June President’s Report

A picnic at Barton Springs Pool on a hot summer day

by Robin Cravey

 We work hard; we play hard; and we relax hard.  Saturday, June 19, was a time for some hard relaxing for the Friends.  Thanks to organizer Gary Beyer, the relaxing was easy. 

We set up the ol’ hospitality tent at the picnic grounds just outside the fence, and started the picnic with coffee and palaver with the board.  Coffee was courtesy of Austin Java.  New director Jesse Malone signed up members and made sure folks got their tee shirts. 

After some talk, a group of folks formed up to take a tour of the grounds with landscape architect Brad Burns.  We were honored to have former mayor Frank Cooksey take the tour with us.  The tour stopped at the glass rotunda, tree court, north grounds, south grounds, and accessible trail sites to talk about proposed improvements. 

By the time the tour got back to the picnic, grillmaster Jonathan Beall was rolling the hot dogs onto a platter.  We settled in to chow down.  Hot dogs and limeade! 

We presented the $7,500 check for proceeds from the Treeathlon to Ralph Webster, who accepted on behalf of the the Austin Parks Foundation.  The money will be dedicated to Barton Springs trees.  Pool Manager Wayne Simmons was also on hand for the festivities. 

We presented awards—certificates and pool passes— to six of our star volunteers.  First up was Nancy McCandless, one of the original three founders of the Friends and still a volunteer.  Tom Weber presented awards to Molly Bean and Steve Barnick for excellence in advocacy.  Jonathan Beall presented service awards to Jonathan Markoff, Mike Meier, and Booth O’Quinn.  We are grateful to have these and many other worthy volunteers. 

A tour of the grounds with landscape architect Brad Burns. 

A tour of the grounds with landscape architect Brad Burns.
A tour of the grounds with landscape architect Brad Burns.

  Emma Cravey drew tickets from the hat to present coupons from Uncle Billy’s Brew & Que and P.Terry’s Burgers to over a dozen lucky picnickers. 

The picnic closed with a round of Barton Springs Stories.  One by one picnickers came up to the microphone and told their favorite Barton Springs story.  Of course there were some fish (and turtle and eel!) stories. 

Quick Dips 

Our next major event will be “Council Cleans the Pool Day” on August 12.  It will be a good chance to push a broom with the mayor, councilmembers, and other elected officials, including Senator Kirk Watson!  What’s more, we will be able to drain the pool for this cleaning.  See the pool like you’ve never seen it before! 

Look for us at the Barton Hills Fourth of July Parade.  We’ll have a float in the parade, and the hospitality tent at the picnic. 

I met with Mayor Lee Leffingwell and Councilmembers Randi Shade and Chris Riley over the past month.  I also joined Tom Nelson of PARD for a master plan presentation to the council committee on planning and transportation, chaired by Sheryl Cole, with members Laura Morrison and Chris Riley. 

Public input on the general grounds improvements is wrapping up.  The architects will summarize the input at a meeting on Thursday, July 1, 6:00 p.m., Zilker Botanical Gardens – Auditorium, 2220 Barton Springs Road. 

Tom Weber, Mary Yarrington, and I attended the hearing on the gravel bar removal at the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department.  We urged the department to grant the permit to remove the gravel.