The Watershed Protection and Development Review Department is reporting that the city of Austin may be closing the popular Barton Springs pool for a period of time. Apparently, the pool is in need of receiving some critical structural repairs and, in order to successfully make these repairs, the pool will need to be closed for up to eight months.
The process of repairing Barton Springs is still in its early stages, as the Watershed Protection and Development Review Department is still to determine just how much the repairs will cost and how long the pool will need to be closed. Currently, the Department is estimating that it will cost anywhere from $2.5 million to $4.7 million to complete the repairs. In addition, the department estimates the project will take 6 to 8 months to complete.
The department announced its intentions to make the repairs by sending an internal memo to the mayor as well as to the city council. In the memo, department staff members noted that "not making any repairs to the bypass is not a realistic option." The memo went on to explain that the pool' bypass culvert contains holes that need to be repaired. These holes, which developed from the water that flows from Barton Creek and around Barton Springs, actually started to develop last fall. Now, the holes have deteriorated to the point that the culvert is no longer able to properly channel the water, making it difficult to maintain the proper water levels.
Although the repairs are in dire need, the request for funding comes at a bad time for the city. Currently, the city of Austin is reporting a shortfall on its budget and only $285,000 have been earmarked as part of the Barton Springs Master Plan for repairs. At the same time, closing the pool for good would result in the loss of a significant amount of revenue for the city. Therefore, determining when and for how long the pool will be shut down remains to be seen.