January 27, 2014
The meeting was called to order by Jeff Archer, RNA president. In attendance were Joyce Brown, Alice York, Celeste Hill, Denise Ketcham, Dianne Mountain, Alison Alter, Rita Ewing, Gina and Chris Allen, Torgny Stadler, Kelly and Dauphin Ewart, Dale Gray, Jeff Archer, Scott Farnsworth, and Mindy Marble.
Alison Alter, chair of the Ramsey Park Renovation Committee, gave an update on the status of the park. The biggest and best news is that the committee has been notified it is receiving both grants it applied for!
The Austin Parks Foundation has agreed to fund $50,000 out of an approximately $90,000 project. To receive this award the neighborhood needs to provide a $40,000 match from other sources. The APF grant plus the $40,000 match provides funding for improvements to the basketball court (shade structure, seating, new nets and lines), the resurfacing of the tennis courts and other enhancements (seating, nets, poles etc.), additional picnic tables throughout the park, and a limestone amphitheater in the berm across from the shelter.
The Neighborhood Partnering Program award is for an approximately $88,000 project and requires a 25% match from private sources. This means that in order to get $66,000 from the Neighborhood Partnering Program the neighborhood must come up with a 25% match ($22,000). The NPP project, once secured by the 25% match, will cover interconnected and circular pathways around the south end of the park to promote better circulation and flow and provide kids on bikes, trikes and roller skates an expanded route to play.
If necessary, Alison indicated that we could use mitigation funds to meet the APF match requirements. However, the Neighborhood Partnering Program will not accept mitigation funds for the match because its funding source (a bond, Alison believes) requires the funding source to be private. Mitigation funds are considered city funds for this purpose.
The deadline for matching funds for the NPP is in roughly 6 weeks, with the exact deadline determined as a function of how quickly the final project agreement comes together as worked out with PARD, Public Works and the RNA.
The Ramsey Park Committee intends to fundraise and ask the neighborhood to contribute towards the renovations and meeting the match. The hope is that the 3:1 ratio combined with a love of Ramsey Park will encourage people to contribute generously. As a fall back, Alison requested that the RNA Park Fund be made available to meet the NPP match. The RNA park fund has $15,000 from money raised at past 4th of July carnivals. (Any money raised at the carnivals is dedicated to benefit Ramsey Park. The RNA General Fund contains about $1,000). Alison clarified that if enough other donations were raised, we may not need to use the entire $15,000 for the matching funds. She made a motion to use up to or equal to $15,000 of the RNA park fund for the NPP matching grant. Chris Allen seconded the motion and the motion passed. Note that if other funds are raised we can apply the RNA funds either to other elements of the master plan (such as the playscape) or reserve them for ongoing maintenance requirements and/or additional improvements.
Individual donations can be channeled thru the Austin Parks Foundation and are tax-deductible.
Donate online – be sure to check the Ramsey Park box – at:
Mail checks in any amount made payable to:
Austin Parks Foundation
Attn: Ramsey Park
P.O. Box 300369
Austin, TX 78703
**Write “Ramsey Park” in the memo line.
The Ramsey Park Renovation Committee is forming a fundraising subcommittee. Michelle Voss, a development officer at UT has agreed to serve as chair of that committee. One of the ideas that Michelle and Alison talked about was reaching out to nearby neighborhood associations since the park is heavily used by folks in those neighborhoods as well as our own. She asked anyone with connections to those neighborhoods to please contact her (email@example.com). It would be ideal if the neighborhood associations themselves could donate to this effort. Gina Allen said that she is meeting with the Bull Creek State Land Coalition next Wednesday which is comprised of 7 nearby neighborhoods and she will talk to them about it.
Austin Parks and Recreation Dept. (PARD) is nearing the end of the design phase for the renovations to Ramsey Park, based on the Ramsey Park Master Plan developed by the neighborhood and passed last April by PARD. The Ramsey Park committee was supposed to meet with them Friday (Jan. 24) to look at the plans, but the meeting was canceled due to icy weather. Another meeting has been set up for the week of Feb. 3.
The committee has been working with PARD on designing a natural playscape for toddlers adjacent to the toddler playscape. For safety reasons, natural materials cant be used, but the committee is hoping to work with PARD in adding synthetic log tunnels, stepping stone rocks, balance beams and other items for toddlers to play on. All of this was meant to be in addition to the existing toddler playscape, but PARD has determined that the toddler playscape is at the end of its lifespan and needs to come out. The committee will be talking to PARD about adding additional toddler elements, including slides to the design.
For older kids, a climbing structure will be added on the other side of the big kid playscape as well as bucket spinners, and a modern-day merry-go-round. There also are plans for an adult fitness area and improvements to the baseball area (new bleachers, seating, bike racks etc.) (Thats the plan, anyway).
The goal is to phase the work in so that not everything is closed at once. The committee is hoping that Phase 1 will include shade over the basketball court, additional seating, and tennis court resurfacing and then the playscapes (ideally) and pathways would be done this summer when its too hot to be anywhere other than the pool. Other improvements would follow as funding permits.
Alison said that the City wants to permit all of the work together and then implement it in phases. The committee has not heard yet how much all of this work will cost and so does not yet know exactly how much we need to raise if we want to fully implement the vision for Ramsey Park. The committee recently began receiving pro bono help from Consort Inc. and they are going to conduct engineering studies for the water fountains and consulting with the Citys landscape designer, which should help cut down on some of the costs. The committee will know more after its meeting with PARD.
Denise Ketcham talked a little bit about Crestmont Park. The Austin Youth River Watch is partnering with McCallum students to plant seed islands around the park. Basically it seems to be a rectangular swatch with mulch and seeds to encourage native vegetation. The students will be doing most of the work in late February but a couple of adult volunteers are needed to work alongside the students. Six to eight students will be working every day for 30 days from about 5 6:30 in the evenings. This effort is happening together with the Grow Zone project.
Denise is organizing a Crestmont Park clean up on April 12 for Keep Austin Beautifuls Clean Sweep. Clean Sweep volunteers are needed. She said its a lot of fun you clean up the creek for a couple of hours and then go join the city-wide Clean Sweep party. What could be better?
Jeff Archer reported that Shakespeare in the Park is hoping to come back to Ramsey Park May 22 June 7. They are aware of the possible work that will be happening to the stage/berm/amphitheater. They plan on performing Hamlet.
The City of Austin is changing its Bus Route 3 it will turn into 803 in August and no longer stop at Medical Parkway. It will become a rapid transit. Each of the bus stops will be about a mile apart. More information can be found here: https://www.capmetro.org/current_schedules/pdf/803.pdf
Celest Hill who lives on Shoalwood Ave. north of 45th said that her street has been getting a lot of cut-through traffic for cars who dont want to wait at the stop sign on 45th. She would like to see a stop sign or some sort of traffic calming measure on Shoalwood at 46th street. She was advised to call the city and ask for a study.
Alice York said the roundabout at 44th and Marathon has been effective at slowing traffic, but the city has failed to move the No Parking signs back to accommodate the new roundabout. Now people can park legally and its very hard for other cars to go around them. The signs were moved at the other roundabouts, just not this one. She will call the city to complain, and also send them a photograph of a legally parked car.
Alice said that it seems that graffiti and property crimes are increasing in the neighborhood. She would like to see the topic of theft, crime and graffiti on next months RNA meeting agenda.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:30.
Secretary/RNA past president