$6,200,000 Screw Driver
I am beginning
to process a public event which
yesterday shocked me —
It was a City Council
budget hearing for preliminary
short term projects for
a Master Plan for Barton Springs Pool.
I have been paying attention
to the development of this because
I am a swimmer and preliminary
indications were that
construction projects poolside
could further pollute
and keep the pool closed
intermittently for a decade
while the city did things like:
replace structurally sound
dams with new ones
that will have holes in them,
move the pool downstream,
build a bath house on a flood plain,
clear the last vegetative filter (woods)
alongside the pool,
cut down grand pecan trees,
and re-model the old bath house
so people will go through or past
the bathrooms and changing areas
to enter the pool area.
Most people I know
wanted more time to understand
these projects. Some wanted them
to immediately cease. Others
wanted to seize the moment
and get as much money as possible
for the pool.
Yesterday the city produced budget items,
totaling 6.2 million dollars including the
following items —
$233,478 to replace bypass grate:
(This is a steel grid, 10ft x 10 ft.)
$285,352 to repair bypass tunnel joints:
(Re-grouting maybe 30 seems that leak.)
$571,105 to build an accessible route at south side
(A path that will traverse 100 or so feet, winding
will make a bit longer.)
$278, 495 for a temporary skimmer:
(A PVC pipe — high end PVC pipe goes for about $5
running foot — bolted to the side of the pool, attached
to suction pumps aquarium style, only larger.
Bolts, expensive ones, maybe $10@.
Pumps start around $100.)
$35,000 for silt and algae disposal
(In the past the city solution to this has been
to push it downstream — more PVC pipe,
another pressure washer?)
$258,848 for a new pump to facilitate high-pressure
(The most expensive gas free, high-pressure washer
I could find was $1,500.)
There is almost nothing I wouldn’t do
to save Barton Springs —
I want the city to spend money there.
There has been encouraging talk about
retrofitting the water, cleaning up silt and
algae by improving the flow regime,
but monies for scientific studies to accomplish
this weren’t funded.
The work was given to existing staff.
The Master Plan money is for capital
improvements, no expenditures to increase
staff whose scientific work would underpin
retrofit, no items to re-vegetate the pool.
They were going to use bond money
without a public vote to make this happen.
Is this the Pentagon?
Is this a 6.2 million dollar screw driver?
©Susan Bright, 2007
Susan Bright is the author of nineteen books of poetry. She is the editor of Plain View Press which since 1975 has published one-hundred-and-ninety books. Her work as a poet, publisher, activist and educator has taken her all over the United States and abroad. Her most recent book, The Layers of Our Seeing, is a collection of poetry, photographs and essays about peace done in collaboration with photographer Alan Pogue and Middle Eastern journalist, Muna Hamzeh.
Announcement: The Plain View Press e-store is online.
Photo by Pam Thompson showing cliffs
and natural path on south side of pool.