Ensuring equitable access to quality parks for all Austinites is a key priority for Austin Parks Foundation. How might you work as a decision-maker for both your district and the city as a whole to move the needle on equitable access to quality parks?

Mariana Salazar

City Council, District 1

If one looks at this PARD map for parks (https://tinyurl.com/y7aj6yu2), there
appear to be a reasonable distribution of green spaces across the city. Yet,
many of the green spaces marked on this map in District 1 are cemeteries.
West Austin has Zilker, the green belt and botanical gardens. District 1
does not boast access to such big and well-maintained parks. We have
some parks in District 1, which are a great resource for the community, but
we can do better.

In Central Texas, with rising temperatures, we need access to parks and
recreational water like pools, clean creeks or springs. I think that a great
deal is being done but also a great deal should be done to increase our
access to good quality, well maintained parks in District 1.

I want to see more parks in East Austin as well as stronger programming
for community members, children and families in local parks facilities. For
me, access to parks is a critical quality of life issue that affects everyone in

Unfortunately, the City’s investment in East Austin parks and parks based
programming does not meet the growing needs of our communities. Parks
offer children safe places to play and provide families and communities
spaces to connect with nature and gather as groups. Our parks should offer
robust programming to people of all ages. Parks can also provide additional
opportunities for active transportation by connecting bike lanes and
sidewalks to streets.

I will work with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and local
nonprofit organizations, like Austin Parks Foundation, to ensure that park
space is preserved. I would also like to see park space expanded and
improved when it is feasible, especially in East Austin. The work Austin
Parks Foundation has done in Colony District Park in partnership with St.
Davids Foundation and the East Link project are the type of park
development projects I would like to see happening all over District 1 and
Austin. I would also like to see more inclusive play spaces for children of all
abilities to enjoy in Austin.

I believe that with additional resources, activities, and planting, parks in
East Austin can become pillars of recreation and community building for
our neighborhoods as well as active transportation options. I will work to
build public-private partnerships to support ongoing improvements in our
parks, especially in District 1 and East Austin.