Structural repairs to take place at Barton Springs Pool

To read the full story in the Austin American Statesman, click here.

By Marty Toohey, Asher Price
Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Barton Springs Pool has serious structural damage and will probably need to be closed for six months or more for repairs, according to city officials.

Those officials said they don’t know when the pool would close. Numerous factors, including the health of endangered salamanders living nearby, will play a part in that decision.

The damage does not pose an immediate safety hazard to the swimmers, sunbathers and others who use Barton Springs Pool, according to a Monday city memorandum written by the directors of the city’s parks and environmental protection departments. But if the city does not make repairs, the damage could worsen, eventually making the pool unsafe and threatening the salamanders.

“Not making any repairs … is not a realistic option,” the city memo said.

The repairs could cost $2.4 million to $4.7 million.

The damage is to an underground tunnel that runs parallel to the pool on its north side, underneath the sidewalk. During heavy rains, the tunnel shunts excess dirty water from the creek that feeds Barton Springs Pool. The tunnel is about 6 feet high and 10 feet wide.

City officials discovered cracks in the tunnel in October when the pool level began dropping, city spokeswoman Stephanie Lott said. As a temporary fix, the city put bricks and stones into the tunnel to equalize pressure with the pool.

More holes, none bigger than a pad of paper, have formed since then. There are now about a dozen holes.

“The structure has reached the end of its useful life,” said Stan Evans, an engineer with the city’s Watershed Protection and Development Review Department. “It’s just like when you wear a car out. We’re now in the process of determining strategies to repair that or replace it.”

Gary Beyer, vice president of the Friends of Barton Springs Pool association, said he hopes the city can find a way to conduct the repairs without closing the pool. Continue reading “Structural repairs to take place at Barton Springs Pool”

Volunteers needed this Saturday

A call for volunteers from our fundraising chairman Clarke Hammond:

Big Tent Rising this Saturday at the pool entrance at 9 A.M.

We collected $542 in donations and membership dues last Saturday! Folks are starting to expect us at the pool and are bringing their cash and checks to help our cause. I appreciate everyone who has been helping out and it has paid off. Let’s keep our Miracle Healing Spring Waters mission open for the rest of the Summer! We need volunteers  to come and knock out their 4 hour volunteering obligation this year while being immensely entertained, making new friends every minute, and helping improve the pool and environs!

To volunteer for this event, send an email to

July President’s Report

Download and read the full report here. The following is an article you will find in the report.

What it means to restore the Pool to its rightful glory
The goal of the Friends is to restore the pool to its rightful glory.  This goal has frequently been misunderstood.  What does it mean?

Some see the word ‘restore’ and think of restoring the pool to its former glory.  But we can’t turn back the clock.  Once the pool was cleaner, and the staff used chemicals to clean it.  We can’t do that now.  Once the aquifer was not developed.  Now it is.  Once the bathhouse was new, gracious, and spacious.  Now it’s old, rundown, and crammed full.

To restore the pool to its former glory is a forlorn hope, because it is a dynamic system and a living thing, always moving forward.

But to restore the pool to its rightful glory is a rallying cry with vision. Restoration honors the tradition and history.  And rightful glory envisions that noble state in which the pool is the grandest embodiment of itself that it has the right to be, when nature, history, recreation, and civic space are in  superb balance.  This is our goal.

-Robin Cravey