Update from the Advocacy Committee
The attention on the pool is bringing new members into FBSP. Several new members have joined into the FBSP Advocacy Committee. Committee members have been attending and speaking out in support of pool improvements and implementing the Master Plan projects. The Committee is also staying in contact with key staff of the City be abreast of emerging issues. Through all this participation, the Friends are building a stronger technical understanding of the difficult decisions the City faces. Among these tough issues are how to deal with the deterioration of the Barton Springs Pool bypass tunnel and how to maintain and restore the trees and canopy over the pool.
Since May, the Advocacy Committee has voiced the Friend’s mission at monthly meetings of the Parks & Recreation Board / Environmental Board Joint Committee that oversees the BSP Master Plan implementation. We requested the City work closely with our organization and others to end the neglect of the trees and to take positive actions. We announced a Tree Stewards Program the FBSP formulated with other volunteers from several organizations including TreeFolks and Austin Parks Foundation (APF). At the Joint Committee meetings and in meetings with our elected officials and City staff, we continue to press for implementation of all the Master Plan projects. All these efforts are slowly paying off. For example, through the combination of volunteer effort and donated funds, grants received by APF, and City funding, improved tree maintenance and new tree plantings will occur at BSP.
The Advocacy Committee is also closely reviewing the City’s bypass tunnel assessment and preliminary repair budget estimates. The Friends want to ascertain the impact of the repairs on keeping the pool open and the effect of the project on completing the remaining projects in the Master Plan. FBSP is urging City officials and Council Members to seek dedicated funding for the expensive (possibly $4.6 million) tunnel repairs and not tap into the Master Plan Short-Term Project funding. At least two more Joint Committee meetings will seek public input on this issue and what to do about it. The Advocacy Committee will be there to listen, learn and give input. The Advocacy Committee meets regularly and we welcome your involvement and help on getting our message out to our decision makers. For more information on how you can volunteer, to receive e-mails on upcoming board meetings and other opportunities and events, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tom Weber, Advocacy Chair, FBSP