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Alcohol ban imposed for Barton Springs Spillway

After seeing an increase in crimes near Barton Springs Pool, the city is instituting some new rules, including a ban on alcohol.  According to the Austin Parks and Recreation Department:

City officials announced today a ban on the consumption of alcohol beginning Sept. 2 at the Barton Springs Spillway as well as stepped up enforcement of existing City ordinances to deal with a recent increase in crime-related issues at this popular area.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Police Department have seen a 40 percent increase in crime-related activities in the park area.

Those activities have included excessive drinking; use of illegal substances; theft; smoking; and other violations such as dogs off leash.

Besides the ban on alcohol, an added focus on enforcement of City regulations will take place including no dogs allowed off-leash and no smoking.

“We want to create a good environment for all of our park users,” said Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensley. “As such, we need to enforce the City ordinances that protect, maintain and provide for an enjoyable, safe, family-friendly atmosphere for all park users.”

The Parks and Recreation Department and APD said a public education campaign that will include signage about the regulations as well as public service announcement begins immediately.

APD officials said the increased attention to the spillway area is necessary as park usage increases.

“With more than half a million visitors to the Barton Springs and Zilker Park area we want to make sure that everyone has not only a beautiful park experience but to make sure that it is a safe environment,” APD Lt. Arthur Fortune said.

While the spillway area is posted for no swimming, it is a popular spot to cool off. Recognizing that, the Parks and Recreation Department will be working with policymakers to change the City ordinance that prohibits swimming in Barton Creek Spillway between Barton Springs Pool and Lady Bird Lake.

The possible loosening of the swimming restriction, though, doesn’t come without a warning from PARD officials concerning the fluctuation of water quality, uncontrolled water levels, and no lifeguards on duty.  

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