Austin, Texas – Advisory Service Panel

Date:  August 25 – 30, 2019

Location: Austin, Texas

Sponsor: The Trail Foundation and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department

Subject Area: Parks Operation

Panel Chair: Julie Underdahl, Principal, Julie Underdahl LLC – Denver, CO

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Background and Panel Assignment

An advisory services panel made recommendations to The Trail Foundation and the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department on the feasibility of transferring the operation of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake to The Trail Foundation. The Advisory Services panel was conducted in conjunction with the 10-Minute Walk Campaign, a national movement striving to ensure that residents of urban neighborhoods throughout America have access to a high-quality park within a ten-minute walk from their homes. The 10-Minute Walk Campaign, which has been endorsed by over 230 mayors, involves a partnership between the Urban Land Institute, The Trust for Public Land, and the National Recreation and Park Association.

The panelists considered the following key questions:

  • How to determine the liability and authority over the space;
  • When to transfer operation of the trail, including prioritizing the transfer and phasing;
  • Funding recommendations, brand development and philanthropic growth and cultivation; and
  • How to prioritize projects involved with maintaining the trail.

Summary of Recommendations

  • Formalize the Public-Private Partnership between The Trail Foundation, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, and, Austin Watershed Protection Department utilizing the respective strengths of each organizational partner
  • Develop a strategic plan and vision that includes a communications strategy
  • Launch initiative to fully fund plan implementation
  • Build upon past successes and explore new ways to maintain and improve trail
  • Involve, engage, and reach out to community to build support and trust
  • Plan for future growth and expansion of trail improvements to build support and trust
  • TTF needs to build capacity to achieve these recommendations

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