ANC members see breath of fresh air in new Parks director
News Story  February 6, 2009, by Katherine Gregor
"...A double-bill attraction of City Manager Marc Ott and new Parks & Recreation Department Director Sara Hensley brought a standing-room-only crowd to last week's Austin Neighborhoods Council meeting. Ott gave a sobering talk about the city of Aus­tin's looming budget shortfall, emphasizing that the cuts now necessitated by shrinking municipal revenues aren't just about finding "fat" but rather will require cutting painfully into "muscle." He let city of Austin Chief Financial Officer Leslie Browder present the depressing details: "Impact of Recession on 2009 Budget." For 2008, the city made $8 million in spending cuts necessitated by lower sales-tax revenue; for 2009, a $25 million budget gap is projected, requiring more than $20 million in additional cuts..."

Hostel Takeover Averted – For Now
Lease extension for Hostelling International's Austin franchise exposes a few cracks
News Story  March 9, 2012, by Mike Kanin
"...When asked by Mayor Lee Leffingwell at the council hearing why this might have been the case, PARD director Sara Hensley said, "I can't answer that question." A few days earlier, when local online tipsheet In Fact Daily asked Hensley the same question she offered a bit more detail. "This department has over 300 agreements..."

City to Crack Down on Graffiti?
Proposal for crackdown on unauthorized street art coming?
News Story  August 3, 2017, by Joseph Caterine
"...In spite of Pool's repeated calls for a rebooted graffiti abatement program, the ball didn't really start rolling until Sara Hens­ley was appointed as an interim assistant city manager after Sue Edwards retired back in March. Hensley, who had helped run a graffiti abatement program as the director of Parks, Recreation and Neighborhood Services for the City of San Jose (she directed Austin's PARD prior to succeeding Edwards), invited consultant and former colleague Rick Stanton to visit Austin at the end of July to educate staff on best practices..."

Open City Parks for Business Parking?
A proposal to save one restaurant's parking woes is not drawing many supporters
News Story  May 24, 2013, by Elizabeth Pagano
"...That number, as noted by a Jan. 16 memo from Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley, could overwhelm the (thus far unidentified) surplus supply of parking – especially likely in the 53 parks located in the urban core...."

Chain-Saw Frenzy
Fear of a Springs PARD massacre is about trust as well as trees
News Story  May 8, 2009, by Katherine Gregor
"...New PARD Director Sara Hensley tempered the plan by allowing 60 to 90 days for public meetings and input, as well as consideration by a joint subcommittee of the Environmental and Parks boards and the Urban Forestry Board. Possibly by June, PARD will make a final determination as to which of the diseased, damaged, or "overmature" trees (mostly pecans, cottonwoods, and American elm) are so likely to topple that, in the interest of public safety, they must be removed and replaced with younger trees...."

Pocket Parks Popping Up All Over Town
Miniparks stake out green space in a crowded city
News Story  April 17, 2009, by Katherine Gregor
"...Their development supports the city's policy of encouraging urban densification over suburban sprawl and can keep Austin neighborhoods livable as they add residents and buildings. PARD policy over the past 15 years has focused on suburban park acquisition; new Director Sara Hensley has a fresh outlook...."

Cronk Meets Job Creation Goals
City manager names candidates for new executive team
News Story  November 29, 2018, by Mike Clark-Madison
"...Following his July restructuring of his executive team, Austin City Manager Spencer Cronk announced on Monday the finalists for two of his five new lieutenant positions. For both slots – the assistant city manager over Economic Opportunity and Affordability and the ACM over Health and Environment/Culture and Lifelong Learning – Cronk has, as he suggested he might, included the current occupants of those roles on his shortlist, but interim ACMs Joe Pantalion and Sara Hensley have some stiff competition..."

Cronk to Reorganize Management Team
Musical chairs at City Hall
News Story  August 2, 2018, by Michael King
"...The five ACMs and their current thumbnail areas of responsibility are: Rey Arellano (public safety); Robert Goode (infrastructure services/transportation); Sara Hensley (parks/libraries/animal services/health); Joe Pantalion (development/aviation/planning/watershed); and Washington (human resources/fleet/communications). Pantalion and Hensley are both interim appointees and could presumably return to their original departmental assignments, but in any event Cronk's announcement reflects that what are now six managerial positions will become five (with one administrator responsible for two of the six "outcomes")...."

Eeyoring About Eeyore's
Eeyore's and PARD get crossways over damage deposit
News Story  May 4, 2012, by Michael King
"...In a April 23 letter to Sexton, PARD Director Sara Hensley did apologize for the "unapproved and non-finalized draft of a final report" that the FFF had received, but said that given last year's difficult drought conditions and necessary repairs to the park, PARD could not return the deposit. She acknowledged "the valuable service [the foundation's] volunteer projects bring to Pease Park," but cited the event's contract with the city stating that any appeal of the decision would have to have been made within 10 days (i.e., in May 2011)..."

Beleaguered PARD Considers Dousing Trail of Lights
What are the holidays without that special twinkle at Zilker?
News Story  May 29, 2009, by Katherine Gregor
"...An alternative to canceling the Trail of Lights would be to find another entity to host it or to charge admission; PARD Director Sara Hensley said both approaches are common in other cities. "We love this event, and we know the public loves it," said Hens­ley..."

Austin's Next Shot at Ending Homelessness
Thanks to an infusion of philanthropic cash, the city and its iTeam embark on a new effort
News Story  August 23, 2018, by Mike Clark-Madison
"..."When we brought all the different departments together, that was really our aha moment," says interim Assistant City Manager Sara Hensley, who oversees the newly coordinated city effort called for in the audit reports. "The most important part was us recognizing who was spending what and how much and when..."

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