Austin’s Aquatics oversees about 30 public pools, though several have closed or are in danger of closing. See our Resources tab for specific information on budget/bonds.
As City Council reps and Mayor Adler make budget and bond decisions this summer, they need to hear from their constituents. They are discussing in June the budget for the coming year (operations and maintenance) and potential bond issues (funding for new and longer-term projects). Below is the list of City Council reps and phone numbers for each district and the pools in each district; second names are staff who address pools.
When contacting representatives, explain how you use the pools and why they are important to the community. Consider explaining your perspective on how pools foster community, affordability, health, swim safety, youth swim lessons and teams, historic or community value, and other issues.
If you are willing to table-sit to spread the word at some of the pools in underserved areas this summer, let Steve or Laura know possible times and locations. We would like to reach out to residents in districts where Council Reps are undecided–Houston, Casar, Garza, Renteria, and Troxclair, in particular–to make sure those residents know how to make their voices heard. We have posters, a table, information and popsicles!
A few talking points:
- Pools act as a neighborhood hub as our city continues to grow and expand, encouraging newcomers and long-timers to interact to keep Austin friendly and connected.
- Pools provide inexpensive (or free!) outdoor recreation to all ages, ethnicities, economic levels–especially important as cost-of-living rises in Austin.
- Pools provide opportunities for physical fitness and mental well-being. Many pools host summer swim teams for hundreds of Austin kids and teens.
- Pools offer swim lessons and practice, crucial safety skills.
- Pools offer safety training for emergency responders and for lifeguards, along with jobs.
- Pools were the reason many of us selected and stayed in our homes, despite rising taxes.
- Not all pools need expensive upgrades to include lilypads or slides.
- A number of our pools have historical significance.
Use this link to email all city council members and the mayor:
Mayor Adler, 512-978-2100
District 1 (Ora Houston), 512-978-2101
District 2 (Delia Garza/Jackie Goodman), 512-978-2102
District 3 (Pio Renterio), 512-978-2103
Mabel Davis Municipal (closed)
District 4 (Greg Casar), 512-978-2104
St. John’s (closed)
District 5 (Ann Kitchen), 512-978-2105
Barton Springs Municipal
District 6 (Jimmy Flannigan), 512-978-2106
District 7 (Leslie Pool) 512-978-2107
Walnut Creek Municipal
District 8 (Ellen Troxclair/Brian), 978-2108
District 9 (Kathie Tovo/Ashley Richardson), 512-978-2109
District 10 (Alison Alter/Kurt), 512-978-2110, firstname.lastname@example.org
Deep Eddy Municipal
Memo from Kimberley McNeeley, Acting Director, Austin Parks and Recreation Department, to the City Council
June 4, 2018
The purpose of this memo is to provide an update regarding the maintenance, operations, and staffing associated with Parks and Recreation Department Aquatic Facilities for the 2018 summer season. The Aquatic Division has worked diligently through the winter months to prepare for the summer season. The following provides aquatic system current condition information.
The Aquatic Division operates 11 splash pads, which opened on May 14, 2018. Lott Splash Pad was not operational for the opening day due to mechanical issues that have since been addressed, and it is now open to the public. Most recently, mechanical issues at both Pease and Chestnut Splash Pads have resulted in temporary closures while the issues are being resolved. We expect both Splash Pads to be repaired and operational within a week.
As part of the 2014 Aquatics Assessment, Givens Pool was identified as one of seven critical pools not likely to remain operational for more than five years. A routine leak detection at the end of the 2016 summer discovered that Givens Pool was leaking in excess of 50,000 gallons per day. An engineering assessment was conducted and verified the lack of structural integrity at Givens Pool. The report recommended sealing all the cracks and joints of both sides of the floor and walls where possible. The report also recommends identifying and repairing all other leaks in the pool system in order to reduce previously described foundation movement and pressure on the pool wall.
Givens Pool was closed for the Summer of 2017 in order to make all necessary repairs to extend the life of the facility. The engineering assessment and renovations cost approximately $250,000, and was funded by the 2012 bond. Unfortunately, after this significant investment, the pool system is still currently leaking approximately
60,000 gallons of water per day. By adjusting the water levels in the pool and recapturing some of the leaking water and diverting it back into the system, the Aquatic Team has been able to reduce the water loss enough to open the pool for the 2018 season. However, it is important to note that this pool remains in critical condition. Because both bond funding and allocated repair funding from the general fund have been fully utilized or allocated, further deterioration of conditions over the summer could require a pool closure.
Mabel Davis Pool
When preparing to open Mabel Davis Pool for the Summer of 2017, it was discovered that the pool was leaking a significant amount of water. A leak test conducted just prior to the 2017 season found that the pool was leaking
219,000 gallons of water per day.
At the time of discovery the pool was closed for the 2017 season. PARD had to receive approval from the Texas
Commission on Environmental Quality before an investigation to determine the source of the leak could begin.
Portions of Mable Davis Pool, specifically the deep end, is considered to be the cap to a former landfill. After receiving approval to make cuts into the pool bottom, staff investigated the source of the leak.
Several leaks were discovered and a contractor was hired to develop a scope of work and make repairs to the pool. The contractor is currently on site finishing those repairs, and is optimistic that the repairs will reduce the amount of water lost enough to operate for the 2018 summer season. PARD estimates that all repairs will be completed by mid to late June, and the facility will be opened at that time.
The Aquatic Maintenance Team discovered a significant crack in the motor responsible for filtration during the routine pool opening maintenance conducted on June 3, 2018. Maintenance staff will work expeditiously to repair the crack; however, if the crack is an indication of a larger issue, the motor will require full replacement. Patterson pool is expected to be closed between 2 days and a full week depending upon the needed repair.
Aging infrastructure and aging mechanical components continue to contribute to operational challenges and system instability. Seven pools were listed in the 2014 Aquatic Assessment as critical, and will most likely fail within the next five years, those facilities include: Civitan, Gillis, Givens, Govalle, Montopolis, Northwest, and Shipe.
Shipe and Govalle Pools have been closed due to failure, and construction for complete replacement of these facilities is scheduled to begin in the Fall of 2018. The other pools remain on the critical list and are being monitored closely by Aquatic Division Staff.
The Aquatic Division has made great improvements to the hiring and recruiting process for lifeguards over the past two seasons. Currently, the Aquatic Division is on track with the hiring and training of lifeguards needed for the 2018 summer season, and is optimistic that there will be no issues with staffing levels that result in pool closures. Please know that there may be features within a given pool that are not fully available due to minimum staffing levels at that specific location.
Should you have any questions, please contact my office at (512) 974-6722.
KXAN ran a piece (see video in link) about the problems facing some of our pools.
Austin Aquatics oversees about thirty public pool facilities, though several have closed or are in danger of closing. Municipal Pools, including Barton Springs, charge entry fees and remain open for longer periods. Neighborhood Pools are open in the summer; Big Stacy is open year-round. Below are the City Council reps for each district; second names are staff assigned to pool issues.
We need citizens to email or call their representatives, especially Ora Houston, Delia Garza, Pio Reneteria, Greg Casar, Ellen Troxclair, and Mayor Adler, to express how you feel about Austin’s pools. Explain how you/your family and friends use the pools and why they are important to maintain as community facilities. We have had strong support from Reps. Tovo, Kitchen, Pool, and Alter and their staffs, but they all need to hear from you as City Council sets in June the budget for the coming year (operations and maintenance) and debates the bond issues (which fund long-term projects).
District 1 (Ora Houston)
District 2 (Delia Garza/Jackie Goodman)
District 3 (Pio Renterio)
Mabel Davis Municipal (closed)
District 4 (Greg Casar)
St. John’s (closed)
District 5 (Ann Kitchen)
Barton Springs Municipal
District 6 (Jimmy Flannigan)
District 7 (Leslie Pool)
Walnut Creek Municipal
District 8 (Ellen Troxclair/Brian)
District 9 (Kathie Tovo/Ashley Richardson)
District 10 (Alison Alter/Kurt)
Deep Eddy Municipal
Pools are in the news, as the Chronicle published an article about the history of the pool system! One correction: LAP came together as a grassroots response to the Swim512 proposal to close 14 pools, instead of as a response to the task force convened by City Council. However, it is great that this article has come out just as City Council is discussing the city budget and the upcoming bonds. You can read it here, Austin Chronicle article on the pools.
Hey, LAP friends,
The City is beginning to discuss the year’s budget (daily operational costs) as well as the bond issues (longer-term projects). We need to reach out to neighbors, neighborhood associations, friends, and others who use the pools and let them know their voices matter. It is critical that each of the City Council representatives hear what is on their constituents’ minds. Via email, phone calls, or personal visits, Austinites need to tell their City Council representatives about their experiences with the local pools and that our pools are an important part of making Austin a livable city. We are all aware of the need for affordable housing and support those initiatives, but we also believe the pools enhance the quality of life here, for many residents.
Pools provide healthy, low-cost (or free) recreation for families and youths. Pools are necessary for children to learn to swim. Pools serve as community hubs to keep Austin connected and friendly. Please share your thoughts about our pools with City Council and Mayor Adler! They need to hear from you.
Hi, LAP, This might be a good way to partner with others in your districts to preserve our neighborhoods and community spaces.
Adopt-A-Park Summit Registration for our 4th annual summit is now open, and we should be a great way to introduce the program, our resources and other park adopters.
Austin Parks Foundation and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department are partnering to host this year’s Summit on Saturday, May 12th from 9am-2:30pm at the LCRA Redbud Center. You can see the schedule and session topics on our website, or click below to register now.
We tried to give everyone a breather, after our advocacy from June to January. Now we need to get back into the saddle! Coming up in May-June are talks about the upcoming bond election, as well as discussions of the city budget.
Austin Parks Foundation spoke with Steve and me after LAP’s success in January and is willing to help LAP with any fundraising and already has done some polling on behalf of pools. Thanks to APF for their support! In return, please find ways to be supportive of their organization. One thing we can do is show up for Adopt-a-Park and other programs to help spread the word that pools are an important part of Austin’s parks and communities.
LAP is now looking for “captains” for each of Austin’s districts. This captain simply needs to stay aware of issues and town halls in your city council district and keep LAP aware so we can help rally support for district town halls or write notes to City Councilmembers. With the 10-district Council, it is important to encourage support from ALL areas of town, so that our voices continue to be heard. We are starting to think about how we might encourage support of pools in the budget and bond processes, and your ideas are welcome.
Working toward securing historical status for appropriate pools/park features is a crucial means of funding those locations, so let Susan know if you would like to help with that.
LAP already has support from many districts, but we are hoping to reach out to a wider audience now, to let folks know why pools are an integral part of our communities. Please touch base with us, via email@example.com, or reach out directly to me or to Steve, if you have interest in acting as a district captain or thoughts about how to convey our ideas to a wider audience.
The Austin Chronicle wrote up a piece about the vote. Clearly, we still have work to do!