“Council Fixes the Pool” Day on September 19, 2013

On Thursday, September 19th at 9 am, Austin City Council members joined volunteers from the Friends of Barton Springs Pool, city staff, and other pool stakeholders (including Clean Water Action, Environment Texas, Preservation Austin, Save Barton Creek Association, Save Our Springs Alliance, and Sierra Club of Austin) at the first official “Council FIXES the Pool Day” to review the many Council-approved improvement projects for Barton Springs Pool and the surrounding area for the purpose of recognizing City Council for their work to support Barton Springs.  The event kicked off at 9 am with a short press conference presentation by pool stakeholders of recent Barton Springs Pool projects supported by City Council, followed comments from the City Councilmembers in attendance.  After the press conference, a “pool snorkeling tour” was conducted with Councilmembers Morrison and Tovo to review firsthand the pool features and improvements.

Mayor Lee Leffingwell, Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole, and City Council Members Mike Martinez, Laura Morrison, Chris Riley, and Kathie Tovo all attended, with Bill Spelman would have attended but for a last-minute family commitment.

The following projects were recognized by the indicated pool stakeholder speaker:

  • Welcome & recognition — Mike Cannatti, FBSP;
  • 2012 Bond Package with $30M for open space and watershed protection funds – Steve Beers, SBCA and/or Dick Kallerman, Save Our Springs Alliance;
  • 2012 Bond Package with $2M for Bathhouse Renovation funds – Mike Cannatti, FBSP;
  • Bypass tunnel repairs – Johnnie Price, City of Austin Watershed Protection Project Manager;
  • New inlet grate to the bypass tunnel paid for with the TCEQ grant of $300,000 – Tom Weber, FBSP;
  • Barton Springs Habitat Conservation Plan and updated federal permit – Laurie Dries, City of Austin Evolutionary Ecologist, Watershed Protection Dept.;
  • Status Update on Short Term Projects from Barton Springs Pool Master Plan – Tom Nelson, City of Austin Division Manager, Aquatics;
  • Grounds Improvement Project – Robin Camp, City of Austin Project Manager;
  • Grounds Improvement Project:  The Public Process – Roy Waley, Sierra Club of Austin;
  • City funding of a Preservation position at PARD for work to recognize historic assets in Zilker Park – Jacqui Schraad, Preservation Austin;
  • Presentation of $10,000 check from FBSP to the city for the purchase of additional trees inside Barton Springs Pool – Mike Cannatti, FBSP;

Additional information from the Press Release are posted here.

Pictures from the event are posted below:

Read the full Press Release here.

Celebrate the “Barton Springs Fest” on August 10, 2013

Please join us at the “Barton Springs Fest” to celebrate our local treasure on Saturday, August 10th at Barton Springs Pool for a full day of fun, outdoor and adventure learning, food and live music.  Friends of Barton Springs will be joining other pool stakeholder and supporter groups at the ”Barton Springs University area” under the pecans trees outside the fence on the south side of Barton Springs Pool, so look for our table and new groovy green tie-dye FBSP t-shirts!

Officially sanctioned by City Council resolution to commemorate the anniversary of the August 8, 1992 voter approval of Austin’s Save Our Springs citizen-initiative ordinance, Barton Springs Fest will include Eco-Snorkel Tours of Barton Springs (8-10 AM), Diving Competition (9 – 10:30 AM), a number of Barton Springs University Speakers (10 AM – 4 PM), and Music on the South Hill (4 – 7 PM).  Additional details are posted at www.sosalliance.org/community/barton-springs-fest.

Monday is Give 5% for Mother Earth Day!

Get ready, friends! Earth Day is next week, and once again FBSP is proud to participate in Give 5% for Mother Earth day here in Austin. On Monday, April 22nd, more than 200 local businesses will generously donate 5% of their profits to seven local environmental nonprofits, including FBSP. So click the link above to find out where to eat, drink and shop to support the environment on April 22!  You will be supporting some great local businesses, as well as helping keep our environment clean, our parks tidy, our springs pristine, our trees aplenty, our open spaces preserved, and so much more!

But you don’t have to wait until Monday – you can start today with the following cool events:

Thursday, April 18th – Head over to Shady Grove as they support “Give 5% to Mother Earth!” Austin’s own, Suzanna Choffel will be rockin’ out for Mother Earth at KGSR’s Unplugged at the Grove! So grab a Hippie Chick and a brewskie and enjoy some live music while doing a great thing! A portion of sales on Thursday, April 18th will benefit the campaign.

Sunday, April 21st – Join Windmill Bicycles on Sunday, April 21st to wave on the MS150 riders down Manor Road! They’ll have their usual awesome shenanigans, live music, and a portion of sales will benefit “Give 5% to Mother Earth!”

Monday, April 22nd – Eat, shop, sip, play, clean, ALL OVER TOWN to support seven non-profits who work tirelessly to keep your Austin, Austin. Over 200 locations are committed to give 5% of sales to the campaign, so pick one, (or ten!) and go show them you appreciate their good work!

Tuesday, April 23rd – Take your sweetie or treat yourself to lunch, drinks, or dinner at the lovely Chez Nous or go get some to-die-for cheese at Antonelli’s Cheese Shop and a portion of your sales benefit the campaign!

We Did It! Council Unanimously Approves Grounds Improvements

Thank you!  Thank you! Thank you to everyone who called, emailed, and attended meetings over the years, and especially in the last few months during the final push for approval.

Last night, after a long day of waiting, the City Council opened the public hearing on the SOS Ordinance amendments that would allow the Grounds Improvements projects to go forward.  Around 11:30 pm, after hearing from a variety of stakeholders, including FBSP board and members, the City Council voted unanimously to approve the amendment!

Through many rounds of revisions to the plans, all stakeholders were able to come to an agreement to approve the plans going forward.  This included a meeting just earlier this week, called by Councilmember Laura Morrison, at which representatives from a variety of groups met at the pool, and were able to agree on a new, better location for the ADA access overlook so that disabled patrons can enjoy the views of the South Lawn.

We could not be more excited to see these worthy projects finally on the path to completion. If all goes well, construction will begin in October 2013.

If you would like to email the City Council members to thank them for their vote, their emails are below.

Click here to email all Council members.

Lee Leffingwell (Mayor): lee.leffingwell@austintexas.gov

Sheryl Cole (Mayor Pro Tem): sheryl.cole@austintexas.gov

CM Mike Martinez: mike.martinez@austintexas.gov

CM Chris Riley: chris.riley@austintexas.gov

CM Bill Spelman: william.spelman@austintexas.gov

CM Laura Morrison: laura.morrison@austintexas.gov

CM Kathie Tovo: kathie.tovo@austintexas.gov

Barton Springs Pool to Reopen This Saturday!

Mayor Lee Leffingwell announces the reopening of the Pool Saturday, March 30 2013.Great news, Friends! Mayor Lee Leffingwell, joined by Council Members Chris Riley, Mike Martinez and Laura Morrison, just held a press conference announcing that at long last, the work on the bypass tunnel is done and Barton Springs will reopen this Saturday, March 30 at 5:00 am!  See you there this weekend!

Planning Commission Denies Approval of Grounds Improvements

Tuesday night, the full Planning Commission voted to deny City staff’s recommendation for the variances and SOS amendments necessary to complete the Grounds Improvements. Only two commissioners, Chair Dave Anderson and Commissioner Myron Smith, did not join the motion to deny and spoke against it.  FBSP is very disappointed with their action of the Commission.

They did not reject the plans because they don’t support the Grounds Improvements – in fact, they discussed how necessary almost all of the projects are to control erosion, improve water quality, improve accessibility, and care for the trees and lawn.

However, they had reservations about the expansion of the parking lot, and wanted to see more options from City staff that did not expand, or even reduced the parking lot size and impervious cover, and increased bike parking even more than the current 40 spaces.  They also did not support the ADA path to the historic marker.

In effect, the Commission denied their approval, and put at risk four years of work on the plan, in order to send a message to City staff that they were serious in their objections to a few aspects of the plan.

What’s next? This does not stop the Grounds Improvements – they will go to the City Council on March 7, where the Council will likely set the public hearing on them for March 28.  All other Boards and Commissions have approved the plans, so this is only one rejection, but it is an important commission, and the could be used as a way to derail the entire project.

That’s why we will need you more than ever in the next month!  We will need members and supporters to call, send emails, and attend the Council meetings in support of the plans. Please stay tuned for alerts and updates from us.  Like our Facebook page, if you haven’t already.  And please email the City Council, and let them know you support the Grounds Improvements, and plan to attend the City Council meeting on March 28.

We can’t let this setback put a stop to our years of hard work on this project, and these vital improvements to our beloved pool!