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

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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

Movies in the Park: Aladdin @ Patterson Park, July 6, 2017

Aladdin Brings 800 People to Patterson

On Thursday, July 6, 800 people spread out on the great lawn at Patterson Park to watch Aladdin.  Neighbor Isabelle Headrick said “That was a magical experience; I have never seen so many people enjoying our park!” The free screening was part of Movies in the Park, a series hosted by Austin Parks Foundation in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse and presented by Carvana.

The screening of Aladdin had been reschedule twice because of weather, but the third time was the charm. It was a beautiful evening, with an almost full moon. There was a lot of cheering and quoting/singing along, especially at Jasmine’s line “I am not a prize to be won” and “A Whole New World.”

The Mmmpanadas and East Side King food trucks were at Patterson to provide snacks, and everyone had a great time. Many thanks to APF and Alamo for bringing this event to our neighborhood park!

Austin Parks Foundation to Screen Aladdin at Patterson July 6

The screening of Aladdin at Patterson Park has been rescheduled twice due to weather, but is finally happening next week! It’s starting late because that’s when it’s dark, but come to the park earlier to save a spot and enjoy a picnic. Our neighbors from Bibliographia will bring their mobile screen printing cart and you can print your own Friends of Patterson Park t-shirts! Proceeds will go toward park improvements. Kids and adult sizes available.

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Austin Parks Foundation invites you to a screening of Aladdin at Patterson Park, part of our 25th Anniversary season of Movies in the Park! This will be an all 1992 series of movies.

WHEN: Thursday, July 6, 9 PM
WHERE: Patterson Park, Great Lawn

Come early to grab a spot! Parking is limited and anywhere from 200-500 people are expected, so please walk or bike if you can.

For updates see the Facebook event.
More Info and full schedule at austinparks.org/movies

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Movies in the Park is a series of free films brought to you by Austin Parks Foundation in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse and presented by Carvana. Each year, APF and the Drafthouse bring you free movies in parks all over Austin. Residents and visitors bring their blanket or lawn chairs (and often a picnic dinner!) for a fun and relaxing evening under the beautiful Austin night sky.

Dogs, picnics and lawn chairs are welcome. Alcoholic beverages, glass and styrofoam are not permitted in the park. We do provide recycling bins, but ask that you help us out by packing out all of your own trash. Smoking is also prohibited in the park, per city law.

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New Pool Furnishings Installed and Popsicle Social Planned to Celebrate

The picnic tables and benches purchased this spring with a grant from the Austin Parks Foundation were installed on Wednesday! The Parks and Recreation Dept. crew assembled and installed two tables and four benches, and plans to return next Wednesday to complete the project with two more benches and a trash can.  Friends of Patterson Park would like to invite our community to the pool this Saturday at 11:30 a.m. for a popsicle social to celebrate. We are thrilled with the new furnishings and so grateful to APF and PARD!

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Family Yoga at Patterson Begins Summer Hours June 11

Friends of Patterson Park and the Austin Parks Foundation invite you to Fitness in the Park featuring FAMILY YOGA at Patterson Park with The Little Yoga House (Ages 3+ with a Parent) on Sunday, June 11 at 9:30 a.m. We will meet under the oaks by the community garden. parking is available on Schieffer Ave. This class will be held monthly through November 2017. See austinparks.org/fitness for full schedule and other great classes!

NOTE: Parent’s must participate in the class, as we do lots of partner poses and fun games together – it’s a great bonding experience!

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ABOUT FAMILY YOGA:
Yoga for families is a fun-filled way for children, parents and even grandparents to spend quality time together while enjoying a fun and healthy activity. Family yoga provides the rare opportunity for both adult and child to observe and learn from each other and is a great way to bridge the age difference between them. Parents get to learn about the ways their child learns and the way he or she interacts with a group, and the children get to experience their parents as learners as well. This class is filled with partner poses, group poses, silly flowing sequences and yoga games!

ABOUT FITNESS IN THE PARK:
Fitness in the Park is a free series of classes presented by Austin Parks Foundation in partnership with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and individual fitness providers of all stripes. Learn more and see the full schedule at austinparks.org/fitness.

ABOUT THE LITTLE YOGA HOUSE:
The Little Yoga House is a boutique children’s and family yoga school with a specific focus on healthy child development through yoga, aerial yoga, mindfulness, and an integration of the arts. With unique yoga programs at each location designed to accommodate children of all ages, backgrounds and special needs, our dedicated family of teachers strives to teach children and teens the importance of the mind-body-breath connection and the connection we have to each other and Mother Earth through movement, meditation and environmental awareness.

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Patterson Park Community Garden Grand Opening and Dance of the Cosmos Unveiling

Celebration of Patterson Community Garden & Dance of the Cosmos to be Held May 27

Join Friends of Patterson Park for a celebration of our community garden and new sculpture, Dance of the Cosmos, this Saturday, May 27! There will be tacos, ice cream, a bouncy house, music, and screen printing of Friends of Patterson Park t-shirts by Bibliographia. The event is 10 a.m.-12 p.m., with a formal program from 10:30-11 and tour of the garden at 11. If you’d like to volunteer as an ice cream scooper, please sign up here: https://givepul.se/x61n1.
 

COMMUNITY GARDEN GRAND OPENING
& DANCE OF THE COSMOS UNVEILING

May 27, 2017

10:00 am                Patterson Park Community Breakfast
10:30 am                Welcome

  • Meredith Gauthier, City of Austin

Parks and Recreation Department, Sustainable Urban Agriculture and Community Gardens Program Coordinator

10:35 am                 Remarks

  • Sari Albornoz, Sustainable Food Center, Grow Local Program Director
  • Mark Smolen, Patterson Park Community Garden, Chair
  • Ladye Anne Wofford, Austin Parks Foundation, Program Director
  • Jennifer Chenoweth, Dance of the Cosmos, Artist
  • Jennifer Potter-Miller, Friends of Patterson Park, Chair

11:00 am                 Garden Tour and Park Activities

Download the program here.

About the Community Garden

Located at Patterson Park, the Patterson Park Community Garden was realized through a partnership between the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and Austin Parks Foundation and is sponsored by Sustainable Food Center.  The all-organic vegetable garden was first proposed in 2012 and broke ground in May 2016.  There are 68 garden plots and community members are welcome to join.

For more information about the garden, visit: https://pattersonparkcommunitygarden.wordpress.com

About the Art

The sculpture Dance of the Cosmos by Jennifer Chenoweth of Fisterra Studio was inspired by Robert Putchik’s Emotional Windows study and a Tibetan lotus mandala. It is part of the XYZ Atlas, a Hedonic Map of Austin, an interactive public art project about our collective experiences of place.

Many thanks to the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, Austin Parks Foundation, and PSW Real Estate for their support of this art project.

For more information about the artist, visit: http://fisterrastudio.com/

Photo credit:
Jennifer Potter-Miller (community garden), Michelle Atkinson (Dance of the Cosmos)

Mulching day at Patterson Park Aprl 2017

Mulching Day with Texas Theta Chi

On April 8 a group neighbors and members of the Theta Chi chapter at the University of Texas spent the morning mulching the heritage oak trees at the west end of the park. We used 20 yards of mulch from the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department and tools from the Austin Parks Foundation to nourish and protect 43 of the most beloved trees at Patterson. Thank you to everyone who worked so hard to care for our park!

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Tree Mulching and Trash Pickup on April 2

Austin Parks Foundation and Friends of Patterson Park are pleased to partner with Servant Church, friends and neighbors for a volunteer work day to provide some TLC to the trees at Patterson Park!

We had a great It’s My Park Day a few weeks ago, and spread 20 cubic yards of mulch to 102 trees at the southeast corner of the park. We would like to keep the momentum going to protect the heritage oaks along the western edge of the park, near Cherrywood Rd. before the heat of summer hits. We will also do some light trash pick up in that section of the park, as needed.

Kids accompanied by an adult are always welcome. Dress for the weather, wear closed-toed shoes, and bring a water bottle to refill. If you have a wheelbarrow you can bring, please do! This event is part of Servant Church’s Service Sunday, which will bring 100+ volunteers to several sites around the neighborhood for community service.


Sunday April 2
10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.
Please register on Give Pulse

Austin Parks Foundation Profiles Friends of Patterson Park

The Austin Parks Foundation is featuring Friends of Patterson Park on their website this month. The post is part of a series called “People Plus Parks ” highlighting the volunteers behind the work  APF does in Austin’s parks. The December profile by Elizabeth McGuire  starts “Some might consider Patterson Park the untamed cousin to nearby, master-planned Mueller Park, but fans of the lush green space off Airport Blvd. wouldn’t have it any other way.” Read more here!

People + Parks: Building Community and Cheer
by Elizabeth McGuire

 

Jennifer Potter-Miller. Photo by Elizabeth McGuire.

Jennifer Potter-Miller, Friends of Patterson Park. Photo by Elizabeth McGuire.

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