City considers sprucing up Barton Springs
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The City of Austin is considering sprucing up the south side of Barton Springs Pool.
A meeting Monday night between the city’s Parks and Recreation Board and the Environmental Board Joint Committee took up a proposed ‘Barton Springs Ground Improvement Process.’
Among the upgrades is a decorative sculpture outside the south gate. Also, the proposals include a new fence for the south side of the park and an observation deck that would overlook the springs.
Monday, a packed crowd turned out to voice their concerns to the plan. Dubbed “The Soul of Austin,” many Austin residents hold an emotional attachment to the pool.
Bill Bunch with the Save our Springs Alliance said if the city has money to spend, it should go to protecting water quality, not development.
"It feels much more like you are just going for a swim in the creek, and we want to preserve that. It is perfect for South Austin and it is perfect the way it is right now," Bunch said. "Tourists want beautiful clean water at Barton Springs, they don't want a country club gate or a country club fence. We don't need it."
Other long time residents like Ralph Webster welcome the designs. For him, a face lift would paint a better image of the city for tourists.
"I think Barton Springs deserves a little better treatment, it has been neglected for years and years and years," Webster said."I think by a wide majority people would prefer a more dignified look for Barton Springs Pool than that ragged chain link fence."
While the opinions vary, the city council will ultimately have the say on what changes, if any, will come to the springs.
The Parks and Recreations Board and Environmental Board Joint committee decided to move most of the discussion on the topic until next month. Although, they did decide on just a few items, including recommending the architect design a wire mesh fence rather than a more decorative fence.