Austin Parks and Rec Dept.

Austin Monitor

From the Austin Monitor:

A report by the city auditor’s staff found that the Parks and Recreation Department’s Cemetery Operations Group has demonstrated a “general lack of oversight” in managing certain aspects of the city’s municipal cemeteries.

KUT

Update: The City of Austin opened three more pools over the weekend. 24 city pools are now open, while 10 remain closed.

All pools were originally scheduled to open Friday, June 6.  The city is still hiring and training lifeguards to staff the remainder of the pools.

Original story (June 12): Outside Shipe Pool Wednesday afternoon, two-year-old Redding McArdle wore two blue, inflatable arm floats – one on each arm.

But instead of splashing in the pool, Redding ran around the playground in his swim trunks because the Hyde Park neighborhood pool he’d come to swim in was closed today.

flickr.com/trostle

The Austin City Council approved the acquisition of the Grey Rock Golf Club's courses and tennis facility today, allocating $9.6 million of the Parks and Recreation Department’s budget for the purchase.

The course sits on 292 acres of south of Lady Bird Lake, adjacent to the Circle C subdivision. The course lies in the environmentally sensitive Edwards Aquifer Recharge Zone.

City Deputy Chief Financial Officer Greg Canally called the Grey Rock purchase a “unique opportunity to acquire a piece of land that actually comes with an existing revenue stream.” Some of that existing revenue will be leveraged to pay off an estimated $400,000 in debt service; the department estimates the revenue will cover half of that amount.

Courtesy of Sustainable Food Center

The Sustainable Food Center's East Austin farmer's market had a perennially irritating problem: Poison ivy was blocking a portion of the market's space. They couldn't use chemicals or herbicides — it wouldn't exactly jive with their goal of sustainability. 

So they got creative, turning to a four-legged, environmentally (and people) friendly alternative: Goats.

Now, Austin parks may be looking to adopt the strategy to beautify green spaces across the city, as well.

flickr.com/riosetiawan

Dry conditions have led to more burn bans being issued for Austin and surrounding areas.

The ban temporarily prohibits open fires and grilling in parks. Smoking continues to be prohibited in parks. The ban does not include propane grills and stoves in designated picnic areas.

City of Austin

Just days after its grand opening, Roy G. Guerrero Metropolitan Park already faces an uncertain future.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department's budget allows for only four full-time workers to maintain a 400-acre complex of trails, playgrounds, sports fields and other features.

Google Maps

Auditorium Shores is a step closer to closing for a year.

Today, the Austin Parks and Recreation Board voted to recommend that City Council approve a plan to upgrade the park with a $3.5 million donation from an Austin-based event planning company C3 Presents. You can watch that meeting online

Flickr, Jeff Gunn http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffgunn/5783484625/sizes/m/in/photostream/

The rain we’ve had lately isn’t enough to get rid of the drought, but it is enough to get rid of the burn ban in Austin Parks.

Austin Parks and Recreation is lifting the ban, effectively immediately, and removing the plastic that’s been wrapped around barbecue grills.

The lifting of the ban also means campfires are okay, but only at Emma Long Metropolitan Park.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The City of Austin is reporting a shortage of people applying to be lifeguards. The Aquatics Division of the Parks and Recreation Department needs more  applicants than it has jobs for, because not everyone will get through the training.

“We have 600 positions open, but they need a thousand applicants to fill those 600 positions, because, not everybody has the qualifications," Parks and Recreation spokesperson Victor Ovalle said.

Andrew Weber for KUT News

The Historical Landmark Commission of Austin meets tonight to decide the future of four grants to preserve historical landmarks.

And every project may not get their slice of the $126,000 that’s been requested this year.

facebook.com/Ilikeservicedogs

When planning to book a public venue in Austin, keep in mind the city is going to charge a bunch of fees, some are for permits, maintenance and cleanup. Organizers of large and well-attended gatherings have no problem paying those fees. But non-profits sponsoring smaller events sometimes ask the city to waive them.

This week, the city council will vote on five such waivers. With so many of these smaller events taking place, what happens when fees are waived?

courtesy Austin Energy

City officials are looking for the public's help in deciding what to do with the land around the Holly Power Plant in East Austin, which is scheduled to be fully decommissioned by later this year.

Currently, plans have designated the 9.3 acres of surrounding land to be handed over to the Austin Parks & Recreation Department for development into a park.

flickr.com/atmtx

Update: For all those interested in voicing their opinions over potential changes to the iconic Austin destination, you can do that today at 6:30 p.m. during a public meeting at the Mayfield House and Nature Preserve.

Original Story (Feb. 8, 12:40 p.m.): Alluring Austin overlook Mount Bonnell may see some slight changes.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is partnering with the West Point Society of Central Texas to make updates at the historic park. The City of Austin is holding a community engagement meeting to field public input on the potential changes to the park.

flickr.com/atmtx/

The YMCA of Austin is trying to recruit lifeguards earlier this year.

In order to prevent last year’s shortage of lifeguards, the YMCA of Austin has expanded its schedule of YMCA and American Red Cross Lifeguarding Certification classes this spring.

Last summer, the YMCA hired 200 lifeguards. This summer, they're hoping to hire 250. But, YMCA spokesperson Sean Doles said the lifeguard shortage was not an issue just at the YMCA, but in the community as a whole—and even across the nation.

City of Austin

The City of Austin’s Aquatic Division manages over 50 public pool facilities. The Bartholomew Pool, in particular, has demanded significant time and funding from the city since 2009.

Now, the city says the pool will need even more time and money before it's ready to reopen.

flickr.com/ericinsf

Cemeteries in many cities are considered important historical places, memorials to famous and influential people. Consider the Granary in Boston, Highgate in London, the Pere Lachaise in Paris.  But in Austin only one cemetery fits that category – and the State Cemetery is maintained by Texas. 

And the contrast between the state cemetery in Austin and the city owned ones - is breathtaking. 

flickr.com/leftymgp

Runners, cyclists and trail patrons welcomed the return of the water coolers at the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail this morning.

RunTex, a local sporting goods store, has provided the water to trail-users for twenty years. But last November, the city removed the coolers over sanitation concerns.

Joy Diaz, KUT News

The Austin City Council could decide today whether to start a pilot program aimed at keeping some hike and bike trails open 24 hours a day.

The proposal by council member Chris Riley has little support from his peers because it comes with the hefty price tag: a little over $3 million a year for extra police patrols. But whether it goes forward or not, the program is making the city think about how it will patrol trails in the future.

flickr.com/pyxopotamus

Starting next Monday, the city will shut off water to Emma Long Metropolitan Park for about three months, causing a major inconvenience for campers and others who use the park. Emma Long has 66 campsites, hundreds of places to picnic, and beaches.

The Parks and Recreation Department is shutting off water so it can conduct some major repairs to a water treatment plant and storage tank located at the park. Both were built in 1985 and need servicing.

flickr.com/leftymgp

The coolers are coming back in the new year.

A report this morning that the popular water coolers on the Lady Bird Lake Hike and Bike Trail had been removed got pulses racing.

Run Tex and Rogue Running have provided free water to trail enthusiasts for years. But the practice apparently ran afoul of health and safety regulations: about two weeks ago, the water coolers evaporated from the trail.

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