Love Austin Pools is a group of citizens who began writing letters to City Council, united in our concern about the draft Swim512 Master Plan introduced in June 2017. That plan marked “12 Bottom Pools” for eventual closure; among those are beloved and iconic pools with high attendance.
We requested that PARD and City Council review and accept community engagement on pools not deemed suitable for redesign and expansion, because these small, humble, sometimes historic pools are central to each neighborhood’s sense of community. City Council responded by commissioning a task force to review the plan; those task force recommendations were approved by Council this winter as the Aquatics Master Plan.
Since then, LAP members have familiarized ourselves with our City Council representatives and the processes by which money is raised and allotted for city projects. We continue to reach out to all parts of Austin so that voices from all neighborhoods will be heard, with regard to the pools. We have been working with City leaders, Austin Aquatics, Austin Parks Foundation and various neighborhood and community organizations to find innovative ways to support our unique pool system.
We advocate for pools to receive adequate yearly funding and bond money (for the long-term projects), to be equitably distributed, and to benefit all Austinites.
Our neighborhood and municipal pools offer
- affordable exercise options for neighbors
- proximity that eliminates excessive driving
- community building, as neighbors meet casually at the pool (outside their homes)
- accessibility: free and low-cost pools are open to people of all incomes, abilities, ethnicities, ages
- opportunities for children and youth to build community and swimming skills through summer swim teams
- within walking/biking distance to build community and cut down traffic
- invaluable swim skills, unlike waterparks that offer no deep water
- skills training and responsible jobs for Austin teens and adults
Early Austin leaders had tremendous foresight to provide our citizens this system of pools in our sub-tropical climate.
We now have an opportunity to pass forward this gift that makes Austin so unique and attractive for so many people.
Thank you for your interest in this issue.