Thursday, April 24, 2014

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Water coolers return to hike-and-bike trail

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TWC News: Water coolers return to hike-and-bike trail
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After a few months, an important part of the Ann and Roy Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail is back—water coolers.

The coolers are protected with bike locks so the tops of the coolers are secure and can't be tampered with. The locks, a sturdy stand and a permit from the health department, are now a requirement.

"I see them back, I'm happy it’s a good day,” Austinite Kam Magor said. “The water's back, it’s protected,”

Twenty years ago, RunTex owner Paul Carozza put the coolers out on the trail and no one said anything, until recently.

"When you do something for 20 years, just because you've been doing something for 20 years and now to have things gone through an official process with the health permit, it actually feels really good,” he said.

The health permit idea came about in November, which is when the Parks and Recreation Department pulled the coolers from the trail.

Officials realized they needed more oversight once other vendors tried to distribute goods on the trail.

"After a concern was raised, we conferred with the Travis County Health and Human Services Department at which time they advised us there was a code compliance issue," Jeese Vargas with parks and rec said.

While the coolers are back at Auditorium Shores, don't expect to see them just yet under the MoPac Bridge. RunTex has plans to put a stand out here too, but they are currently working out a different permit for that location."

The Austin City Council waived the $310 health permit fee. RunTex owner Paul Carozza says he spent about $1,000 on the new setup.

Rogue Running and Luke's Locker have also talked with Parks and Recreation officials about creating another water stop.

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