Parks and Rec Shocker: More Money

PARD to get its biggest budget bump in years

Parks and Rec Shocker: More Money

It's not exactly a windfall, but the Parks and Recreation Department could get its biggest funding boost in years with the $62.8 million proposal on the table – up about 12% over the last fiscal year.

At least on paper, the new funding package doesn't carry gloom-and-doom messages of potential closures of pools and community centers. However, PARD Director Sara Hens­ley notes in her introduction to the budget that the department will "continue to focus on creating public-private partnerships." In the past, even the suggestion of such partnerships has sparked public outcries – most recently, in May over PARD's proposal (scuttled, for now) to hire a private company or nonprofit to operate the popular Zilker Botan­ical Garden. During last year's budget process, the Austin Recreation Center and Dottie Jordan Recreation Center were also being considered for private management because of funding shortages at PARD; after protests, City Council added funding to keep the rec centers open and under public control. In the new fiscal year, PARD plans to sink half a million dollars into maintenance and repair of aging rec centers in East Austin, including Dottie Jordan.

PARD is proposing a spending plan of about $30 million for capital projects (with most of the funding coming from the 2006 bond program), including upgrades to the 24-year-old Conley-Guerrero Senior Activ­ity Center, the renovation of Barthol­omew Pool, and trail work near the Shoal Creek Green Belt. Additionally, improvements to Auditorium Shores will be paid for through a $1 million grant from the Texas Parks and Wildlife's Urban Outdoor Recreation program.

The newest addition to the PARD portfolio – the Asian-American Resource Center (another product of the 2006 bond package) – is slated to open its doors in April 2013. About $500,000 has been set aside to fill six positions at the facility, currently under construction on Cameron Road north of Research Boulevard.

More city budget
City Budget Squeezed Between Basic Costs and State Neglect
City Budget Squeezed Between Basic Costs and State Neglect
The city has $1.03 billion in taxpayer money. Here's where it's going.

Michael King, Aug. 11, 2017

City Budget: Something's Gotta Give
City Budget: Something's Gotta Give
Cooling economy, rising costs mean tough choices for City Council

Michael King, May 12, 2017

More Parks and Recreation Department
... Until Your Pool Runs Dry
... Until Your Pool Runs Dry
Austin's swimming pools are leaking – and that may be the least of PARD's problems

Michael King, May 15, 2015

Then There's This: Dog Days of Parks and Rec
Then There's This: Dog Days of Parks and Rec
Planned changes to off-leash area at Auditorium Shores draw howls

Amy Smith, Oct. 11, 2013

More by Amy Smith
Well-Behaved? Let's Assume Not.
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story
Barbara Leaming's new biography makes the case that Jackie O suffered from PTSD

Nov. 28, 2014

Section 8 Reopens
Section 8 Reopens
Hurry up ... and wait!

Oct. 3, 2014


Parks and Recreation Department, PARD, Sara Hensley, City Council, public-private partnershps, city budget

AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)