Friends of Patterson Park illustration by Caitlin Alexander

Proposal for Playground Addition: Circular Monkey Bars

One of the community priorities for Patterson Park identified in the 2016 survey conducted by FoPP was improvements to the playground.

The two playscapes at Patterson are about 15 years old and we need to plan for their replacement in the next five years. In the meantime,  we would like to add new freestanding pieces of equipment that provide fresh interest to kids of all ages. Members of the FoPP executive committee met with  Landscape Structures and We Build Fun, two commercial playground companies recommended by PARD, over summer 2017 to explore options for a playground addition. The following recommendation balances cost and timelessness, and provide new challenges to younger and older children.

Project: Add circular monkey bars and 1 or 2 low spinners to Patterson Park playground. Proposed site is area between current layout of the playground and the restrooms which is currently bare, but held play equipment in the past. Add new seating wall around it and steps leading down to the bathrooms.

Patterson Park Showing current swing.sm

circular monkey bars by Landscape Structures

Patterson Park Playground Plan 2017

Urban Patchwork landscaping proposal

We Build Fun proposal

 

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Friends of Patterson Park illustration by Caitlin Alexander

Proposed project: skate ramp improvements

Part of the Neighborhood Park Plan series of posts.

One of the community priorities for Patterson Park identified in the 2016 survey conducted by FoPP was improvements to the skate ramp. The ramp was designed and built by the Austin Public Skatepark Action Committee and Lonestar Skateparks in 2006. It is a popular park feature, and after 11 years of heavy use it is in need of some repairs. It would benefit from 1) resurfacing the ramp, 2) repairing the stairs, and 3) adding a rock garden/native planting to the side. Schieffer-Willowbrook neighbor David Boston has developed the proposal below.

Skate ramp improvement project. Design by David Boston.

Skate ramp improvement project. Design by David Boston.

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Friends of Patterson Park illustration by Caitlin Alexander

Proposed project: addition to playground

Part of the Neighborhood Park Plan series of posts.

One of the community priorities for Patterson Park identified in the 2016 survey conducted by FoPP was improvements to the playground. The most common requests were for 1) a natural play area, 2) a piece of climbing equipment, and 3) additional seating.

The natural play area will not fit with the current playscape, but might be developed in a different part of the park. A new climbing structure could be as simple as monkey bars or more innovative like a climbing net dome. Members of the FoPP executive committee met with sales representatives from Landscape Structures and We Build Fun over the summer to explore options. Both commercial playground companies were recommended by PARD. Because of cost and space limitations and in the interest of adding a piece that is both durable and timeless, the current idea is for install a circular monkey bar with a new seating wall around it and steps leading down to the bathrooms. This would be installed on the western edge of the playground, between where the current footprint of the playground extends and the bathrooms.

We Build Fun proposal

Patterson Park - Landscape Stuctures

Landscape Structures proposal

seating wall + steps

seating wall + steps

 

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Patterson Neighborhood Park Plan: Community Meeting #2

Friends of Patterson Park is leading a community effort to develop a Neighborhood Park Plan that will guide our work over the next five years. We will be driven by the Survey of Community Priorities, which was completed by 255 park users in 2016. Join us for the second of two community meetings on Wednesday, September 13 at Servant Church (1605 E. 38 1/2 St) at 5:30 p.m. Pizza and babysitting will be provided.

Key Points

* Survey of Community Priorities for Patterson Park conducted in 2017 finds many desired updates to the park (e.g. updates to playground, furnishings, athletic courts), no major new additions, some minor and medium-sized additions (e.g. play equipment, lighting, water fountains, benches)
* Parks and Rec does not recommend a master plan because we do not have plans for major new additions to the park
* A plan will be helpful to organize timeline for fundraising and projects planned for coming years
* As this is a neighborhood-led and not PARD-led process, it will be known as a Neighborhood Park Plan and not a Master Plan (e.g. Ramsey and Brentwood Park plans as models vs. $200K Pease Park plan)
* After plan is approved FoPP will only return to NAs for approval of new items not included in park plan/update of plan in 3-5 years

Timeline

June 2017: Full analysis of Survey of Community Priorities for Patterson Park
September 2017: Two community meetings: June 21 and September 13

October 2017: Preparation of Plan
November – December 2017: Presentation of Plan at Neighborhood Association meetings in Delwood 2, Cherrywood, Mueller, Schieffer-Willowbrook, and Wilshire Wood
December / January 2017: Submission to Parks and Recreation Dept.

Notes

The Parks Department will provide support in the form of maps for meeting materials, attending meetings for questions and reviewing feedback/projects for feasibility.

Advocating for Playground Safety Funds in the City of Austin’s 2018 Budget

By Jennifer Potter-Miller

On Thursday, August 31, I joined the Austin Parks Foundation and other park adopters to advocate for parks funding at a public hearing at City Hall on the City of Austin’s 2018 budget.  I hope that the new budget makes progress on addressing the huge shortfalls in funding for park maintenance and improvements! My testimony is below.

Good evening Mayor Adler and Council Members. My name is Jennifer Potter-Miller, and I live in the Cherrywood neighborhood in District 9. I’m with Friends of Patterson Park, and am part of a broad alliance of residents, park adopters, and organizations from across the city that are speaking with one voice on the importance of investing in Austin parks, trails and green spaces in the City of Austin’s 2018 budget.

I support the $3.4 million in PARD concept menu items outlined by the Austin Parks Foundation in partnership with many other key Austin parks stakeholder groups.

In particular, I support funds for playground safety and maintenance. Until this spring, the playground at Patterson Park had a rubberized pour-in-place flooring which had degraded terribly over many years. It had been patched repeatedly, but had reached a point where there were chunks missing throughout, creating serious trip hazards and exposing a lot of the concrete subflooring.

PARD was aware of the problem and had gotten a quote from a contractor for replacing the flooring with wood chips, which is the new standard, but at $60,000 it was outside their budget. We were informed that we would probably have to wait for a parks bond for funds to replace the flooring.

Then in the winter, a crew came to replace a broken panel on the toddler playscape, and realized that there were eight feet of exposed concrete at the base. They told me they would either have to close off that part of the playscape, or replace the flooring, and the supervisor decided to allocate two crews to do the work themselves instead of contracting it out. This was a huge commitment of human resources, and we are so so grateful to have a beautiful new mulch floor that is up to current safety standards.

I think that with additional staffing for playgrounds, problems like these at other parks will be caught and addressed before they become so severe. We recognize that PARD is doing the best that they can with limited resources, but they would be better able to serve our city’s 300 parks with additional support.

My neighbor Cerece Rosenthal said it perfectly after her 5 year old broke his arm at a private playground. “Playground safety and maintenance is important to me because I want my kids to feel happy, carefree and safe when they play at the park. Now that they have experienced Max’s break they worry about it happening again. When I can show them all the ways the city works to keep our parks safe it reassures them and let’s them play and have fun. Like kids should!”

Thank you for your time.

 

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Photos by J. Potter-Miller, Friends of Patterson Park
Banner photo by CM Alison Alter/@ALTERforATX

Patterson playground closing

APF and FoPP Advocating for Parks Funding in City Budget

On Thursday night, the City Council held the first of two public budget hearings leading to the adoption of the upcoming fiscal year’s budget in September. Austin Parks Foundation is advocating for an additional 5 million dollars to be allocated to the Parks and Recreation Department, and FoPP and other park groups were invited to support them.

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The city’s parks have 700 million in deferred maintenance, plus 80 million to make them ADA compliant and many millions more to keep our aging neighborhood pools from failing. According to APF, “ParkScore, the Trust for Public Land’s gold standard index for parks, ranked Austin 46 out of the 100 most populous U.S. cities for how well we meet our resident’s needs for parks in 2017.”

The council also reviewed the recently released Aquatic Master Plan, and decided to form a task force to review its implementation in an equitable way. There was lots of discussion about how many East Austin pools are in relatively poor condition, and that there are large newer areas of the city with little access to aquatic facilities. Our group should keep up with this as it develops.

Examples of deferred maintenance and improvements at Patterson include our 50+ year old bathroom facilities, a basketball court that’s been in need of resurfacing for 15+ years, a tennis court that was never surfaced, and a playground that is near the end of it’s 20 year life. While we are deeply grateful for recent updates, including new signage, trash cans, fresh paint, and most importantly the resurfacing of the playground, there is much that remains to be done. Parks are the heart of our city’s neighborhoods and require regular attention as Austin’s population continues to grow. If you would like to email City Council members to support parks funding, you can do so here.

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APF summer fundraiser FoPP

FoPP Featured in Austin Parks Foundation’s Summer Fundraising Campaign

A few months ago, I was asked to write a letter for Austin Parks Foundation‘s summer fundraising campaign. I was honored at the opportunity to highlight everything that Friends of Patterson Park has accomplished with APF’s support to their donors and volunteers. Between the community garden, new picnic tables and benches, and funds to refurbish and move the Dance of the Cosmos sculpture, APF has invested $40,000 in Patterson Park over the last few years. These improvements have made a tremendous difference in our park, and our community has had a strong positive response. We love our park and appreciate the TLC!

I’ve signed up to give $25 as an Evergreen monthly gift in honor of Austin Parks Foundation’s 25th anniversary, and hope you’ll donate what you can.

Jennifer Potter-Miller
Chair, Friends of Patterson Park

City of Austin Releases Aquatics Master Plan, Plans for Patterson Pool

The Parks and Recreation Department has released the final draft of their Aquatics Master Plan.  The Executive Summary is worth reading in full, and this is what the report says about the Patterson Pool (see Appendix E-Improvements by Pool).

Patterson Pool Recommendations

ƒ* If this pool is to continue in operation, a new bathhouse will need to be developed.
ƒ* If the pool is to continue in operation, completely reconstruct the pool as a Neighborhood Pool as defined in Chapter 5.
ƒ* The wading pool must be replaced and include zero-depth access.

Site Recommendations

ƒ* Additional parking is not required
ƒ* Reconstruct one parking space to be TAS compliant accessible spaces
ƒ* Provide accessible pedestrian and bicycle access from right-of-way
ƒ* New utility connections (domestic water, reclaimed water, fire line, fire hydrants, and sanitary
sewer)
ƒ* Install stormwater detention
ƒ* Install a parking lot light

Existing Architectural Features

*Shade structure: Wood pergola adjacent to the wading pool and fabric canopy entirely shading
* wading pool
ƒ* Office: None
ƒ* Storage: None
ƒ* Bathhouse/Family Restroom: None
ƒ* Pump House: Separate building with community mural

Building Repairs Recommendations

* Pergola in need of replacing in 5 years
ƒ* Add Office
ƒ* Add Storage
ƒ* Add ADA and family restrooms
ƒ* Add bathhouse
ƒ* Pump house doors and frames in need of replacing

Building Recommendations

ƒTotal pool replacement. Construct bathhouse. Minor refurbishment to the pump house

TOTAL COSTS: $4,628,650

(FoPP note: Considering PARD’s huge budget shortfall, the work outlined in the Master Plan may involve a bond and is likely not happening soon, but we are delighted with the planned improvements.)

Patterson Community Garden July 2017

Summer Brings Bumper Crop to Community Garden

Patterson Park Community Garden started with a simple dream: to grow local organic food. It took nearly ten years of relentless effort to realize that dream but this summer the garden has truly come to life with many gardeners enjoying bumper crops of melons, eggplants, peppers, okra and culinary herbs. Like home grown tomatoes? We’ve got ’em. So many that if you drop by don’t be surprised if someone begs you to take some home.

If you share our vision of working as a community to produce local food for your family we hope you might consider joining us. So far we have 33 gardeners enjoying nature’s bounty but there is plenty of room for more to join. For more information on how to join us, please visit our website.

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