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Barton Springs median gets a makeover

Thursday, September 24, 2009 by Austin Monitor

A project to repair and replant the highway median on Barton Springs Road between Lamar Boulevard and Robert E. Lee Road is nearly complete, with city crews scheduled to plant shrubs and flowers along the approximately half-mile stretch today, weather permitting.


The undertaking is a result of a public-private partnership between the Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Zilker Gateway Median Project, a coalition of neighborhood groups, garden clubs and local businesses, including The Austin Garden Council, Barton Hills Garden Club, Zilker Garden Club, Barton Hills Neighborhood Association and others.


Project organizer Mary Ann Neely said the idea to partner with the city came about because the median, which leads to the entrance to Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool, had fallen into a state of disrepair.


“We got into this because it was not being maintained,” she said. “There were just dead plants and weeds, and we decided to do something about it.”


To date, the Zilker Gateway Median Project has raised more than $14,000 from individuals and local businesses, which covers the cost of plants, repairs and improvements to the median itself, plus soil and maintenance. Donated funds have gone through the Austin Parks Foundation, which is helping to coordinate the public-private effort. In addition to monetary donations, local nurseries contributed plants and store credit for the project.


A billboard recognizing donors and all the groups involved in the project will appear on the north side of Barton Springs Road near the project site on Oct. 5, according to Neely. Project organizers are hoping to have the median completely planted and finished before the Austin City Limits Music Festival on Oct. 2.


With the city’s budget stretched thin, partnerships like these are necessary simply to get certain things done, said Neely. “The city’s been very cooperative; it’s saying, ‘we’ll help on this, we’ll do our part.’ And we’re saying we’ll help raise the money and get this done.”


Sponsors include: Austin Java, Baby Acapulco, Barton Hills Garden Club, Barton Place, Barton Springs Nursery, Bicycle Sport Shop, Brown McCarroll L.L.P., Chuy’s, Flipnotics, Garden Club of Austin, Green Mesquite, Iris Society of Austin, The Natural Gardener, Plantscapes, Shady Grove, Uncle Billy’s Brew and Que, Zilker Garden Club, Zilker Neighborhood Association and the Zilker Park Residences.

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