AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is receiving national recognition for its program "Our Parks, Our Future Long Range Plan."
The American Planning Association’s Sustainable Communities Division (SCD) has honored PARD with an Award for Excellence in Sustainability, one of only eight winners across to country to receive such an award. SCD selected PARD for the Open Space Plan or Project category.
According to PARD, the Excellence in Sustainability Award recognizes extraordinary projects, plans, policies, individuals, and organizations whose work is dedicated to supporting sustainable communities.
“We are honored to receive an Award for Excellence in Sustainability for the Our Parks, Our Future Long Range Plan and to implement the community's vision for environmental sustainability," said Kimberly McNeeley, Director of PARD.
"Our Parks, Our Future" recommends adding new parkland acres, increasing natural areas, incorporating stormwater infrastructure, growing the number of community gardens in parks, prioritizing park development along waterways, and conserving parkland in the eastern part of Austin.
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PARD says the plan also addresses social equity by prioritizing projects in areas that have higher poverty and disabilities rates as well as a higher percentage of people of color.
"Every ten years, PARD develops a new Long-Range Plan to guide land acquisition, capital improvements, and the development of programs and new amenities to ensure a stronger park system. Our Parks, Our Future reflects the community’s desire for expansion of Austin’s trail system, immersive natural experiences, and expanded arts and culture programming in parks," PARD wrote in a press release.