Bartholomew Pool plans return to drawing board
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Families in East Austin’s Windsor Park neighborhood learned a valuable lesson in the value of participating in community planning. Voters in 2006 approved bonds to pay for a replacement of Bartholomew Pool, but only heard from a handful of people.
The pool closed in 2009, and a splash pad debuted last year on the north end of the park. Council member Laura Morrison said a splash pad is not sufficient for any neighborhood.
"This will be the fifth summer in a row where those neighbors do not have access to a pool," Morrison said.
Rick Krivoniak has lived in the area for most of his life. His parents moved within a block of the park in 1967. Like many of his neighbors, Krivoniak is eager to dive back into cool water as summer approaches.
"Because we've been without a pool so long, there's much more interest now in getting a pool there," he said.
Krivoniak was among the neighbors who gave input prior to the Austin Parks and Recreation Department executing the current design. However, he does not recall any discussion about changing the depth of the pool. Neighbors approached Morrison after construction began last September.
"It was the first time that most people in the area realized that a design had been put into place for a district pool limited to four feet in depth," Morrison said.
"There's been some backlash to that depth," Krivoniak said.
Construction halted after crews found groundwater as they were digging. Some believe it could be residual moisture from the former pool, which leaked for several years.
Austin leaders are using the delay to rework designs. Planners hope to get input from more neighbors, so they can designing a pool that reflects the neighborhood's current and future needs.
"I think it's been a neighborhood in transition for a long time, but we are a central city neighborhood now,” Krivoniak said. “We are next to Mueller, which is bringing a lot of new opportunities."
The new opportunities also bring many more neighbors, which Morrison says is all the more reason planners hope to get the design right this go-around.
There's still a chance for you to get involved in the new pool design. Planners are hosting a meeting at Blanton Elementary School on Wednesday, March 6, 2013 from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The school is at the intersection of Rogge Lane and Westminster Drive. You can learn more about the Bartholomew Pool by clicking here.