Notes: February 2017 Community Meeting

Friends of Patterson Park held a community meeting on Saturday morning, February 4 at Servant Church. Donuts and childcare were provided, and 8 neighbors came out to talk with artist Jennifer Chenoweth and Brian Block, PARD liaison for Adopt-a-Park groups.

Chenoweth answered various questions about Dance of the Cosmos, including the refinishing process she is using before installing the sculpture at Patterson Park, and the kind of signage she is developing.  Block led a discussion of what to do with the community priorities for Patterson Park identified in last year’s survey. He said that since the list did not include anything transformative, i.e. a major addition to the park, that a master plan would not be required for Patterson.

Block suggested that FoPP identify what the most easily achievable priorities were and work on those first, not necessarily tackling them in order. An example of the straightforward kind of project would be adding new benches to the park, and an example of a more complex and expensive project would be resurfacing the basketball court. For the full list of priorities, click here. Since PARD is currently working on a series of improvements at Patterson, future projects should be undertaken in coordination with their work plans.

Community Priorities for Patterson Park (2016)

  1. Playsground improvements
  2. Pool improvements
  3. Bathroom improvements
  4. Trail improvements
  5. Amenities
  6. Landscaping
  7. Dog park
  8. Shade covers
  9. Athletic field/court improvements
  10. Splash Pad
  11. Skatepark improvements
  12. Lighting
  13. Recycling bins
  14. Trash
  15. Fitness equipment
  16. Water fountains
  17. Events
  18. Other social
  19. Fencing
  20. Other
  21. Amphitheatre

Initial Priorities for Park Improvements

By Jennifer Potter-Miller, Chair

From May-October 2016, 254 neighbors took our Survey of Community Priorities for Patterson Park, and the feedback they provided is fascinating. Below is an initial analysis of what respondents said were their priorities for improvements to the park.

The survey was intended to inform the projects Friends of Patterson Park takes on in the coming years and guide our fundraising efforts. There are some items that were popular but are not feasible, like an off-leash dog park. PARD has ruled that out. There are other items which we have limited influence over, like improvements to the Patterson Pool. The City of Austin conducted an assessment of facilities in 2014 and has an Aquatic Master Plan, so we will need to work within those parameters.

However, there are lots of improvements that we are within our reach. These range from small (butterfly garden) to medium (picnic tables, monkey bars, fitness  equipment), big (resurfacing tennis and basketball courts, shade canopies) and really big (renovating the bathrooms). I have received clear feedback at various neighborhood meetings that preserving open spaces and the low-key feel of the park are priorities, so I envision updating the park but no significant transformation.

Please save the date for a community meeting to plan next steps and discuss fundraising priorities on Saturday, February 4, 10 a.m. at Servant Church (note change of date). Childcare will be provided (most likely a movie with supervision).


Playscape improvements 34 11.1% climinbg structure; additional/updated equipment; repair/replace ground cover; fencing; add accessible amenities; natural playscape; Playscape/equipment for older kids
Pool 28 9.1% longer hours; nicer pool area; new larger pool; year round swimming; expand fenced area
Bathroom improvements 25 8.1% For the love of god, new bathrooms; bathrooms improved/expanded; bathroom are creepy; soap
Trail improvements 20 6.5% better maintenance; extend inner loop; improve wheelchair accessibility; walkability on Schieffer; paved bike paths; Pedestrian bridge to Mueller park; trail markers
Amenities 20 6.5% seating; picnic tables; BBQ grills; bicycle racks; updated signage and infrastructure; lockable storage; neighborhood tool shed
Landscaping 19 6.2% trees; landscaping; xeriscaping; improve drainage; mulch trees; fruit trees; community garden
Dog park 18 5.9% off leash area
Shade covers 18 5.9% canopies over basketball court, pool, baby swings
Athletic field/court improvements 16 5.2% define athletic fields; soccer goals; defined baseball space; improved basketball court; remove the tennis court or improve it; better maintenance volleyball court; sports league; box hockey; horseshoes; badmington
Splash Pad 14 4.6%
Skatepark 13 4.2% larger ramp; fishbowl; vert ramp; skateable plaza
Lighting 13 4.2% better lighting; path lighting; solar lights; lighting for basketball courts; the park is really dark at night and people use the trail even if it is just walking to businesses at Mueller [will increase with new Alamo Drafthouse and restaurants]; lighting for basketball courts
Recycling bins 11 3.6% add recycling bins and pickup
Trash 9 2.9% more trash cans; cans with lids
Fitness equipment 9 2.9% fitness equipment for adults and youth
Water fountains 9 2.9% additiona waterl fountains
Events 8 2.6% community events; fitness classes; kids games
Other Social 5 1.6% improved wheelchair access; more welcoming to African American residents; Accessible playground for all albilites; tamp down on large parties/noise/traffic
Fencing 6 2.0% surround plascape; along Airport Blv; large sitting stones to replace wood bollards; stone barriers along the road
Other 6 2.0% preserve open spaces; keeping the green spaces; organize games; improve parking, replace wood poles around park with stone like in Mueller, keep cars and trucks from entering the park; not a private garden
Remain same 2 0.7% I like it exactly as it is

About the survey

The Survey of Community Priorities for Patterson Park was conducted online and at various community events held at the park between May 27 and October 10. There were 254 respondents, all but 28 from the neighborhoods adjacent to the park (Delwood 2, Cherrywood, Mueller, Schieffer-Willowbrook and Wilshire Wood). Of the 28, all but three were from nearby neighborhoods in East Austin, including Windsor Park, University Hills, Chestnut.












Friends of Patterson Park meeting, June 10, 2016

Meeting Notes, June 10, 2016, Friends of Patterson Park

Members in attendance:
Priscilla Boston, Schieffer-Willowbrook, Vineland
Mark Smolen, Wilshire Wood, Crestwood
Mike Sullivan, Cherrywood, Walnut
Jim Reed, Cherrywood, Werner
Julie Nelson, Wilshire Wood, Crestwood
Jennifer Potter-Miller, Cherrywood, Grayson
Ryan Osthun, Cherrywood, Hemlock
Lisa Fuka, Schieffer-Willowbrook, Cherrywood Rd
Amy Bench, Cherrywood
Tim Whitehill, Cherryood
Allison, Wilshire Wood, Lullwood

Visitors present:
Michael Berliner, Grow Green Initiative
Destiny and Michael, Nature’s Treasures
Jennifer Chenoweth, Fisterra Studio

Call to Order 9:05 a.m.

Community Garden

• Mark Smolen reported that the garden fence posts are being set. Irrigation lines are in though they are not tied to water yet. Next fencing panels will be installed and pergola will be built.
• Garden plots are still available. The allocation process will be a lottery for each plot. Owners are responsible for building their garden, which will be in raised beds because of caliche soil.


• Ryan Ofsthun described plans for the neighborhood music festival planned for Sept. 17, 12-6pm at Patterson Park. Neighborhood-based bands will perform 30 minute showcases. A sound permit has been acquired from PARD.
• Sound will be amplified but directed toward Airport Blvd. There will be an 8×8 foot stage near the shelter. The event is alcohol free. Organizers are looking for walking traffic and not cars. There are only three people organizing this event and they would like help.
• Ryan requested a Letter of Support from FoPP and will ask for one from each adjacent neighborhood association. The letter should be emailed to Jason Mawer, head of PARD.

Concerns: Communication with the neighborhoods, parking. Jennifer suggested a Facebook page to share information. Michael Berliner offered to help create a website.

Action requested: Letter of Support. Jennifer plans to conduct online poll of FoPP members in order to get wide input.

Comment: Jennifer noted that FoPP is open to anyone who cares about the park, although the five adjacent neighborhoods will be asked to approve major plans.

Patterson Park Pool

• The pool is not scheduled to open to the public until late July. Jennifer expressed concern that this may be a signal that economics of neighborhood pools are changing. This summer’s pay rates are $13/hour and $19 for each overtime hour. Lisa Fuka, a swim instructor at the YMCA, suggested that this was causing displacement, taking lifeguards from other organizations such as the YMCA.

• Lisa spoke to Hyde Park’s effort to find lifeguards for Shipe. Hyde Park funds neighborhood kids through the city’s lifeguard program. Currently there is only one Junior Lifeguard taking advantage of that. Junior Life Guards are under the age of 16 and can only work at pools where there is a manager, such as Northwest and Bartholmew. One lifeguard worked 72 hours his first week earning over $1000 for one week. Kids are not the only ones who can lifeguard.

Potential action: Assess what we can do for future years.

Gordon Bennett Way Trail Markers

• Jennifer reported that the Chula League has $1621 in its account for a memorial to trail markers. Since our April meeting Girard Kinney has looked into the cost of stone markers matching those at Mueller, but it is 1K+. Girard has proposed raising funds for the markers as part of a larger trail improvement grant. Jennifer has spoken with neighbor Chris Levack of Texas Sculpture about making wood trail markers instead with the available funds.
• Priscilla Boston, who has a long history in the neighborhood, FoPP and Chula, suggested we find out if the funds can be transferred to FoPP’s account with the Austin Parks Foundation. She clarified that the markers extending Gordon Bennett Way from the Mueller greenbelt through Patterson would be a symbolic bridge or connection between development and neighborhoods to the west of Airport Blvd. Gordon had envisioned connected communities when he helped develop the plan for Mueller.

Potential Action: 1) Determine if funds can be moved to the APF account, and 2) continue discussion on design, materials and placement of markers.

At this time, about 10 AM we had been meeting for an hour and had to move locations due to the pavilion being used for another event.

Austin Neighborhood Fest: Little Free Library Event

• Michael Berliner from the Grow Green Initiative shared information about an event he is organizing in late July, location TBD. Free event in a park with BBQ, kid activities, supplies to build and decorate 100+ Little Free Libraries to be distributed across the city, and a community-wide book drive. FoPP members expressed interest in hosting the event at Patterson.

Next step: Grow Green will determine where the event will be held. FoPP will help spread the word regardless of where it is held.

Community Priorities Survey

• Time was short so Jennifer quickly summarized results of the survey so far, and suggested a committee meet to evaluate them.

Action: The survey will continue through the summer. Jennifer will send a call out for members to begin an initial review of the results.

Austin Parks Foundation Grant

• Jennifer reported that APF has invited us to apply for their Neighborhood Grants. These are $500 to $4,999 and are awarded throughout the year on a rolling basis. They can be used for a list of pre-approved items from PARD, including trash bins, tables, bike racks, etc. Our next presenter, Jennifer Chenoweth, suggested we apply early and often since funding may not always be available. She also said in some cases there is not a big cost difference between commercial made and artist or custom made items like benches and bike racks.

Action: Jennifer will send a call out for assistance writing first grant.

Proposed donation of sculpture to community garden

• Visual artist Jennifer Chenoweth of Fisterra Studio spoke about the proposed donation of her kinetic sculpture, Dance of the Cosmos, to Patterson Park. The piece is currently on loan to the Elizabeth Ney Museum in Hyde Park.Jennifer earned her MFA in 1996, serves on the Austin Arts Commission, is a resident of East Austin, and has been an active member of the local arts community for 20 years. She is proposing a permanent donation of this piece to Patterson Park.
Dance of the Cosmos was inspired by Robert Putchiks Emotional Windows study and a Tibetan lotus mandala. It is part of the XYZ Atlas, a Hedonic Map of Austin is interactive public art about our collective experiences.
• The sculpture has a footprint of 20 feet and is 8 feet tall when the flower is closed. It has electrical components tied to a solar panel. The solar panel needs to be within 30 feet. The sculpture is attached to a pad. The pad is not a single piece but many colored tiles. Maintenance after installation should not be much and it would be funded. The outer coating will be done is such away graffiti can be easily removed.
• Jennifer C. had some potential locations mapped out in the park. The group looked over the map and identified another place between the pool, bathroom facility and picnic tables. The area is pretty flat and the solar panel might be placed on the bathroom facility.
• The group present was enthusiastic about the sculpture. If the broader FoPP group is supportive, Jennifer C. will pursue further community support from the adjacent neighbors and neighborhood associations.

Action: Conduct an online poll of FoPP members to see whether we should support the donation, and what would be the preferred location and write a Letter of Support.

Adjourn 11:10 a.m. Members still present took a short walk to see progress on community garden.

Notes prepared by Lisa Fuka.

Download a PDF of notes here: FOPP June 10, 2016 meeting notes

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Photo credit: Jennifer Potter-Miller