Don’t Fund the Barton Springs Master Plan

RECEIVED Wed., Sept. 12, 2012

Dear Editor,
    Amy Smith touched upon what I believe is the heart of the matter [“Then There's This,” News, Aug. 31]: Certain parties in high places, including some of the leadership of "Friends of Barton Springs Pool," wish to gentrify the park. I think they are preparing it for private management, dressing it up for the highest bidder to rent out for special events like the ever-expanding Austin City Limits Music Festival, which keep the public from using and enjoying the area.
     The “grounds improvement” plans for the south lawn directly contradict the specification in the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan:
    "The huge pecans on the South Lawn towering over the lush lawn [offer] one of the most inviting vistas of Barton Springs. Because the South Lawn is such a beloved feature, care should be taken to avoid temptation to either re-imagine it or to use it to solve functional problems. (Handicapped accessibility or maintenance truck accessibility come to mind.) It is a tree-covered lawn today. It should be a tree-covered lawn going forward. It should not be a tree-covered lawn with accessways cutting through it."
    The "stakeholders" review process for the Barton Springs Pool Master Plan has been a sham. The design options that have been presented to the public have offered only choices of several undesirable "enhancements" – without ever presenting an option to do nothing.
    It is an expensive, disruptive, inappropriate plan that will destroy much of what is now the bucolic setting of the pool. When other pools, libraries, and schools are being shut down due to a lack of funds, it will be a sad day for Austin if/when council approves funding for this unnecessary boondoggle.
    The Parks and Recreation Department should just focus on maintaining a clean facility and tending to the plants that are there now.
Karen Kreps
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