HARD WON BATTLE FOR PARK BONDS - VOTE

Submitted by hippie on October 30, 2005 - 12:42am.
AT STAKE: $62.2 MILLION TO BUY PARKS, OPEN SPACE.

Travis County Parks Commission, says that if the bond measure passes, the county plans to acquire Reimers Ranch.


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The Nature Conservancy of Texas, says the group supports a bond item that would preserve more than 2,300 acres of environmentally sensitive land in southwestern Travis County.
   

On Nov. 8 voters will decide whether the county should issue bonds to buy $62.2 million worth of parks and open space. Early voting began Monday (Oct 31).

That choice — which could trigger the largest round of parks spending in the county government's history — is being put before voters thanks largely to the lobbying done by a loose network of Travis County parks advocates, neighborhood associations and environmentalists. It really made a difference. The public input changed minds many times. The bonds would be paid back over 20 years.


                                                                                
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Included in the parks package are more than 2,300 acres of environmentally sensitive land in the southwestern part of the county. About half of that is Reimers Ranch, a now-private park beloved by rock climbers, hikers and fishermen. The package also includes about 500 acres of open space and parkland along Onion Creek, which runs through southeastern parts of Austin and the county, as well as upgrades to several existing parks and other small projects.

The alliance was formed amid concerns that southwestern Travis County is developing without proper oversight, endangering the area's beauty and water quality.

Travis County voters will decide Nov. 8 on three bond propositions, and early voting continues through Friday. The propositions are $65.5 million worth of roads and drainage projects, $62.2 million for parks and open space and $23.5 million for jail projects.

Amber Novak/FOR AMERICAN-STATESMAN

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