Greater and Greener 2019, an International Urban Parks Conference presented by City Parks Alliance, based in Washington, DC, has invited Laura to speak about the work of Love Austin Pools. She’ll be on a panel in Denver, Colorado, in July, talking about the efforts of LAP volunteers and the alliances we formed to help save our pools. More info about the conference is here: Greater and Greener
The Austin Parks and Recreation Department has launched Our Parks, Our Future, PARD’s Long Range Plan for the growth of the park system. Community meetings will be held Nov. 8-14 all across that city. We need the help our park partners to get the word out!
Thank you for your assistance and please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any questions or comments.
PARD Long Range Plan Team
Our Parks, Our Future 2018-2028 is PARD’s Long Range Plan for Land, Facilities and Programs (LRP).
The LRP will focus on the vision for Austin’s Park System in 2028, PARD’S 100th anniversary.
To find out more and to get involved, visit http://austintexas.gov/austinfutureparks.
Please note: E-mail correspondence to and from the City of Austin
is subject to requests for required disclosure under the Public Information Act.
The most important thing we can do in the next month is to talk to neighbors, friends, and family: Inform them and encourage them to VOTE. On the ballot in November are not only national elections, but a lot of issues that matter close to home. I am attaching the information about what bonds are up for a vote, and how they break down. Pools are up for $40 million, as part of the Parks & Recreation bond.
The budget covers regular annual maintenance, and Council voted to up that amount to $9.8 million, last I heard. Austin’s new City Manager Cronk suggested increases to the fees at municipal pools–those already charging–to help pay for the budget increase. Already you may have noticed Barton Springs and Deep Eddy are charging $5 instead of $3 for residents. The City does not plan to charge at neighborhoods pools.
The bond money goes for long-term projects, however. On the bond-money wish list for Aquatics are upgrades for existing pools, as well as a new Colony Park Pool, and a complete renovation for Givens, both located in historically underserved neighborhoods distant from other existing pools.
Thanks to everyone for all your help. Let’s get out the VOTE now!
Despite a few sheets of rain that whipped through, we had a good turnout for the Labor Day Pool Party! Thanks to Friends of Deep Eddy for co-hosting, to the Aquatics staff and lifeguards, to Forklift Dance, to the North Austin Rivermaids, to the water polo coach, the Reveleros and the Minor Mishap Marching Band! We were honored to have Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo and Council Member Alison Alter speak about the pools, with surprise guest appearances by Mayor Adler and mayoral candidate Laura Morrison.
Special thanks to each of you in Love Austin Pools who took the time to speak out, sit in meetings, collect signatures, write or call Council this year. Thanks to those who staffed the LAP table at the Pool Party (esp Brittney, Susan A, Patricia and Al, Randeen, Karen, Alison, Steve, and Brenda), who spoke all afternoon to folks interested in learning more about the budget and upcoming bond election. We have come a long way since our initial letters against closing 14 of the 34 Austin pools!
The annual budget (regular maintenance) for Aquatics is up 1.7% to $9.8 million dollars this fall, and the bond proposal (under the Parks & Recreation section) allots $40 million to pools for long-term projects like renovation and rebuilt or new pools for underserved areas–a far cry from closing 14 of the 34.
Please remember to vote in the upcoming bond election (bonds will be on the ballot of the general November election), and consider casting your ballot for the Parks & Recreation bond.
You guys are a great team!
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, email@example.com
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.