AUSTIN --- Dozens of local supporters of Austin parks are expected to flood into Austin City Hall Thursday during budget discussions.
The Pease Park Conservancy is leading an effort to get the Austin Parks Department $4.7 million more for its 2014 budget.
Richard Craig with the Pease Park Conservancy says the money, if approved, will be used on trees, trails, pools and maintenance.
“We don't spend as much per-capita on operations on basic maintenance as most of the other major American cities. We're in the bottom third per-capita in what we spend on park maintenance and it has to change,” said Craig to KVUE Wednesday evening.
Craig also tells KVUE News that in 2000 the City of Austin had 28 employees responsible for nearly 7,000 acres of park land. Fast forward to the present and there are only 24 employees responsible for three times the amount of park land.
“The Parks Department right now is really funded for failure. A lot is expected of them, but given their staffing and their funding, they just can't meet the public's expectations,” added Craig.
Urban forestry experts estimate that Austin has lost 10 percent of its trees in city parks because of the drought.
Richard Craig believes the extra funding could be the answer in reversing the trend.
Park supporters are expected to speak during budget talks at Austin City Hall beginning at 4 p.m. Thursday.