Tuesday, October 3, 2023

City of Austin Community Job Fair on October 10

The City of Austin’s Human Resources Department will host a Community Job Fair on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at the City of Austin Permitting and Development Center (PDC) located at 6310 Wilhelmina Delco Drive, Austin, TX 78752.
This job fair will provide individuals from the community with multiple opportunities to meet face-to-face with representatives from City departments and local employers committed to hiring and assisting individuals from all backgrounds, including justice-involved, individuals who are 50+, veterans, and people with disabilities. 
This event is free and open to the public. To register, visit austintexas.gov/jobfairs
City of Austin Community Job Fair, October 10, 11 am - 2 pm, COA Permitting & Development Ctr. www.austintexas.gov/jobfairs

New Law Changes Calculations for Parkland Dedication Fees, HB 1526 effective 1-1-24


The 2023 Texas State Legislature passed new regulations on how cities may collect parkland dedication (PLD) fees. House Bill (HB) 1526 addresses regulations for expanding parkland in Texas cities with a population greater than 800,000. Signed into law on June 10, the bill requires changes to Austin’s regulations for new developments starting January 1, 2024. 

HB 1526 reduces the City’s authority to administer parkland dedication fees, prescribes new formulas for parkland dedication and fees in lieu, and places caps on the amount of parkland that can be required and fees that can be charged. PARD estimates that new fees per dwelling unit will be 40 to 70% of those currently charged. The new law also prevents the City from placing any parkland requirements on commercial development, which will nullify the amendments approved by the Austin City Council in 2022.

Currently, PLD fees support parkland at 9.4 acres per 1,000 residents. HB 1526 changes that to 0.075 acres per 1,000 residents in the Central Business District (CBD), 0.75 acres per 1,000 in the urban area, and 3 acres per 1,000 in the suburban area. Changes to PLD fees may limit the City’s ability to meet parkland dedication targets. It’s likely these impacts will most directly affect areas designated as CBD and urban. 

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department is working with other City departments and partner cities to draft a new ordinance to comply with HB 1526. The new ordinance must be adopted no later than December 1, 2023, and will apply to all multifamily, hotel, and motel applications submitted on or after January 1, 2024.  

Boundaries must be set for CBD, urban, and suburban areas for parkland dedication purposes. The Austin City Council will host a public hearing regarding the boundaries at their October 19 meeting. Proposed boundaries can be viewed at AustinTexas.gov/PLD

Update on Barton Springs Pool Tree Flo: Removal scheduled for Oct. 5, 2023


Due to the safety risks, the leaning tree at Barton Springs known as "Flo" will be removed on October 5 when Barton Springs Pool is closed. The Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) took many factors into consideration when reaching this decision, most importantly, public safety. PARD will be collaborating with community stakeholders to honor and memorialize Flo. An outline and schedule of public meetings will be available on the Barton Springs Pool Tree Update webpage.

The Department invites the public to honor "Flo" at a Celebration of Life on October 4 at 6:30 p.m. at Barton Springs Pool, 2131 William Barton Dr. The celebration of life will include a water blessing, speakers about Flo’s history and music. People who attending the celebration should plan to park on the south side of the pool and walk around due to limited space in the main lot. 

PARD recognizes the immense value "Flo" has provided to our shared community and that the tree removal will change the landscape around Barton Springs Pool. PARD is collecting stories, memories, and photos about FloStories can be viewed online. The public is invited to share their remembrances via email at treestories@austintexas.gov.

Structural defects in the tree have existed for decades, and PARD has worked hard to support and maintain the tree. These defects combined with the confirmed diagnosis of brittle cinder fungus, which has no cure, will cause this tree to fail. A tree of this size in an area of high use, even with barricades blocking access, is a life safety hazard. All arborist reports and a timeline of Flo’s life in photos is available online at AustinTexas.gov/BSPtree.

Friday, September 29, 2023

Austin Public Health Reports First West Nile Virus Death for 2023


APH urges precautions to protect against mosquitoes 

Austin Public Health (APH) is reporting the death of a Travis County resident after developing an illness caused by West Nile virus (WNV). This is the first confirmed West Nile virus case in Travis County for 2023.   

“We are sad to report the first death of the year from West Nile virus in Travis County,” said APH Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. “This death is a stark reminder that West Nile virus poses a serious risk, especially to older people and those with weakened immune systems.  We’re seeing an uptick in mosquito breeding due to the recent rains and cooler weather in Texas, we should all take precautions to ‘Fight the Bite.’ It’s important for everyone to protect themselves. Let’s follow the four DsDEET, avoid going outdoors from Dusk to Dawn, Drain standing water in pots, tires, and other objects around your home and Dress in long sleeves and pants when you are outdoors. These prevention tools will help to keep ourselves, our families and our communities safe.” 

To date, the Environmental Health Services Division has identified 26 positive pools of mosquitoes carrying West Nile virus this year in 12 zip codes, including 78702, 78703, 78704, 78721, 78722, 78723, 78727, 78741, 78751, 78754, 78757 and 78759. 


APH will continue to monitor and expand testing for mosquito pools.

West Nile Virus is Spread by Mosquitoes 

West Nile virus is commonly spread through mosquito bites and is not spread through coughing, sneezing or touching infected people or animals. It is the most common mosquito-borne disease in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.  

Approximately one in five people infected with West Nile virus develop symptoms such as: 

  • Headache 

  • body aches 

  • Joint pains 

  • Vomiting 

  • Diarrhea 

  • Rash 

Of those infected, few can develop serious illness affecting the central nervous system. People over 60 years of age, persons with medical conditions such as cancer, diabetes, hypertension or kidney disease, and immunocompromised individuals, such as organ transplant recipients are at greater risk of developing serious disease.     

Fight the Bite to Prevent West Nile Virus 

Mosquitoes are present in Central Texas year-round, but the population is largest and most active from May through November. During this period, the APH Environmental Vector Control Unit monitors the mosquito population. Although mosquitoes were quiet this summer due to dry conditions, recent rains have brought them back to life, increasing the risk of contracting mosquito-borne infections for people across the state.     

Know the dangers and fight the bite with the “four Ds”:      

  • Drain standing water: Mosquitoes breed in standing water and need as little as one teaspoon of water. Emptying water that accumulates in toys, tires, trash cans, buckets, clogged rain gutters and plant pots will eliminate places for mosquitoes to lay eggs and reproduce.    

  • Dusk to dawn: Although different species of mosquitoes are active at different times of day, the Culex mosquito that spreads West Nile virus is most active between dusk and dawn.    

  • Dress: Wear pants and long sleeves when you are outside. Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing; mosquito-repellent clothing is also available.    

  • DEET: Apply insect repellant: Use an EPA-registered repellent such as those containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol or 2-undecanone. Apply on both exposed skin and clothing.     

For more information on West Nile virus, visit www.AustinTexas.gov/WestNile. For additional information about APH Environmental Vector Control and mosquito monitoring programs, visit https://austintexas.gov/department/environmental-vector-control.


Lake Walter E. Long Boat Ramp to Close for Public Safety

Public access to the boat ramp at Lake Walter E. Long will be closed effective Sunday, October 1, 2023, as the lake level is too low to safely allow boating. Operational decisions about lake access are made in collaboration with Austin Energy, Austin Water and the Lower Colorado River Authority. 

The lake level is maintained by pumping water from the Colorado River. Flows from the Colorado River have been insufficient to allow pumping into Lake Walter E. Long due to lack of local rainfall and reduced inflows into the Highland Lakes. 

Austin Energy, Austin Water and Austin Parks and Recreation will continue to monitor available Colorado River flows and will resume pumping operations as conditions allow which will allow the boat ramp to reopen safely. The City appreciates everyone’s patience and understanding.

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Parks and Recreation Department Project Receives Preservation Award

The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) received a Preservation Texas Honor Award on Thursday, September 21, at the Central Texas Regional Preservation Summit ceremony held at Dunbar Recreation Center in San Marcos for the restoration of the historic grandstands at Downs Field, 2816 E 12th St. The award recognizes a major milestone in a decade-long effort to restore and promote the historically significant field, which has been the home of sports for Black athletes in Austin for nearly 100 years.

The site was first used in the 1920s by Samuel Huston College baseball and the Austin Black Senators, the first Negro Baseball League team in Austin. Baseball greats associated with the field include Satchel Paige, Willie Mays, Smokey Joe Williams and Buck O’Neil. Later, the site hosted the original L.C. Anderson’s Yellowjackets football team, which won the state championship in 1942. In 1954, Downs Field was established at the site and named in honor of Reverend Karl Downs (1912-1948), who was President of Samuel Huston College. Today, Downs Field is the home field of the Huston-Tillotson Rams.

The project included replacement of the corrugated metal roof and structural upgrades to the steel supports and wood framing, while replicating the original architectural characteristics. The grandstands restoration follows a multi-year effort to restore and enhance the field and has engaged nonprofit partners including the Rosewood Neighborhood Association, Six Square, Forklift Danceworks, and Austin Parks Foundation. The site was designated a Recorded Texas Historical Landmark by the Texas Historical Commission in 2015.

The Downs Field Grandstand restoration project was funded by the Historic Preservation Fund in partnership with the Heritage Tourism Division of the Economic Development Department. The fund, made possible through the Hotel Occupancy Tax, helps preserve and restore Austin’s historic treasures to be enjoyed by tourists and locals alike.

The Elisabet Ney Museum Presents Re-Imagining the Ney: A Community Art Bash, Saturday, October 21 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department in partnership with the Friends of Elisabet Ney Museum present Re-Imagining the Ney: A Community Art Bash on Saturday, October 21 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Elisabet Ney Museum, 304 E. 44th St. It is free and open to the public.

Register via Eventbrite.
Reimagine Elisabet Ney's iconoclastic life and brilliant art through the lens of three Austin contemporary visual artists: Yuliya Lanina, Agustina Rodriguez and Lisa B. Woods. Each will be creating site-specific art experiences in the Museum or historic grounds. Attendees will experience artist interventions, theatrical performances, and musical expressions immersed throughout the Museum's expansive grounds, paired with curated food and drinks from local vendors and specialized museum tours crafted by interpretive actors, Yunina C Barbour-Payne, Venese Alcantar, and Savannah Lee. 
In the flavor of Ney’s marble cutting process, Eric McMaster’s Digital Fabrication students from the University of Texas will share their current-day translations of Ney’s plaster casts. Come celebrate the museum's evolving programs and exhibits and share your thoughts on the next evolution of the Museum. As the evening approaches, the event will transition into an after-hours event, featuring interactive projects and musical interventions by artist Amanda Vaughn. Featured sponsors include Quiet Events, Fair Weather Cider Company, Fancy Fancy, and Chawar. 
The Ney Museum Strives to ensure an inclusive and community-centered approach and will be actively interviewing and surveying visitors throughout the event. Alternatively, you can share your thoughts by emailing ney@austintexas.gov. To learn more about the Re-Imagining the Ney interpretive plan and capital improvement project please click here.

City of Austin Community Job Fair on October 10

The City of Austin’s Human Resources Department will host a Community Job Fair on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, from 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. at ...