Austin’s public parks are priceless assets for our community. Access to green space and recreational opportunities is essential to maintaining the physical, mental and social health and well-being of Austin residents of every age, ability, race, income level and zip code. Our parks offer wonderful gathering places for community picnics, family birthday parties and other special events. They provide opportunities for exercise and sports activities, especially for low-income residents who cannot afford a fancy gym membership. They attract thousands of visitors from beyond Austin, as well, giving a much-needed boost to our local economy. They are the lungs of our city, helping to clean our air even as Austin struggles with growth and increased vehicle emissions. Our parks and green spaces are invaluable resources and we must work together to preserve, protect and expand these wonderful places for the next generation of Austinites.
A friend with a great deal of experience in parks and open space acquisition and operation once shared the following thought that has stayed with me: “when gazing out over our parkland, think 50 years back and 50 years ahead.” This perspective brings to light my gratitude for our forbearers’ wisdom as well as the significance of the decisions we make today.