Patterson Piranha Swim Team Wraps up Season

By Dusty Harshman

Another summer brings another joyful gaggle of kids at Patterson pool to participate in the City of Austin’s Summer Swim Team season. While Patterson pool is among the smallest in the City of Austin park system, the Patterson Piranhas swim team reached the city’s maximum 120 swimmers just days after signup in April. The Piranhas have earned a reputation for their casual, educational, and family-centered approach to swimming. Many kindergartners have learned their strokes through the Patterson swim team

As practices began in early June, swimmers aged 5 to 15 were gathered at the pool in the evenings for six weeks. There were four neighborhood swim meets around the city culminating in a regional meet at UT’s Jamail Swim Center and the State TAAF Summer Games in McAllen, Texas in late July. From these humble beginnings, many Patterson swimmers have continued to swim for their respective high school teams. All prospective parents who would like to register their children for the swim team should mark their calendars for April 2018 for signups. More information is available on the City of Austin Swim Team page.

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Patterson Piranha swim team 2017. Photos by J Potter-Miller.

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.)

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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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FoPP Receives Austin Parks Foundation Grant to Update Pool Area Benches and Tables

Friends of Patterson Park is pleased to announce that we have been awarded a Neighborhood Grant from the Austin Parks Foundation to replace the furnishings at the Patterson pool. The grant is for $4,910 to purchase two new picnic tables, six benches and a trash can to replace the existing ones, which are in severe disrepair. The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department has generously offered to install them. We are so grateful for the continued support the Parks Foundation and PARD, and look forward to a more comfortable summer swim season at our updated neighborhood pool!

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.

CherryWoodstock

• 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