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!
An intrepid LAP group in blue out-waited numerous other CoA business items, for about 3 hours, at City Hall last night. However, we emerged victorious, with council adopting a revised Aquatics plan to preserve the pools! Thanks to Susan, Martha, Kata, Robyn, Karen, Blake, Randeen, Steve, Lisa, Bill, Adriana, Anita, Beth, Ria, Patricia, Al, Kata,(and Laura)–forgive me if I’ve missed a name–and there were more on our side, speaking from the Montopolis area, and two parks board members, Rick Cofer and Rich de Palma on hand, besides all the hard-working Aquatics staff. The council had a thoughtful discussion, which we much appreciate, and was almost unanimous in its approval to properly fund the aquatics facilities.
We are especially grateful for the contributions and directions of Rep. Alison Alter and her excellent staffer Kim Jowers. She suggested (and had printed ahead of session) directives to keep future council decisions moving toward goals that serve residents well, with regard to the pools. In addition, Mayor Pro Tem Kathie Tovo spoke about the importance of keeping neighborhood pools free and made official an amendment to the Aquatics plan requiring that any request to decommission a pool, if ultimately necessary, should come before the council and include time for public input.
Thank you very sincerely for all the letters, email, calls, visits to City Hall, and support since June. The bond money is still a necessary piece of the puzzle, and those negotiations are ongoing. We need to pause, though, and celebrate what has been accomplished: The revised Aquatics plan has been adopted, and it preserves our pools! Congratulations!
We need you and your swim friends to turn out on Thursday (Feb 1) at 6pm to remind City Council, as they vote, why it is important to preserve Austin’s pools and how many of Austin’s citizens do care.
Plan time for parking issues, wear blue, and get a sign and a Love Austin Pools button. We will gather in the lobby and sit together for the vote. This is what we have worked for since JUNE! Please make time to come support this important issue.
We can’t fix all the world issues, but we can Preserve Our Pools! Pass the word.
Let City Council hear about your connections to the pools this week. Individual contact info is in the previous post, or email them ALL through this link. I suggest composing your letter, then copying it into the space provided.
Anyone who has a flexible schedule, please consider coming to City Hall Feb 1 for the City Council vote on the revised Aquatics Plan. I will update you if we get a precise time for the issue.
We have 100 LOVE AUSTIN POOLS buttons, for sale at cost, to show support. Wear blue!
The revised Aquatics Master Plan goes up for a vote by City Council in February. Thanks to all who made our planning meeting, especially to those who have offered expertise in historic designation, architectural photography, communications and other areas. Talking points and City Council contacts are listed below!
Action items for everyone who wants to support the pools:
- Talk to your neighborhood associations or write in to your news forums about the need for appropriate budgeting and for bond money to cover longer-term pool projects, to bring older pools up to safety code and build pools in underserved areas. (Talking points below, to use as starting point.)
- Call for an appointment to talk with your city council representative about your concerns for the neighborhood pools. Talking points are listed below, and a template to give you ideas of what you might want to say. However, we all have our own stories: what is important is for City Council to hear that this matters to so many people across town. Note: Validated parking under city hall. You may meet with staff who advise council members on specific issues instead of the reps themselves. In our experience, they are genuinely interested in hearing your views and happy to make contact with constituents.
- Write to all City Council members in support of investing in necessary pool maintenance and in building pools in underserved areas. (See full list below.)
- Help with our effort to designate some of the pools/features as historic. Let us know if you are interested in research or asking a city council member to sponsor one of the pools we believe have historic significance. We have a committee with expertise and connections but would welcome additional assistance with photography, research, and outreach. Email Lcottam[at]sbcglobal[dot]net to be routed to this committee.
Talking points: It is important for you to share your own story of connection to the pools. You might consider explaining your perspective on how pools foster community, affordability, health, swim safety, youth swim teams, accessibility, historic value, or other issues. A few points to get you thinking:
- 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.
Contact information for the Austin City Council
Council Member – District 6
Physical address: 301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, Texas 78701
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767
Chief of staff: Marti Bier, firstname.lastname@example.org
Senior Policy Advisor: Taylor Smith, email@example.com
Communications Director: Kate Messer, firstname.lastname@example.org
Constituent Relations Director: Ceci Gratias, email@example.com
Constituent Support Specialist: Lizzy Carol, firstname.lastname@example.org
Council Member – District 10
Physical address: 301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, Texas 78701
Mailing address: P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767
I hope you had pleasant holidays! However, City Council has a vote on the new aquatics master plan in February, so we need to get busy. We meet this Saturday, at Twin Oaks library on south 5th and Mary Streets, at 10:15 am. Free parking, no room fee, coffee and Thai food across the street in case of emergency. 🙂
Primarily, we need each of you to PLEASE 1) write letters or email the city council members again and 2) talk about this issue with friends and neighbors, so people understand the issue.