Austin Parks and Rec Dept.

Austin
2:57 pm
Mon June 16, 2014

Austin Lifeguard Shortage Leaves Many City Pools Closed

An unidentified lifeguard watches over Barton Springs Pool in this 2011 photo. Austin's aquatic office is hustling to fill several empty lifeguard posts.
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.

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Austin
3:58 pm
Thu March 20, 2014

City Spends $9.6 Million to Buy Southwest Austin Golf Course

The Austin City Council has teed up a $9.6 million purchase of a Circle C golf course over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone.
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.

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Weird
2:51 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

Coming Soon to Austin Parks: Brush-Clearing Goats?

A Swede Farm goat chows down on some poison ivy at the SFC East Market.
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.

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Austin
3:46 pm
Wed July 10, 2013

Burn Bans Issued for Austin and Central Texas

According to the Texas A&M Forest Service, 136 counties are currently under burn bans in Texas.
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.

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Austin
7:06 pm
Wed July 3, 2013

Does Austin's Newest Park Have Enough Funding?

A shelter at Roy G. Guerrero Metropolitan Park
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.

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Austin
7:42 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Parks and Rec Board Approves Auditorium Shores Renovation

A Google Maps image of Auditorium Shores captures the dry conditions the city hopes to reverse.
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

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Austin
9:05 pm
Fri April 19, 2013

In Austin Parks, Burn Ban Lifted

Downtown Austin, seen from Lou Neff Point in Zilker Park
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.

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Austin
7:18 pm
Fri April 12, 2013

City of Austin Needs Lifeguards

A lifeguard keeps watch at Northwest Park Swimming Pool in Austin
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.

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Austin
5:10 pm
Mon April 1, 2013

Grants Would Help Revamp Austin Landmarks

The State Theatre would use a city-funded grant to renovate its iconic sign.
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.

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Austin City Council
5:37 am
Tue March 19, 2013

How the City Council Decides Which Event Fees to Waive

The Mighty Texas Dog Walk is one event that might get a fee waiver this Thursday.
facebook.com/Ilikeservicedogs

Story as it aired on KUT News 90.5 FM

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?

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Austin
8:50 am
Mon February 25, 2013

Meeting Tonight to Help Plot Future of Holly Power Plant

Decommisioning continues inside the Holly Power Plant. The city is looking for community input on what to do with the area.
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.

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Austin
6:16 am
Wed February 20, 2013

Mount Bonnell May See Changes - Public Meeting Tonight

Relax: No change is being proposed to Mount Bonnell's view.
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.

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Austin
1:29 pm
Fri February 15, 2013

Austin YMCA Wants to Avoid Another Lifeguard Shortage

The YMCA is beginning the lifeguard hunt early this year.
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.

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Austin
12:28 pm
Wed February 6, 2013

Problems, Expenses and Delays for Bartholomew Pool

Bartholomew Pool was built in the 1960s.
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.

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Austin
10:29 am
Mon February 4, 2013

While State Cemetery Prospers, Austin Resting Place in Disrepair

A graveyard angel keeps watch over Oakwood Cemetary in East Austin.
flickr.com/ericinsf

Story as it aired on KUT 90.5 FM

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. 

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Austin
2:24 pm
Thu January 31, 2013

Drink Up: Water Coolers Back on the Hike and Bike Trail

The coolers provided by RunTex greeted trail visitors this morning after a two month suspension.
Credit 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.

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Austin
5:13 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Austin Considers Allowing All-Night Access to Trails

The Pfluger Bridge near Lamar Street is a rare section of Austin urban trail open 24 hours.
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.

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Parks and Recreation
6:55 pm
Mon January 7, 2013

City to Shut Off Water to Emma Long Park

Water will be shut off to Emma Long Metropolitan park for three months
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.

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Austin
12:46 pm
Tue December 11, 2012

Water Under the Bridge: Coolers Returning to Hike & Bike Trail

Coolers along the trail under Mopac. The free service will return with some extra precautions.
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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Austin
8:34 am
Wed December 5, 2012

Construction and Closures Ahead for Hike and Bike Trail

Hike and bike trail joggers will be detoured opposite Seaholm Power Plant downtown.
Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Two separate projects on Lady Bird Lake may temporarily get in the way of folks using part of the hike and bike trail.

The city is getting ready to begin work along the Shoal Creek peninsula near the Seaholm Power Plant. Construction begins soon, and is expected to last six months. Portions of the hike and bike trail near the peninsula and the parking lot west of Shoal Creek and South of Cesar Chavez will be closed and those using the trail will be detoured to Cesar Chavez.

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