On November 15th, the Joint Subcommittee of the Austin Environmental and Parks boards heard a presentation from architectural consultant Brian Larson of the Larson, Burns, and Smith firm on a 30% design for Barton Springs Pool grounds improvements. The board unanimously approved of the conceptual plan and the planning now moves to development of the 60% design plans. The board weighed in to clearly direct staff that it wanted an all access trail to go up from the diving board area to south gate. The board also approved designing the trail to a new south gate which would connect to the paved parking near the picnic grove.
The 30% design plans came after PARD held several design charrettes to inclusively get citizen input. That effort appears to have paid off well because many design details bear the stamp of input. The plans will avoid disturbance or modification of the popular south hillside area, other than planting drought resistant turf. The south trail will avoid the critical root zones of the trees and a deck is planned to protect the majestic trees near the main (north) gate. Aesthetically pleasing lighting, fencing, and fixtures are planned. There will be more bicycle racks at both gates. Lighting is planned to help on dark walkways, to improve perimeter security, and to remain dim and unobtrusive over the pool. The area of pool and grounds will increase because the fences will be moved out to take in more of the pecan tree grove and woods on the south side.
These plans and several other enhancements in the General Grounds Improvement Project will go a long way towards restoring the deteriorated and neglected grounds around Barton Springs. The project cost estimate of $2.5 million is currently budgeted in the City Council-approved Short Term Master Plan for Barton Springs Pool.