University Hills Neighborhood Association   

Austin, Texas 78723

Unity - Equality - Leadership

Ongoing Projects

The Park, The Flood, The Community


To:               UHNA members and the University Hills Community
Subject:      Memorial Day Flood at Dottie Jordan Park - park1
Date:           May 26, 2015

As is well documented, the University Hills Neighborhood Association (UHNA) has, from its inception in the early 70's to the present time, been very protective of what we consider to be "our little jewel," the Dottie Jordan Park.  This park played a major role in the formation of the University Hills Community in the late 60's and continues in that role to the present time.

Yesterday, Memorial Day, May 25, 2015, our Dottie Jordan Park was once again flooded, resulting in damage to the Tennis Courts, Playground Area, Swimming Pools, Bath House, Picnic Areas, fencing connected to these areas, and our Walking Trail.

The only areas relatively untouched by the flood are the Recreation Center, the Garden adjacent to the Center, the open spaces from Center to Creek, the Basketball Court, and the Parking Lot.

During the flood, Little Walnut Creek went on a rampage bringing the water level in the park to dangerous heights. You can determine the height of the water by the debris lodged in the fence of the tennis court as well as water level marks in other areas of the park.  These levels are higher than the level of water rampaging within the creek itself.

The height of the flood also was documented by the overflow of the Loyola Lane bridge and the water levels reached behind homes which back up to Little Walnut Creek.  Whether the lack of keeping the creek clear of vegetation overgrowth was a contributing factor to the high flood level, and the damage known or to be assessed, will need to be determined.

As the UHNA has done each time any adverse action has been directed at our Park, we will bond together as a community to assist the Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) and all associated city departments, in a) doing whatever needs to be done to see that all damage is repaired in a timely fashion, b) formulate an adequate PARD program that will allow a proactive, not a reactive, action when danger to the welfare of the Park is imminent, and c) ensure that adequate funding is included in the City's annual Parks budget to fully address the needs of Dottie Jordan Park.

The UHNA plans to schedule a meeting with the Director of PARD, and any other city entities helpful to the Park's restoration, as quickly as possible to discuss the formation of a Dottie Jordan Park recovery program.  

The UHNA stands firm in refusing to allow any harmful incident against the Park to result in its demise.  As always, we will turn this "flood" from a negative to a positive which will result, with the cooperation of the City, in the continuation of our community "jewel," our Dottie Jordan Park, as a positive and beautiful gathering space for all aspects of the University Hills community.

 

Joan Bartz, UHNA President


Photos taken at Dottie Jordan Park showing the destruction of Little Walnut Creek rising above the banks.

                                                    The tennis courts were completely under water -



                                                                                                                                           

Near the swimming pool - fences down, debris hanging on the fences and the swimming pool filled with water.


                    

                            

The Park, The Flood, The Community

To:                    UHNA Members and the University Hills Community
Subject:           UPDATE:  Flood at Dottie Jordan Park - park2
Date:                May 28, 2015 

In just the last few days, much has been accomplished to bring Dottie Jordan Park back to its pre-flood status.  The following are actions taken by the PARD and associated departments in cleaning up debris from the flood.

 POOL

 -    A temporary fence was erected around the pool to minimize the chances that children will wander into harm's way.

 -      As of yesterday, all the flood water has been pumped out of the pool, all debris has been removed from the pool, and the pool bottom has been scrubbed.   (Sanitation requirements are pending.)

 OTHER AREAS

 -    Assessment of flood damage and development of an appropriate plan to address flood related needs, including sanitation requirements, are being developed for the following park areas:  play-scape and picnic areas, tennis courts, fencing, trees, large debris

ADDITIONAL CONCERNS

 -       The sewage lines which are embedded in Little Walnut Creek may need to be inspected for any breakage in the lines and corrective action taken.

 -       Trees stuck under the Loyola Lane Bridge need to be removed.

 -       Also, anyone who waded into the flood waters at any level anywhere in the park, may want to check the article in today's Austin American Statesman, Page A9, "Receding waters bring relief, health hazards" pertinent to all ages, including children, who had any contact with the flood waters.

 * * * *
Yesterday, I was at the park for over an hour and was amazed at the speed with which city workers assessed needs and implemented necessary corrective action.

The quick response by the city to our flood-related concerns, to date, has been gratifying and we will express the community's thanks to PARD and other city workers for this reassuring response.

The University Hills Neighborhood Association (UHNA) will continue to provide updates on the repairs to Dottie Jordan Park as they occur.

 Joan Bartz, UHNA President                                                                                                                      

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The Park, The Flood, The Community

To:                       UHNA Members and the University Hills Community
Subject:              SECOND UPDATE:  Flood at Dottie Jordan Park

Based on another walk through the park today, the following reflects the status of recovery from the Memorial Day flood.

TENNIS COURTS:  Fencing is in place around the courts except across the back portion.  Three-fourths of the courts' surface still has mud in place and one of the court's net is gone.  The courts' surface, already not in the best of shape prior to the flood, appears to need a complete resurfacing and sealant at this time.

THE BRIDGE: Today, the tree debris under the Loyola Lane bridge was removed.  There still appears to be large amount of the debris laying in the creek which, as I understand, will be eliminated very shortly.

THE TRAIL: The hike and bike trail is in really bad shape everywhere but especially near the tennis courts and along the back of the park.  Again, plans appear to be in the works to return the trail to its intended appearance and use as quickly as possible.  In the meantime, everyone should use caution when in this area of the park; the ground gives a false sense of security in some places.

SANITATIION: Haven't heard anything from PARD about the status of sanitizing the playground equipment covered by flood waters as well as doing the same for the pool prior it being refilled with water but am sure that this will be handled as things progress.

PLAYGROUND SURFACE: Within the past year, PARD recovered all ground areas of the playground with a surfacing material more suitable in addressing the safety of the children in the playground.  Regrettably, that resurfacing was completely uprooted by the flood and will need to be replaced once again.

*****

During my walk through the Park today, I encountered an individual up in one of the trees at the back of the Park.  Assuming he was a city worker checking on the tree, I asked if the tree was in danger.  He replied that he wasn't with the city, was just working on his climbing skills.  He did not seem aware that because the Park is city property, he might need a permit to climb the Park's tree.  There was also a concern that, with the flooding saturation, the trees may not be as stable as they appear to be and a climber could be injured.

A check with the PARD's Urban Forestry Program provided the following guidelines re tree climbing at this time.  A permit is required for both the safety of the climber and the trees and the climber must follow the guidelines laid out in park rules.  It was also noted that under City Code Chapter 6-3-61, a person may not damage a tree.  The bottom line:  We don't want anyone to be injured anywhere in the park; let's all be careful and follow the rules.

Joan Bartz, UHNA President

This photo shows that the engineered wood fiber that was placed on the playground earlier this year has been washed away from this playground located nearest the creek. This area was completely flooded. 


                                                                                            The Park, The Flood, The Community, The Clean-Up

To:                     UHNA Members and the University Hills Community
Subject:            FOURTH UPDATE - Flood at Dottie Jordan Park
Date:                 June 16, 2015 

This past weekend, the UHNA community sponsored its annual Clean-Up the Park day on Saturday, June 13, 2015.  Timing for this event was perfect, given the effect on the Park by the Memorial Day flood.

CLEAN-UP THE PARK

 - A huge "thank you" to Jean Allen, the UHNA's Beautification Chairperson, who was the driving force in planning and seeing to fruition this beautiful Clean-Up the Park Day!  Such energy, such determination, and such dependability!

 - Forty-Five members of the University Hills community dedicated their Saturday morning to the removal of flood debris (many, many bags filled), mulching of trees, cleaning out the Loyola street garden area; an unbelievable improvement, and removal of debris still stuck in the fencing, a documentation of the height of the flood.

 - Eight of PARD's Jimmy Cone's workforce joined the community members in Saturday's work at the park. These individuals: Sonny Chandler, Darrell Dawson, Delores Reyes, Michael James, Albert Perez, Oscar Garcia, Juan Garcia, Sam Roberts, as well as Dottie Jordan Recreation Center employees; Dir.  John Harros, Alice Acevedo, and Marie Ruiz, worked shoulder to shoulder with community members throughout a steamy, hot morning.  A member of the Cone crew commented "It sure is nice seeing community members come out and help when something like this happens in the community."

 - Business Sponsors for the Clean-Up include: Pizza Patr-on, (and, yes, that is how it is spelled), at 175 Springdale Road, 512-928-9700, Joe Skendevian, Owner, and Jessica Cardoso, on-site Manager; HEB, 7112 Ed Bluestein Blvd, Suite #125, 512-928-5617, Rey Alvarado, Jr., Unit Director; and, Coyote Moss Landscape, 512-574-5496, Wiley Alexander, Owner.  Additionally, both Rey Alvarado and Wiley Alexander worked at the park throughout the morning. 

Thank You, Thank You, Thank You, to these sponsors for their involvement in producing only the best for the University Hills community!

 STILL NEEDED

 1)  Sanitizing of; (before pool opens) both pools, pool deck, and pool house; all playground equipment; barbeque pits within the flooded area; tennis court slab, seating, net. Get rid of the flood bacteria! *

 2)  New sealant on tennis court slab (after sanitizing) *

 3)  Replacement of fencing throughout the park; or complete sanitizing of all fencing retained *

 - We will continue to advocate for these needs, working with the PARD, from departments represented at the Clean-Up to and including the top level of command for PARD.  Hopefully, Tropical Storm Bill will not affect our efforts to return the Park to full beauty and usage, as a community gathering place.

 Joan Bartz, UHNA President                                                                                                                        

                                                                                                                          


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At the present time, the University Hills Neighborhood Association is diligently working on the successful conclusion of the following projects:

    *    Passage of a City of Austin ordinance, based on the HB 216 State Law's seven Model Standards; purpose of the ordinance is to provide adequate health and safety standards for disabled residents presently being warehoused in locations operating without governance by the City of Austin.

    *    Working with the Community Development Commission regarding the appropriate placing of any additional low income housing in the Northeast Austin area including the present proposal for low income housing to be included in the development of the Colony Park PUD.

     *    Working with the Austin Police Department to establish better communications and assistance in all matters affecting the Northeast community including burglary of residence, car theft and/or vandalism of vehicle, enforcement of the Loud Noise Ordinance, graffiti removal, park protection, response time to problem calls and areas, availability of officers in charge of an area, and equitable treatment of citizens involved in police matters.

     *    Encouraging community residents to avail themselves of membership in the UHNA; annual dues are $10.00 per year, and through your membership provide guidance, leadership, and strength in support of maintaining the viability of our single family neighborhood.     

                                   






 

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