As a friendly reminder, please join us tomorrow, Tuesday, August 14, 2018 (6-7:30pm at Zilker Botanical Gardens) for a Project Values and Program Workshop Community Meeting to discuss the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation project. At the meeting, city staff and the design architects (Limbacher & Godfrey) will to provide an update and discuss the bathhouse design issues to get community feedback and input.
Through the meetings thus far, we have emphasized the importance of making environmental education a key part of any final bathhouse design that improves the visitor experience. In the community, there is strong agreement that the best and only way to preserve Barton Springs is by dramatically increasing our education efforts and public outreach to our growing population to educate the citizens and local officials about the threats to the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs, and how we as a community can protect it for future generations. Currently, the competing needs at the bathhouse are in conflict and are squeezing the educational function, so we want expanded and improved education to be part of the bathhouse and any visitor education center. Generally speaking, this can be achieved by advocating for the following design outcomes:
- Implement the Master Plan’s recommendations for:
- returning the main entrance to the original entrances at the central rotunda,
- upgrading the gallery and creating a Visitor Center to provide a central organizing experience for all pool visitors, and
- updating the dressing areas and reconfiguring public restrooms for improved comfort and accessibility while respecting their historic architectural heritage.
- Implement the Feasibility Study’s detailed recommendations for protecting, enhancing and expanding the environmental education programming at the Bathhouse and/or a Visitor Education Center to improve the visitor experience by:
- reopening the rotunda entrances to enhance the entrance experience and to include environmental education exhibits, preferably while maintaining the current entrance,
- reopening (and restoring?) the Women’s Dressing Area to the extent possible,
- maintaining at least part of the central rotunda space and former basket room for public access (e.g., exhibits, environmental education, etc.), and
- dramatically increasing our education efforts and public outreach to our growing population to educate the citizens and local officials about the threats to the Edwards Aquifer and Barton Springs, and how we as a community can protect it for future generations, since this is the best and only way to preserve Barton Springs,
- providing visitor education to address the environmental impact of sunscreen and “best practices” for minimizing impact,
- reducing impervious cover and/or improving water quality outcomes as part of the overall process.
These seem like good guiding design values that leave plenty of room for design options that can be developed by the architects.
For the latest information on the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation project, be sure to visit the city’s Bathhouse Rehabilitation website for information on project goals and timeline for upcoming community meetings where you can join the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Public Works Department, and other Barton Springs Stakeholders to provide input for the design process for the historic Barton Springs Bathhouse, extending the work of the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan, the Zilker Park Bathhouse Zone Feasibility Study, and 2012 Bond Package.
Short and sweet:
It’s time to repeat
the special treat
of our monthly meet
and poolside greet.
On August 2, our next “first Thursday” Friends of Barton Springs Pool cleaning will proceed with two-hour shifts, starting at 9:00, 11:00 and 1:00. Come get your cleaning and public service groove going at the BEST place in Austin. In addition to helping “give back” to our beloved Springs with a refreshing day of community service to keep Barton Springs Pool the best that it can be, you’ll get to experience Barton Springs at it’s clearest, cleanest, and coolest condition as the pool is closed to the public while our volunteers help with pushbrooming the pool bottom of the shallow end, scrubbing algae from the sides, rails, and stairs, helping with landscape efforts to beautify the grounds with weeding, turning the mulch, and generally lending a hand to make the pool and grounds as clean and beautiful as possible. So come roll up your sleeves, bring a friend, have a snack and enjoy the comp any of other Barton Springs enthusiasts. We look look forward to seeing you there!
On July 25, 2018, the board voted to elect Ashley Todd to serve on the board as our Fundraising Chair. Ashley grew up in Austin, Texas, studied at UT, is a long-time swimmer at Barton Springs, and is an attorney with Husch Blackwell! Plus, she’s a childhood friend of our own Sarah (Sheffield) Williams. How cool is that?!!! We are delighted to have Ashley join our board to help with our work to return the Barton Springs Pool to its rightful glory.
So it has been awhile since I sat down and put pen to paper and wrote one of these, so I have a bit of catching up to do. First off, we have been really successful with our efforts to enlist corporate or team sponsors to participate in our volunteer pool cleaning events. For the past couple of years Austin Beer Garden Brewing Company(ABGB) and BRC Recovery, have had a team of 15-20 volunteers every month. Wholefoods had a team last year and really stepped up this year with a team of 30 in May followed up with a team of 10 in June. They also made donation to allow us to invest in the consumables for cleaning, and will be one of our sponsors for our next FBSP t-shirt donation drive. June also had a big turnout from ACL Live. FYI: We offer our t-shirts, towels and other apparel for donations that are used for tools and other equipment used at the pool. Having the tools to efficiently and safely do the cleaning is essential to our volunteer cleaning success.
For as long as FBSP has been in existence, we have based our efforts on inside and outside the fence activities that we support. Our primary objective has been to focus our energies on inside the fence efforts, like cleaning algae from the pool, planting trees, planting aquatic plants, and keeping all the invasive plants in and around the pool under control. This is a never ending job that our volunteers take on with a passion that always makes one proud to be a Friend of Barton Springs Pool.
Another equally important objective is supporting outside the fence activities that for the most part are driven by the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan. Things like the recently-completed Day Lighting of Eliza, advocating for the Bathhouse Rehabilitation Project, advocating for funding a feasibility study for upgrading the upper/lower dams, advocating for bond funding for parks and open space protection, and Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) funding for historic preservation — all of these causes have an impact on how we as friends continue to insure that Barton Springs Pool is here for folks to enjoy for the next generation of swimmers. As members of FBSP, I implore all of you to find a way to support these efforts by writing the mayor and council in support, or getting involved with our board to advocate for these causes. We need your help and we cannot do it without you.
I was fashionably late in getting settled into my routine of a daily sunrise swim at the pool, but as of Sun (6/24), I am back! Whenever I rekindle this routine at the pool, I kick myself for not getting my butt out of bed and getting my daily pool fix sooner. My ritual is to swim with a mask and snorkel for one lap, checking out the plants and fish and occasionally picking up litter that catches my eye, and then top it off with one dive, and one jump off the diving board. This year’s routine includes a variation of inspecting and brushing algae off the 4 cages that have been planted with aquatic plants in the pool. We are on the 4th round of trying to successfully introduce aquatic plants into the pool, I see some green inside at least 2 of the 4 cages so it could be we are on the right path…. I will keep you updated when we remove the cages and see what has survived. Another very important part of my morning ritual is just sitting, people watching, enjoying another amazing sunrise, letting the morning sun dry me off, and relishing in that core cooling effect that the pool has on you. This is a time when I sometimes engage in conversation with anyone that is within earshot, there is a lively group of us “south side by the diving board regulars” that seem to really enjoy sharing our daily experiences. We are not alone in this activity at the pool, and if you take notice, there are little pockets of folks all around doing the very same thing. It is a part of a regular routine that never gets old so if you are out and about at the pool around sunrise come on by and say hi!
See you at the pool,
Steve Barnick, FBSP President
At this great place we call Barton Springs,
the waters flow cool, clear and clean,
but to show our love true,
wear your red, white, and blue,
and join in with our pool cleaning team!
On this Fourth of July holiday, join us Friends of Barton Springs Pool on Thursday, July 5 for one or more of our two-hour shifts, starting at 9:00, 11:00 and 1:00. There is no better way to provide community service than doing a refreshing day of volunteer work to keep Barton Springs Pool the best that it can be. Help “give back” to Barton Springs by volunteering with one of our projects — including push-brooming the pool bottom of the shallow end, scrubbing algae from the sides, rails, and stairs, helping with landscape efforts to beautify the grounds with weeding, turning the mulch, and generally lending a hand to make the pool and grounds as clean and beautiful as possible. So come roll up your sleeves, bring a friend, have a snack and enjoy the comp any of other Barton Springs enthusiasts. We look look forward to seeing you there!