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Dove Springs soon to have a comprehensive public health center

Monday, May 9, 2022 by Willow Higgins

After years of work, the Dove Springs neighborhood will finally be getting a full-service public health facility. The project, which is funded by a 2018 bond measure, will be a central hub for the surrounding community, offering a number of resources in one place, including preventive health care, employment services and child care.

The parkland adjoining George Morales Dove Springs Recreation Center will be used for the facility, which is scheduled to be completed in 2023.

“The Dove Springs public health facility has been a long time coming for Dove Springs and its community members,” Council Member Vanessa Fuentes, who represents the area, told the Austin Monitor in an email. “The movement to bring a health facility has been building in the community for years. My predecessor, Delia Garza, championed this measure and led a ballot initiative to bring a public health facility to the community. Gratefully, Austin voters affirmed the need by supporting the ballot measure and approving the costs for this facility.”

At the most recent Parks and Recreation Board meeting, Kymberley Maddox, the assistant director for administration for Austin Public Health, gave an updated briefing to the board, touching on some of the services the facility will provide.

The center will house some existing services that are being relocated, including a women’s and children’s clinic and counseling service and an immunization clinic for children and adults.

“By locating this facility in the heart of Dove Springs we are reducing as many barriers as possible,” Fuentes said. “This facility will be within walking distance for many community members and will provide critical services and information helping us improve the health of our community.”

The facility will also offer a multitude of other services like a food pantry, clothes closet, health screenings, and a child care center that will serve about 75 kids, ranging from infants to toddlers. The child care center will include a demonstration kitchen for nutrition services, soccer fields for youth programs and hiking trails connecting the area to the Dove Springs District trail park system.

While the child care center will have three different outdoor learning environments for different age groups, planners opted out of constructing an entire on-site playground.

“We’d originally planned to have a public playground on this site, but in consultation with PARD, it was decided that it would be better to put some inclusive equipment in the district park playground (instead), and so we have done that: A We-Go-Round was installed in the park,” Maddox said.

The planning and design legwork has been completed and the project is currently in its permitting phase. A groundbreaking ceremony is expected to be held in the fall of this year, and construction is expected to be completed by the wintertime. 

Renderings from SpawGlass and MarmonMok Architecture, courtesy of the city of Austin.

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