July 22, 2013

Take Back Our Parks in Dove Springs

Dove Springs Advisory Board (left to right): Gabe Padilla, Liz Garcia, Mona Gonzales, Raymond Young, Ola Young, Phyllis Mendoza, Kris Beasley, George Morales

Having good parks in 78744: 

  • Improves general quality of life in our community
  • Creates sense of pride and ownership among our residents
  • Helps prevent crime and other dangerous behavior
  • Provides gathering places that help build community
  • Offers a space for physical exercise and activities

What is YOUR park pledge? 

  • Go to the park 2-3 times a week (walk or bike to the park, instead of driving!) 
  • Once a week, do a family day at the park
  • Search for a free activity: www.AustinTexas.gov/department/parks-and-recreation (or call 512-974-6700) 
  • Get involved to see what you can do to improve our parks! 

Pick one (or more) pledges and let us know! 
  1. Post a comment on our blog: DoveSpringsHealthNet.blogspot.com 
  2. Post a comment to our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/ManantialDeSaludATX
  3. Send us an email: manantialdesaluddovesprings@gmail.com

July 15, 2013

Park Stories from the Community

We can participate by getting involved through the Dove Springs Recreation Center, working with our City of Austin Park Rangers, and collaborating with community groups such as Manantial de Salud and GO! Austin / VAMOS! Austin (GAVA).

Cleaning up Dove Springs District Park
Maria Ester Aguirre: Cleaning Up

Maria Ester, her husband and three children have been living in Dove Springs for six years. They go to the Dove Springs District Park 3-4 times a week, where they play soccer, take karate classes, go swimming, or go for hikes on the trails and enjoy the creek and the panoramic views of the golf course.

When Maria Ester learned from a friend that the park had seen better days, she was determined to help get it restored to its original beauty – she and her family have always been attracted to the rustic forests of this park. She worked with the Austin Park Rangers to clean up the area, an experience that was not only fun for her children, but also taught them to take care of the environment around them. “We don’t have to leave Dove Springs in order to have fun,” she says. “Everything we need is right here.”

Getting a new playground at Onion Creek District Park
Sara Torres: Safe and Family Friendly

Sara had been involved with the Onion Creek Plantation Neighborhood Watch – their neighborhood borders the Onion Creek District Park – when they were asked by GAVA and APD to include the park as part of their surveillance. Many of the homes near the park had been torn down because of the flood plain; and because of the empty streets there was a lot of crime. Sara and her team initially focused on safety and repairs.

After fixing the lighting and the locks on the bathrooms, and doing some general clean up, they decided to take it a step further and work to create a positive, family-friendly environment. The current playscape was falling apart, so they organized a telephone campaign. As a result, Austin Parks & Recreation is set to install a new playscape by early August 2013!

July 8, 2013

Advice from the Experts on Parks

Park Ranger Nick Hirsch: Helping our Residents

Nick has been the Education Coordinator with the Austin Park Rangers for several years. They offer a variety of programs for anyone in the community: fishing, hiking in the nature preserves, cave explorations, wildlife presentations, rock climbing, and guided kayaking.

“The goal of all of our programs is to enable families and their children to spend time together, explore and appreciate nature, be outdoors, and have fun,” says Hirsch. To learn more about free activities, and for a calendar of upcoming events, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/ParkRangers or call 512-978-2600.

Chief Deputy Constable George Morales: Protecting our Neighborhoods

“Parks offer a great opportunity for walking – they give us a chance to be able to stay physically fit. We have walking trails in many of our parks! Playgrounds are also important, and it’s good to get kids started early. When children can go into a playscape and do physical activity, it keeps them mobile, healthy, and fit.

If you’re involved with your children at school, you should be involved in the parks. It’s something you can be doing together as a family, whether you’re throwing a ball, building castles, or pushing them on a swing.”
George Morales is on the Dove Springs Advisory Board.

Dove Springs community health worker, Frances Acuna, with City of Austin Park Rangers!

July 1, 2013

Community Parks in Dove Springs

Dove Springs District Park
Several community-based leaders and organizations want to create a healthier and safer living environment for our families, friends, neighbors, and our fellow residents of Dove Springs!

Below are the various parks available in our constantly improving community. Do you want to help make them even better? Call Jill Ramirez at 512-484-1507.
  • DOVE SPRINGS DISTRICT PARK: Includes adjoining Roy Kizer Golf Course and Jimmy Clay Golf Course – 5801 Ainez Road (~72 acres) 
  • FRANKLIN NEIGHBORHOOD PARK – 4800 Copperbend Blvd. (~5 acres) 
  • KENDRA PAGE NEIGHBORHOOD PARK – 2203 Blue Meadow Dr. (~15 acres)
  • HOUSTON PARK – 4800 Copperbend Blvd. (~5 acres) 
  • ONION CREEK PARK – 7001 Onion Creek Dr. (~180 acres) 
  • PONCIANA NEIGHBORHOOD PARK – 5200 Freidrich Lane (~5 acres)


Franklin Neighborhood Park
Pastor Edward Craig and Brenda Craig of the Great Commission Baptist Church in Dove Springs organized a team, consisting of Lupe and Merita Williams, and others from the congregation, to adopt nearby Franklin Park in March of 2013. Being part of the church also means being part of the community, so they have been working to improve the park, with a focus on better security and lighting.

They’ve also been working on engaging neighborhood residents to create neighborhood watch teams and become involved. “Residents play a big role in safety because there are more of us that live in the neighborhood than there are police,” says Mrs. Craig. “It’s a challenging journey, but all good things take time.”

Neighborhood team working together!

May 27, 2013

Announcing the Dove Springs Neighborhood Farm Stand

Who: Urban Roots and Sustainable Food Center
What: Dove Springs Neighborhood Farm Stand, featuring a Double Dollar Incentive Program
When: 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. every Wednesday, June 5 through July 17
Where: Dove Springs Rec Center

This summer, the Sustainable Food Center is partnering with Urban Roots and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department – all whom are supporters of GO! Austin / VAMOS! Austin (GAVA) in Dove Springs – to host a Neighborhood Farm Stand in Dove Springs. The Neighborhood Farm Stand will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00p.m. every Wednesday beginning June 5 through July 17 at the Dove Springs Recreation Center, 5801 Ainez Dr, 78744. The Neighborhood Farm Stand will feature fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables from the Urban Roots farm and other local farmers.

This Farm Stand will help make healthy food choices more accessible and also make healthy fruits and vegetables more affordable by doubling the value of SNAP (food stamp) benefits and Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (for WIC eligible families) vouchers. The Farm Stand is being launched as part of GAVA’s efforts to provide greater access to nutritious food while strengthening the food system in the Dove Springs community.

Families in and around the Dove Springs community can take advantage of the Double Dollar Incentive Program (Double DIP) by simply using their SNAP benefits to make purchases at the market – that means $1 can buy $2 worth of healthy, local fruits and veggies! Families eligible for WIC benefits can also pick up a $20 packet of Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program (FMNP) vouchers at the farm stand and receive an extra $20 in Double DIP. SFC and Urban Roots staff will be on site to help customers with SNAP, FMNP, and Double DIP.

The Neighborhood Farm Stand will serve as a source of locally grown fruits and vegetables, and will also provide a means of connecting with more residents. Shoppers at the Farm Stand can learn how to get involved with other aspects of the GAVA initiative, such as community gardening, other farmers’ markets, and healthier food in retail stores. Information about activities and programs offered by the Dove Springs Recreation Center will also be available.

About GAVA
GAVA is a coalition of residents, community leaders and nonprofits that share a common interest in improving the health of the Dove Springs community through increased access to and participation in physical activity and improved nutrition. GAVA supporters have agreed to align their resources and expertise for greater positive impact, especially as it relates to the health of Dove Springs-area children.