Public Notice: How Austin Ranks

What a new report on racial segregation says about us

Public Notice: How Austin Ranks

There's an interesting new report from the University of California, Berkeley, called "The Roots of Structural Racism." Among other things, it ranks all 113 U.S. cities with populations over 200,000 on a scale of most racially segregated to least racially segregated. A bit surprisingly, the city of Austin comes in at 73rd (so in the bottom 40% for racial segregation). The study also found that the Austin metro region has actually become less segregated in recent years. Of course, that's likely because residents of color have been forced into the surrounding suburbs due to rising housing costs in Austin – just another example of numbers not telling the full story. Still, it's nice not to be the absolute worst.

Givens Pool, and the larger Givens Park and the recreation center, have been a touchstone of the East Austin community for generations. The pool was opened in 1958, and provided an oasis and a neighborhood gathering place for 61 years before its final season in 2019 (ending with a touching farewell aquatic dance performance, Givens Swims, by Forklift Dance­works and the staff and lifeguards who worked at the pool – the finale of Forklift's three-year My Park, My Pool, My City series – but I digress). The pool is due to be replaced, as part of a larger vision plan for the park, with funding from the 2018 bond package.

Meanwhile, the Colony Park Aquatic Facility is just a map and some drawings so far, but the city hopes that someday it'll be the same sort of gathering place, and hold the same sort of memories and cultural significance for neighbors a little farther northeast, as part of the Colony Park District Park and the Colony Park Sustainable Community, anchoring an important growth area for the city, with construction also funded by the 2018 bonds.

Next week, the city Parks and Recrea­tion Department is holding the final scheduled outreach meetings for both of those aquatic projects – the third such meeting in each case – and this is where the design teams will present the selected concept for each facility and take a final round of feedback. The meetings will be held on Zoom; see and, respectively, for more info and to register.

Colony Park Pool Community Meeting No. 3: Wed., June 30, 5:30pm

Givens Pool Community Meeting No. 3: Thu., July 1, 5:30pm

PARD will also be holding the first community meeting for the Zilker Metropolitan Park Vision Plan next week "to engage the community in planning for the future of Austin's most-loved park" and to present results from the initial site analysis, needs assessment, and community survey, plus the draft Guiding Princi­ples and Goals for "the first comprehensive planning initiative to encompass the park's 350 acres and associated facilities." It, too, is on Zoom (of course), at 6pm Tue., June 29; see for info and to register.

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