9 Aug

New Lights at Barton Springs

Concerns about the newly installed lighting at Barton Springs Pool will be addressed at the next meeting of the Land, Facilities and Programs Committee of the Parks and Recreation Board.

The meeting will take place beginning at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 19, 2014, at the Parks and Recreation Department Annex, 919 W. 28½ St., in the Shoal Creek Room. There will be opportunity for public comment.

1 Aug

Barton Springs Volunteer Pool Cleaning — Thursday, August 7!

Seems too cool to be summer, but here we are in August, ready for the next Friends of Barton Springs Pool Volunteer Pool Cleaning.  Join us on Thursday, August 7 to help tidy, scrub, clean, and love the pool!   We have 2-hour shifts between 10 am and 2 pm, so bring some friends! Food and ‘freshments will be supplied.

If you plan on attending, please email president@friendsofbartonspringspool.org to RSVP!

You can also sign up for the cleaning on VolunteerSpot, by following these easy steps:

1. Click this link to go to our invitation page on VolunteerSpot:


2. Enter your email address:(You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot)

3. Sign up! Choose your spots – VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders.

Pool cleanings take place in two-hour from 10-12 and 12-2.  We need three to ten volunteers for each shift along with experienced volunteers to serve as shift leaders.

At the seasonal monthly pool cleanings, FBSP volunteers scrub rocks, vacuum the pool bottom, clean algae off steps and railings, skim algae off the pool surface, plant flowers and help maintain the pool grounds, paint benches and trim, and generally lend a hand to make the pool and grounds as clean and beautiful as possible.

We look look forward to seeing you there!

30 Jul

New FBSP Board Members

At the July FBSP Board Meeting on July 29, 2014, we elected the following new board members to the indicated positions:  Phyllis Barron (Membership Chair),  Velida Gutierrez (Fun Chair), Manaswini Kotecha (Treasurer), Lindsey Robbins (Fundraising Chair), Cate Sweeney (Communications Chair), and Jennifer Zankowski (Advocacy Chair).

We are delighted to see the passion and volunteer spirit of these wonderful additions to the Friends of Barton Springs Pool board, and look forward to working with them to a help return the pool to its rightful glory.

28 Jul

FBSP Board Meeting — July 29, 2014 at Hopfields

The next FBSP Board Meeting will be Tuesday, July 29 at 6:30 pm at Hopfields (3110 Guadalupe).

Hope to see you there!

14 Jul

Statesman Article — “Slowly, surely, we’re making pool treasure sparkle again”

In the Statesman’s July 2, 2014 issue, Robin Cravey posted a nice article recapping the recent progress at Barton Springs Pool.  Read and enjoy!

Austin marked the realization of a vision last week. On July 9, City Council members, city staff and many friends of Barton Springs Pool gathered at the south gate of the pool to celebrate the completion of the general grounds improvements.

In 2006, the pool was mired in muck, eroded, degraded and deteriorated. Then a small band of swimmers organized the Friends of Barton Springs Pool and called for a new vision. It was a vision of this artesian treasure clean again, and surrounded by works worthy of it. With our vision outlined in a one-page memo, we made the rounds at City Hall.

It wasn’t a grand vision. There were no sunny pleasure domes with caves of ice. It was a vision of stewardship: Energize the work of caretaking; cultivate the things that are dying; repair the things that are breaking; restore the grace of design.

The response to this vision was moving. Then-City Manager Toby Futrell set aside a downpayment in the 2007 budget. Council Members Sheryl Cole, Lee Leffingwell and Betty Dunkerley championed a resolution to write a Barton Springs Pool Master Plan.

Soon, architects Limbacher and Godfrey were helping us shape the vision into a plan. And because so many needs were so long overdue, we divided the plan into short-term projects and long-term projects. Once drafted, the plan went through an arduous public process.

In 2009 the council unanimously adopted the plan. Even though the plan was adopted, each part of it has gone through its own laborious public process, not always artfully done. The sturdy members of the Friends and our allies trooped to meeting after meeting, week in and week out, year in and year out.

Gradually, one by one, the short-term projects were designed, approved and built. Gradually, the state of the pool was improved. Each one of the projects, however mundane, has been a milestone.

Some were simply deferred maintenance:

• Remove accumulated flood debris;

• Repair the floodwater bypass tunnel;

• Take care of the badly neglected trees;

• Stabilize the inner walls at Sunken Gardens;

• Replace the roof on the bathhouse.

Some were studies needed for future improvements:

• Survey the topography of the pool and grounds;

• Model the hydrodynamics of flow through the pool;

• Test the structure and strength of the dams.

Now, with innovations most nearly grand, the general grounds improvements are complete. The tree court has been landscaped with generous green space. The airspace over the pool, long marred by powerlines, is now open to the sky. A beautiful new accessible path on the south side now stretches like a beckoning embrace to all comers. The south grounds have been extended out to encompass a row of stately pecan trees.

For this project, it was architects Larson and Burns who provided the professional design services.

At last we can begin to see the difference that the master plan has made in the pool. And those are just the short-term projects.

During most of this long effort, I was president of FBSP, but Steve Barnick and Gary Beyer also served, and now Mike Cannatti is leading the organization into the future. Throughout, we have enjoyed the strong support of the Austin Parks Foundation and all our allies on the Barton Springs Plan Coordinating Committee.

Nothing could happen, of course, without the valiant service of members of our boards and commissions, or the hard work of the city staff.

Next we move forward to the long-term projects: renovate the bathhouse; restore the rotunda as the entry and focus of the building; add showers on the south side; improve the dams to improve water quality.

Austin voters approved $2 million in bonds for the bathhouse renovation. The Friends are committed to raising additional funds. Get ready to chip in.

Cravey is an Austin attorney and past president of the Friends of Barton Springs Pool.

8 Jul

July 9 — Barton Springs Improvement Project Completion Celebration

The Barton Springs Grounds Improvement Completion Celebration will occur on Wednesday, \July 9 (10 am).  Come down to celebrate the improvements to Barton Springs! The south-side entrance will be open.

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