SOS has always been in the morality business. It is a moral value to want to protect springs so nothing new here.
SOS is – or rather was – in the environmental protection business, which isn’t related to “morality” per se. They’ve also opted to butt in to numerous areas that have nothing whatsoever to do with Barton Springs; while SOS’s opposition to developing land along Southwest Parkway back in the '90s – for purposes of protecting both the Edwards Aquifer as well as the Springs – was laudable, its biggest current interest seems to be focused on the exact opposite of progressivism: protecting the property values of longtime homeowners, many of whom are sitting on $1M+ of accrued equity in said homes. Certainly the best example is its continued opposition to a rewrite of the land-development code that would explicitly increase environmental protections for infill projects.
Also, why do you think selling beer & wine would somehow result in damage to the Springs? Visitors can already bring in nonalcoholic beverages – mostly in single-use plastic bottles, which are obviously the opposite of “environmentally friendly” – so I’m not really seeing why “soft” alcohol sales are much (or at all) different in terms of protecting the Springs.
I do have concern with the constant blending of park land and private commerce.
While I’m admittedly baffled by the contingent of Austinites so strongly opposed to any type of private commerce on parkland, I’d point out that we already have two private concession stands – both of which sell beer & wine – in local publicly owned parks: at Republic Square downtown as well as the still-new Olamaie concession stand at the Butler Pitch & Putt. Further, every public golf course in town has both a pro shop as well as food/drink concessions.
Further still, it’s really not at all unusual to have private concessions of various types on public lands, and this is true coast-to-coast. Yellowstone National Park has two dozen private lodges & inns located inside the park itself, along with a variety of restaurants & shops. Plenty of Western ski resorts are located inside national parks as well as forests. As a more direct comp, Shake Shack got its start as a walk-up stand in NYC’s Madison Square Park.
These are just a few of the hundreds, if not thousands, of additional examples. (Also, just FYI, the city of Austin explicitly forbade its previous BYOB policy on public golf courses, in part to encourage purchasing beer/wine on-site.)
i cant see how allowing a private vendor to serve cans of wine can improve a beautiful sacred place
“Sacred” is a stretch IMO, but this sentence implies that selling beer & wine would result in damage to Barton Springs. I’m frankly not seeing a rational basis for this argument: its biggest threat, by a considerable margin, stems from runoff in populated areas that eventually makes its way to the Springs (and occasionally results in their closure).
While I know the ZNA fervently opposes any commercial use of Zilker Park – including ACL Fest – these sentiments are mainly rooted in NIMBYism, not concern for the environment or “morality.” And if our elected council members vote in favor of a Barton Springs concession stand, I’d take that as representative of the sentiments of Austinites generally. (And no, Zilker folks don’t have any “special” privileges in this regard.)