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Conservation corps formed to improve city’s parks

Thursday, November 12, 2009 by Austin Monitor

Austin Community College’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies has teamed up with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Energy, and Goodwill Industries of Central Texas to launch a new initiative that will benefit both the city and ACC students.

 

Dubbed the Austin Conservation Corps, the project gives college students an opportunity to earn some money while helping improve the city’s parks. One of the program’s goals is to provide employment-training opportunities for the students.

 

The focus for this year is on the repair and rebuilding of the trail along Lady Bird Lake. Nine students are signed up to be part of the inaugural class.

 

Former Governor Mark White, Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, and former Mayor Bruce Todd were among those speaking at a news conference to launch the conservation corps Wednesday.

 

Martinez said, “Without partnerships like this, the City of Austin simply could not keep up and maintain the wonderful trail and park system that we have. Not that we don’t commit to it and not that we don’t have an incredible staff working for our Parks Department, but the demand that you see is what causes programs like this to come to fruition. We need folks to understand just how much our park system is used and how much care is needed to maintain it.”

 

ACC’s Center for Public Policy and Political Studies will oversee the conservation corps, whose members will be paid through Goodwill Industries. Austin Energy is paying for a supervisor for the corp’s work crew, while the parks department provides tools and equipment. The overall budget is $250,000.

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