Analysis Shows Park Needs for Travis County (TX)

AUSTIN, TX, 6/6/06: The results of a nine-month open space needs assessment for Travis County illustrate the need for future land conservation efforts to increase focus on the Colorado River corridor and its creek corridors in the eastern portions of Austin and Travis County, infill and city parks in central and east Austin, and aquifer recharge lands that connect existing city-owned water quality and habitat protection properties. The Trust for Public Land (TPL), a nonprofit land conservation organization, in partnership with the City of Austin, Travis County, and the University of Texas School of Architecture, has coordinated the Travis County “Greenprint for Growth”, a project designed to help citizens and government officials prioritize lands to be conserved and to develop strategic plans for land use and conservation.

TPL has been able to complete the project with a recent $50,000 contribution from Advanced Micro Devices, which is the largest single source of funding for the nearly $200,000 project. AMD’s support of the Travis County Greenprint not only ensures the project’s completion, it underscores the need for the business community to be involved in local land conservation efforts.

“The success of the Greenprint project is that it has brought citizens, advocates, and civic and business leaders together to produce a roadmap to help meet our parks and green space needs,” says Austin Mayor Will Wynn. “As Austin continues to grow, the need to develop our green infrastructure is enormous. There is never enough public funding to do everything that needs to be done and I am thankful to see that the private sector has stepped up to support efforts like this. I applaud companies like AMD for playing a leadership role in this area.”

“I am very excited about this process,” says Travis County Commissioner Margaret G?mez. “The Greenprint is a guide that will help us all make good decisions for the community. If we had this 10 years ago, government entities in Travis County might be on the same page by now in land use planning and parks development. This resource is long overdue.”

Stakeholders and a community focus group met, starting in December, to establish the community parks and green space priorities. The Greenprint map indicates the areas that should be conserved based on the priorities identified by the community. The four priorities are protecting water quality and quantity including the Colorado River, creekways, and the Edwards Aquifer; providing equitable access to recreational opportunities, additional local and neighborhood parks; protecting sensitive and rare environmental features such as high quality woodlands and endangered species habit; and the need to protect local cultural resources such as historic, scenic, and agricultural sites.

The project was initiated by TPL in an effort to implement a regional vision addressing growth in Central Texas to preserve quality of living, natural and recreational resources, and economic prosperity. “The Trust for Public Land, like many land conservation organizations, supports balanced economic development,” says TPL Texas Director Nan McRaven. “Corporations like AMD are playing a major role in ensuring the community’s equilibrium of economic prosperity and public green space.”

The Travis County Greenprint will be available to the City of Austin, Travis County, and cities within the county to assist with local land conservation planning efforts.

“The Greenprint illustrates our community’s conservation priorities,” McRaven says. “And those priorities have determined the locations of critical lands needed for conservation. Clearly more funding is needed for parks and green space in Austin and along the Colorado River corridor and we urge the Austin City Council to weigh the results of the Greenprint before setting the amounts of the November bond package.”

About TPL’s Greenprint for Growth

The project employs TPL’s GIS mapping technique known as greenprinting. The greenprinting program mixes GIS technology, local demographic and geographic data, and community input to create a visual analysis of the community’s land and its conservation priorities, defined by community representatives. The result is a dynamic map-or greenprint-that highlights the lands whose protection could meet the multiple conservation priorities identified by the community. There are four major steps to the greenprinting process:

  1. Community leaders determine what land protection issues are important.
  2. Stakeholders rank the community’s land protection goals.
  3. TPL builds the GIS analysis combining local data and land protection goals to create a map illustrating the areas that, if protected, would support the community goals.
  4. Working with TPL, the community uses the model to shape local program goals and develop the long-range plan.

The Travis County Greenprint for Growth Stakeholder Group includes Austin Metro Trails and Greenways, Austin Neighborhood Council, Austin Parks Foundation, Austin to Bastrop Colorado River Corridor Council, Barton Springs Edwards Aquifer Conservation District, Bull Creek Association, Capital Area Council of Governments, City of Austin, Creating Common Ground, Envision Central Texas, Hill Country Alliance, Hill Country Conservancy, Lower Colorado River Authority, National Parks Service, Nature Conservancy of Texas, People Organized in Defense of Earth and her Resources, Save Barton Creek Association, Save our Springs Alliance, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, Travis County, The Trust for Public Land, and the University of Texas at Austin – School of Architecture.Additional funding for the Travis County Greenprint comes from the Westhill Foundation for Nature, Land/Water/Sky, Reese Foundation, Shield-Ayres Foundation, Applied Materials, and several individuals. TPL hopes to continue this effort, in partnership with Envision Central Texas, for Williamson, Hays, Bastrop, and Caldwell Counties to ultimately greenprint the entire five-county central Texas area.

About The Trust for Public Land

Since its founding in 1972, The Trust for Public Land has helped protect more than 2.2 million acres of land in 46 states. In Texas, TPL has protected more than 30,000 acres for communities, including areas in and around Arlington, Austin, Dallas, Denton, Houston, and San Antonio. The Trust for Public Land depends on the support and generosity of individuals, foundations, and businesses to achieve its land for people mission.

An electronic image of the Greenprint map is available upon request.

For comment from AMD, contact Travis Bullard at 512.602.5667