Odom Elementary School Park Team Updates

Visit our team page for more details about our work.

May 2016: There’s so much going, we don’t know where to start. If you’ve been by the park you know that PARD has completed the new swing set and they’ve started work on the new playscape (funded thanks to our team’s lobbying the city to more equitably fund parks in 78745 and 78744) and the new shaded sitting area (funding by the grant APF awarded our team last year). We are very excitied about these new amenities! We are also excited about our upcoming (June 10th!) park beautification day. Please join us!

January 2016: The new year has us reflecting fondly on 2016 and gearing up for 2017. We had many successes in 2016. We’re learning our way around the politics of advocating for our park. And, finally, we are ready to focus on, and fight, for what best serves our community park. We are always ready to have more park lovers get involved. Email us at mizzzlaura@gmail.com. 

November 2016: APF presented us with our grant checks (for new soccer goals and a shaded picnic area) at this year’s Fall It’s My Park Day. We are so grateful for their support and all those who came out to work in the park. See details here.

October 2016: We’ve had so many successes, check out our blog post.

September 2016:  Our team has been busy lobbying on behalf of our park. Some of our members spoke eloquently in front of the city council. Many others sent Councilmembers pleas to support our parks. Budget hearing ended in September and we’re looking forward to seeing what the Council will be funding in 2017. We are also busy working on grant applications for permanent soccer goals and an adult exercise area. Stay tuned for more and join us for our next team meeting. See the events page for details.

July 2016: Our team has been working closely with AISD and PARD to coordinate efforts to get our park’s needs met. Specifically, we’re hoping to get the track repaired/replaced and get lighting for the track area and play scape areas.  Our proposals will be added to the upcoming AISD bond package, which will focus on neighborhood connectivity. PARD has also included a request to fund a pilot lighting project at GAVA parks (including Odom!) in their 2017 budget proposal to the City Council. We are excited to have worked with PARD and AISD on these initiatives.  We have learned a great deal about what goes into these types of projects and their executives have learned a great deal about our parks and neighborhoods.  We have yet to hear exactly when PARD will start on Odom’s new play scape/run-off mitigation project (for the West side play scape area), but we’ll let you know when we hear more!  Also in the works – a grant application for permanent soccer goals to support our new soccer league and possibly a grant proposal for a food garden. If you want to get involved email Laura at mizzzlaura(at)gmail.com or come to our next meeting.

May 2016: Our team has been attending meeting with PARD and AISD to discuss both track  replacement and lighting for our park. We’re confident that these issue will be addressed. We’re also staying engaged with the city on their playground renovation plans (which will also address some of the park’s drainage issues, include the installation of the bike racks we’re getting with our GAVA grant, and will hopefully decommission the pool.).Once anything is definite, we’ll provide updates here, BUT if you’d like to give input and get involved please email mizzzlaura(at)gmail.com.

April 2016: The Police Activity League (PAL) has started a free recreational soccer league for 4th and 5th grade elementary students in 78745. Some of our team members have been working with them to help organize the league at Odom. There was such a good response, they had to form two teams at Odom! Details to come.

Part of our team’s work has involved getting community input about the park. The special education teachers at Odom pointed out that none of the swings work for their special needs kids. We passed their message on to PARD and they installed a new ADA compliant swing at the playground. We’re very excited to make Odom as inclusive as it can be. img_3918

Our efforts are now focused on working with AISD and PARD to find a more permanent replacement for the track and for new soccer goals for our budding soccer stars.

March 2016:  We had a wonderful It’s My Park Day Saturday March 5th. We did park clean up, mulched some trees, and installed a butterfly garden!

Thank you to everyone who responded to the Odom Elementary School Park Team’s Odom Pool Survey. You can see a breakdown of the responses here

Park Block Grant UPDATE: The 78744 and 78745 GAVA park teams attended the February 24th Open Spaces Cmte meeting. We testified as “unopposed” to PARD’s recommendation to spend the $1.15M Park Block Grant on a play scape package, almost 40% of which is going to parks in our zip codes (including Odom School Park!). The team leaders also noted that larger priorities (such as track improvements and lighting) are still unresolved. In a statement that was presented to the Open Space Committee, team leader Angelica Robles from Odom School Park stated that GAVA team priorities remain intact and that teams will continue to work with PARD and the City for funding opportunities during the next budget cycle. Sara Hensley, Director of the Parks and Recreation Department, has committed to funding the top 2 -3 priorities of each team that are “shovel ready” and working with GAVA teams to address lighting/track issues separately and as a package for the 2017 budget. 

Thank you to everyone who helped our park team lobby the city staff and council for funds to come to our parks. And thank you to CM Garza who is a strong advocate for our parks. We’re excited about the possible improvements coming our way and inspired to work even harder to make our parks even more awesome.

February 2016: The 78744 and 78745 GAVA park teams are continuing their collaborative work with PARD, with hopes that they will recommend money from the $1.15M Park Block Grant be put towards improving our parks’ highest priorities. It’s My Park Day is Saturday, March 5th and we’ll be installing a butterfly garden and doing a park clean-up. We’re still taking input on the future of the land where the closed Odom School Pool stands. Take our survey! Finally, we applied for, and received notice that were granted, a GAVA mini-grant!!! We’re so proud of our whole team and are super grateful to everyone who helped us. We’ll be using the funds to install a new bench and bike racks! See details on all this here.

January 2016: All the park teams got together January 13th to prioritize the top needs of the parks’ teams. Park team members will present these priorities at a meeting with PARD January 20th and the next Open Spaces Committee meeting is scheduled for January 27th. Our team will be meeting with Houston Elementary Park volunteer, Gloria Lugo, January 20th to learn from her success in getting new lights for the school’s track.

ALSO…..City of Austin’s Parks & Recreation Department (Aquatics Division) is working on a master plan and within in it is the empty pool at Odom School Park. It will be permanently closed, but now is the time for neighbors to tell the city what they would like to see done with that space. Let us know what you would like via this survey and we’ll pass the results on to the City!

December 2015: GAVA 78744 and 78745 Park team members spent late November and early December meeting with Council members to discuss the $1.15M Park Block Grant budget and the fact that we think parks in 78744 and 78745 deserve an equitable (as opposed to an equal) portion of the funds b/c our parks have not, historically, been given as much attention as we think we deserve and they are lacking basic amenities that would make them safer to use (Our top 5 needs). These meetings were held in preparation for the 12/3/15 Open Spaces Cmte meeting, where they were going to discuss the allocation of these funds. At that meeting, the Cmte discussed giving us a substantial portion of the $1.15M Park Block Grant funds and recommended that PARD work directly with our park teams to allocate those funds. We’re excited about this opportunity! Check out events page for upcoming meetings January 9th and 13th.

November 2015: We’re continuing work on our GAVA mini-grant application. We met with PARD and Odom’s administration to determine locations for the new bench and the new bike racks we’re requesting funds for. The 78744 and 78745 GAVA parks teams wrote a letter to the Open Spaces Committee to encourage them to use some of the $1.15 Parks Package to improve parks in 78744 and 78745. Sign the petition to make our voice louder here. Some of our team members attended meetings with Council Members to discuss the allocation of the Parks Package. We feel confident that they will  allot the funds equitably across parks in Austin, giving the funds to parks that need them most.

October 2015: PARD installed two new benches. One is on the NW corner of the track, the other is just to the East of the playscapes. We are so grateful! Our team attended the GAVA 78745 and 78744 Coalition meeting. We got to hobnob with City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department staff as well as local  non-profits and other groups committed to assisting residents improve their parks. We made some great contacts and were very inspired by the meeting.

September 2015: We reviewed and made edits to the first draft our GAVA mini-grant application. Suggested changes will be made. We discussed particulars about our fundraising plan Odom’s Fall Festival. We have plans for elotes and chicharrones. We discussed coming up with a flyer we could have to hand out at the upcoming APNA block walk, at the Oct. 30 fundraiser and any other public events. And we talked about producing a short, simple video that would show often the park gets used and maybe some brief interviews with residents about the needs for improvements.

 August 2015:  We continued working on our GAVA mini-grant. We split up attendance at upcoming Odom CAC meetings so that we can report our projects and report back to the team on other neighborhood issues. We discussed our tabling at Back to School Night, September 10th 6pm and our fundraising efforts at Odom’s Fall Festival October 30th.

July 2015: We started our GAVA mini-grant application. We reviewed notes from the July 8th meeting with Anne Muller (AISD) about the rain garden at Discovery Hill (Pleasant Hill Elementary). We discussed strategy on getting more neighbors involved and project coordination with Odom administration. We learned about Austin Interfaith’s budget recommendations to the city (These include $10M for parks in 78744 and 78745. They will ratify their recommendations in August and the budget will be decided on by the City Council in October. Between now and then, meetings will be held with Council members to discuss our parks and why prioritizing them is important). Finally, we are planning a fundraiser in the Fall to raise some money for park improvements.

June 2015: We sent our dream budget items to Austin Interfaith. They will add these items to the budget recommendations that they give the City. Of course, we won’t get everything we want, but we will be on their radar and our park, and the work we’re doing for it, will get a bit more clout as presented by Austin Interfaith. We’ve gotten bench purchase approval from PARD and will apply for that GAVA-funded grant this Summer. We’re looking into options for larger projects like: new lighting, track repair, and run-off mitigation.

2014-June 2015
Our park team, along with others under the GAVA 78745 and 78744 Physical Activity Sector umbrella, have spent considerable time performing park assessments and getting community input for the future needs and wants for our parks. Our goal is to make Odom School Park safer, more accessible, and more fun for people in our community, with the ultimate goal being a healthier community.

Park improvement survey 
Whether you want to be involved or not, we are looking for community input in prioritizing our larger projects. Please respond to this short survey.
AS OF May 14, 2015  lighting and track repair/runoff mitigation are the most popular improvement ideas. Soccer field repair was second most popular. Benches and picnic benches were third and exercise equipment was last.