Tuesday, June 14, 2022

The Trail Foundation and City of Austin Formally Expand Partnership Through Park Operations and Maintenance and Agreement

Today, The Trail Foundation (TTF) and City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department announced the execution of the park operations and maintenance agreement (POMA), giving TTF expanded responsibilities as the steward of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail.

The execution of the POMA shifts the organization toward a conservancy model, where it will ultimately become the primary party responsible for operations and maintenance of the Butler Trail and 200+ acres of parkland.

“The City of Austin has always been a wonderful partner in helping advance initiatives on the Trail,” said Heidi Anderson, CEO of The Trail Foundation. “Because of the City’s trust in the organization, TTF will now be able to better support and serve the Trail and our community. The Trail is an iconic Austin landmark, and we are excited to invest even further and deliver an incredible experience for neighbors and visitors alike to get out and enjoy nature.”

Since its founding 19 years ago, TTF has raised private funds to create new infrastructure projects, including the Boardwalk, Congress Avenue Bridge, community restrooms and access points along the Trail, along with conservation projects such as native plantings and restoration of the shoreline.

Key points of the new agreement, which was officially signed on Friday, June 10, include:
  • The parkland will always remain public property owned by the City.
  • TTF will have more opportunities to host programming and family-friendly events along the Trail, including live musical performances such as their weekly Music on the Trail series, volunteer opportunities, fitness activations, etc. The Trail itself will never be closed for events.
  • TTF has created an extensive operations and maintenance plan that includes plantings, tree care, trail edge maintenance and more to beautify and restore ecological growth.
  • TTF will continue to expand its organizational capacity and private funding to manage and pay for its new role and phased plans.
“This agreement represents an exciting new chapter for The Trail Foundation, one that we are proud to be part of and support,” said Kimberly McNeely, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department. “The Trail Foundation has served as the trusted steward of the Butler Trail for nearly two decades, and this partnership is the right step in ensuring the best possible future for one of Austin’s most beloved outdoor spaces. We look forward to continuing our work together toward a shared goal of enhancing and connecting the Trail for the benefit of all.”

The expanded role of nonprofit organizations to support public parks is both a local and national trend. Across the country, cities have fewer resources for parks, and at the same time, demand for green space among urban development is growing. This is especially true in Austin, where visits to the Trail have more than doubled in the past few years as population and tourism have grown – making this type of stewardship more important than ever.

About The Trail Foundation
The Trail Foundation’s mission is to protect, enhance, and connect the Butler Hike-and-Bike-Trail at Lady Bird Lake for the benefit of all. The Butler Trail is the 10-mile lush, urban path in the heart of Austin that gets more than 4.9 million visits every year. Since its founding in 2003, The Trail Foundation has achieved restoration and beautification projects to the Trail’s infrastructure and environment, while honoring the original vision of the Trail’s founders and ensuring its vibrancy for generations to come.


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