5th Annual Council Cleans the Pool Day a wild success

Barton Springs summertime main event was a wild success!  So many reputable elected officials and their aides showed up, the mucky mucks were crying uncle before any action in the ring could begin and remained hidden beneath four feet of water and the pretense that ‘if you mess with us, the bypass will collapse.’  A few brave souls and biologists still charged the deeps to shake some of the muck from the muckies and relocate them to greener pastures out in the lake where they will be desirable.

However, it was obvious that many of the council and assembled officials came itching to rumble as they tried to throw each other into the pool with moderate success.  And those who were not thrown in the pool, all bravely volunteered to grab cleaning implements and scrub away.   It was a veritable circus of cleaning and everyone was in the ring. Two lines of chanting conga pushbroomers had the shallow end sparkling like a buddhist temple waiting for the Dalai Lama to arrive.  There were people everywhere, working the brooms, scrubbing the walls, netting algae, trying out the power equipment.  Laurie Dries led an entourage into the south side lions den of algae and gave a great lesson on separating the good from the bad and whipping grime from the salamander crevasses with a hose.  Robin Cravey garnered a new title to his already estimable credit, ‘The Barber of Barton Springs’ as he trimmed the ebulant growth of plants in the deep end to a respectable swimming and diving level.  Perhaps he will be offering free hair cuts to volunteers at the next cleaning.  You sit in one of the pecan trunk chairs and he stands 12 feet away with our new pole saws.  His precision is amazing.

We extend our deepest gratitude to all those who volunteered with us this August and the gracious donations of the council to our equipment inventory.  And we look forward to seeing all of you again down at the pool helping to restore its rightful glory!

-Jonathan Beall, FBSP Service Chair

Thanks to our sponsors:

Alamo logo

August 2010 President’s Report

Friends receive $300,000 check at Council Cleans the Pool Day

by Robin Cravey

Senator Kirk Watson along with Mayor Lee Leffingwell present at check for $300,000 to FBSP

Senator Kirk Watson was the new man at the Fifth Annual Council Cleans the Pool Day in August.  Mayor Lee Leffingwell, all the members of the Austin City Council, Representative Donna Howard, and Commissioner Karen Huber all returned for another grand day.

Kirk, a former mayor of Austin, was there to present the Friends with a check for $300,000.  The money came from a special program at the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, and will be used to help pay for the improvements to the bypass tunnel.  With Kirk’s help and the participation of Charlie McCabe at the Austin Parks Foundation, we applied for the funds and received them.  When the city actually does the work on the bypass tunnel, we will pass the money through to them.

Lee improved the occasion by challenging the staff to get cracking on the bypass tunnel work.  His enthusiastic support of the Pool and the master plan is inspiring.  Besides accepting the check on behalf of the city, he also presented the Friends with a half dozen brooms on behalf of the council.

Kirk was also there to clean the Pool.  He came in his trunks, and after the presentation, he waded down into the water and pushed a broom with the broom brigade.  Also in the brigade with him were Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez and Councilmembers Chris Riley and Laura Morrison.  With all our new brooms, and our wealth of volunteers, we had two broom brigades working in the first shift.

Councilmember Sheryl Cole is such a cutup!  Last year, in a playful moment, she dunked Mike Martinez.  This year, Sheryl tried to push Kirk into the Pool, but he outmaneuvered her and tossed her into the water!

Randi Shade came early, and had to leave before the presentation.  Bill Spelman arrived after the presentation, but did get in the pool and work with one of the buffers.

Council Cleans the Pool Day just grows every year.  We began it in 2006 as a way to bring the council members down to let them see first hand what it takes to keep the pool clean, and what the pool needs.  It’s still about that, but it takes on new dimensions each year.  We never even thought about inviting a state legislator, but the next year Donna Howard came on her own initiative to show her support.  Then Commissioner Karen Huber.  This year Senator Kirk Watson (with a big fat check).  I think the real reason is that word is getting around that cleaning the Pool is fun and satisfying.

Continue reading “August 2010 President’s Report”

FBSP receives $300,000 grant from TCEQ to fund repairs to the Bypass Tunnel Grate

At a press conference at the 5th Annual Council Cleans the Pool on Thursday, August 12th, Senator Kirk Watson presented a $300,000 check to the Friends of Barton Springs Pool on behalf of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quaility. Officials who were present include: Mayor Lee Leffingwell; Senator Kirk Watson, County Commissioner Karen Huber, State Rep. Donna Howard, and Austin City Council Members Sheryl Cole, Mike Martinez, Bill Spelman, Laura Morrison, and Chris Riley.

With the encouragement of Senator Kirk Watson, FBSP applied to the TCEQ for Supplemental Environmental Project (SEP) funding. The grant in the amount of $300,000 will be passed through to the City of Austin to help with the cost of repairs to the bypass tunnel by establishing establish an improved outlet gate onto the bypass tunnel to help manage water levels and aid in maintenance of the pool.

These particular SEP funds resulted from water pollution fines collected after Travis County environmental staff investigated the 2007 pollution in Hamilton Creek and Hamilton Pool. The Travis County Attorney, Hays County and TX Attorney General successfully sued for damages to this unique Hill Country stream. Most funds go to Travis County for the cleanup of Hamilton Pool, but $300,000 of the funds received by the State of Texas will go to our Barton Springs Pool SEP.

Afterwards, elected officials and volunteers grabbed their brooms donated by the Austin City Council and began their yearly tradition of cleaning Barton Springs Pool with FBSP.

The Friends of Barton Springs Pool is an organization creating a community of people to restore Barton Springs Pool to its rightful glory. www.friendsofbartonspringspool.org.