Thursday, January 26, 2023

Council Member Kelly Appointed to Serve on National League of Cities’ Public Safety Crime Prevention Committee

Austin City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly has been appointed to the National League of Cities (NLC) 2023 Public Safety and Crime Prevention (PSCP) federal advocacy committee. Kelly was elected to a one-year term and will provide strategic direction and guidance for NLC’s federal advocacy agenda and policy priorities on public safety issues, including law enforcement, municipal fire prevention, natural disaster preparedness, and homeland security. The appointment was announced by NLC President Mayor Victoria Woodards of Tacoma, Washington. 
“My priority is and has always been to keep my community safe. Being re-appointed to the NLC Public Safety Crime Prevention Committee helps ensure that the needs in Austin and all over the country are supported at the federal level related to public safety, “said Kelly. 
As a member of NLC’s PSCP committee, Kelly will play a key role in shaping NLC’s policy positions and advocate on behalf of America’s cities, towns and villages before Congress, with the administration, and at home.
“NLC’s federal advocacy committees are a key tool for gathering insights directly from the communities that our members serve,” said NLC President Mayor Victoria Woodards of Tacoma, Washington. “I am excited to have Councilwoman Kelly serve on the NLC PSCP committee and look forward to working with her to ensure every city, town and village in this nation has the resources they need to thrive.” 
The leadership of this year’s committee will consist of Chair Ras J. Baraka, Mayor, City of Newark, NJ; Vice Chair Rhonda Jerome, Council Member, City of North Charleston, SC; and Vice Chair Brian Kazy, Council Member, City of Cleveland, OH.
For more information on NLC’s federal advocacy committees, visit:

Ready. Set. Summer Camp Registration 2023!


Early Registration for Financial Aid, Adaptive and Inclusion Programs
Austin Parks and Recreation provides accessible, diverse, and inclusive summer camps for ages 5 through 15 at select locations. Austin residents with approved financial aid and those seeking adaptive and inclusion support programs can register in person and by phone February 18 through 24. Registration times vary based on location. Evening and weekend times are available. 

Therapeutic summer programs embrace the diversity that defines Austin and work to ensure that all individuals are accepted, included, and welcomed to participate, play, and recreate together with a team of Certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialists (CTRS) and Inclusion Aids. Austin residents can register for therapeutic summer programs beginning February 18 at 10 a.m. Non-Austin residents can register beginning February 25 at 2 p.m.

Visual and performing arts, culture and history summer camps preserve and protect the past, celebrate Austin’s diversity, build community, and develop awareness and appreciation for the arts. Austin residents can register for culture and arts summer camps beginning February 25 at 10 a.m. Non-Austin residents can register beginning February 25 at 2 p.m.

Nature-based summer camps provide hands-on educational and recreational activities that increase appreciation for the natural environment and awareness of the conservation ethic. Austin residents can register for nature-based summer camps beginning February 25 at 12 p.m. Non-Austin residents can register beginning February 25 at 2 p.m.

Community recreation center summer camps at have a youth development philosophy which focuses on providing opportunities to enhance their interests, skills and abilities through intentional programming and quality experiences that help develop social, emotional, ethical, physical and cognitive competencies. Austin residents can register for community recreation center summer camps beginning March 4 at 10 a.m. Non-Austin residents can register beginning March 4 at 12 p.m.

For more information about Summer Camps, visit

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Council Member Mackenzie Kelly to Host Blood Drive

On Thursday, January 26, 2023, Austin City Councilwoman Mackenzie Kelly will present a proclamation to declare January as Blood Donor Month in Austin. Its purpose is to remind and encourage the people of Austin how vital it is to help those in need by donating blood.

Councilwoman Kelly has invited We Are Blood to host a special community blood drive on Thursday. The We Are Blood bus will be parked on Guadalupe Street, on the west side of City Hall, from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Donors can make an appointment online (appointments preferred, but walk-ins are welcome).

We Are Blood is the nonprofit blood center serving Central Texas and the exclusive provider of our community’s blood supply. Since 1951, We Are Blood has drawn Central Texans together and inspired individuals to make a lifesaving difference for neighbors in need. Today, We Are Blood collects blood donations and serves over 40 hospitals and medical facilities in our 10-county area. Their mission: to provide and protect the community blood supply, to inspire Central Texans to save lives locally, and to always treat everyone they serve like family.

For questions specific to our drive, your “We Are Blood” contact is Tom Meade, or 512.206.1300.

Prescribed Burns Planned to Help Restore Native Grasslands on Austin’s Water Quality Protection Lands

The Austin Fire Department plans to conduct a prescribed burn on the Water Quality Protection Lands on Thursday and Friday, January 26-27, 2023. Smoke may be visible in the area as trained crews work. With favorable conditions in the forecast, crews plan to safely treat up to 55 acres with prescribed fire.
The Water Quality Protection Lands (WQPL) program actively manages more than 30,000 acres to benefit the quality and quantity of water recharging the Edwards Aquifer, which provides water to both Barton Springs and to groundwater wells in Hays and Travis Counties. Austin Water’s Wildland Conservation Division manages the lands.

“Prescribed fire is a key tool used to manage this land and improves the quality and quantity of groundwater entering the Edwards Aquifer,” said Matt Lore, Austin Water Wildland Conservation Division. “Beyond our core mission of improving groundwater quality in Central Texas, the use of prescribed fire also improve landscape resilience, promoting a diverse and vibrant ecosystem above the aquifer.” 
Prescribed burns mimic the natural fire cycle in a way that can be planned and organized to limit fire intensity. And by reducing accumulations of wildland fuels, these efforts serve both natural landscapes and human communities by reducing the intensity of potential wildfires. In savannah ecosystems such as those found on the WQPL, wildflowers and native grass communities flourish after prescribed fires. Wildlife also benefits. For example, immediately post-fire, grassland birds like quail and northern harrier hawks benefit from newly open habitat for nesting and feeding.
Prescribed burns are implemented with a great deal of care and planning. A team of trained professionals ensures that safety is their primary objective. Partnerships with agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Wildflower Center, the Texas Forest Service, and Travis County Natural Resources as well as coordination with the Austin Fire Department, neighboring fire departments and emergency service districts may all contribute to successful prescribed burns.

All personnel meet specific training, experience, fitness and personal protective equipment requirements for the position they perform on the fireline. The prescription for each fire takes into account weather conditions– including wind and past precipitation – and requires specific parameters for the burn to ensure the fire behavior will meet objectives and can be safely controlled.
Follow updates about this prescribed burn at:

For more information, please visit

Sign up for notifications about prescribed burns on the Water Quality Protection Lands.

Homeless Strategy Division Hosting Virtual Community Meetings February 1–3

The City of Austin’s Homeless Strategy Division will host virtual meetings to update the community on efforts to address homelessness and answer community member questions. There will be two identical virtual meetings on the evenings of February 1–2, 2023, with an additional webinar tailored to service providers on the morning of Friday, February 3, 2023. 
“In 2023, we will continue our quarterly community update sessions, which have become an important channel for keeping people up to date on the city’s efforts, and hearing from the community and service providers,” said Dianna Grey, the City of Austin’s Homeless Strategy Officer. 
Topics to be presented will include, but not be limited to: 
  • Affordable housing development 
  • Upcoming City of Austin funding opportunities 
  • Cold weather shelter and extreme weather response
  • Community-wide shelter system assessment and planning 
  • Encampment management and the HEAL Initiative 
  • Finding Home ATX funding update 
Register to attend a Virtual Meeting 
To learn more about homelessness in Austin, please visit

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Austin residents and visitors have a new option to pay for parking


Drivers in Austin will have one more option available to pay for on-street parking starting today. 

The app allows users to search for nearby parking by entering their city or location. Thenthe user enters their parking space number (or license plate number, depending on the location), vehicle information and length of stay. Users can also manage and extend their parking sessions and access parking history and receipts. users have previously been able to use the app for off-street parking and now can access on-street parking as well. 

In 2020, Austin partnered with Google to offer drivers the opportunity to pay for their parking through the Google Maps app. That pilot program has since ended. 

These initiatives are part of Austin's efforts to make paying for on-street parking as easy and convenient as possible. The Park ATX app allows users to manage their parking sessions remotely and offers two 15-minute free parking sessions every 24 hours by using codes "FREE15ATX1" and "FREE15ATX2." 

Open house and survey now available or phase two of the Austin Core Transportation Plan


The Austin Core Transportation (ACT) Plan is a study of transportation and mobility options into, out of, through and within Downtown Austin. Austin Transportation is holding a virtual open house and conducting a survey to develop the ACT Plan and learn more about the community's mobility preferences downtown.

This open house is presenting information and options about space trade-offs downtown, and the survey is open to hear from the community about preferences. In the survey, you will be asked to consider trade-offs related to space provided on downtown streets to accommodate bicycles, micromobility (scooters), public transit and vehicles. You can also share your opinion about converting one-way streets to two-way operations in the future.

In 2022, during phase one of outreach, ATD staff worked with more than 70 local stakeholder groups and community organizations, heard from hundreds of community members at in-person events, and received more than 2,100 survey responses to identify what mobility elements people preferred downtown. You can find a summary of what we heard here.

Phase two of the ACT Plan reflects that input from phase one as well as the latest information from partner mobility organizations on major upcoming projects such as Capital Express Central and Project Connect.

You can take the survey and view the open house here. If you have any questions or issues regarding the survey or the ACT Plan, please email

Council Member Kelly Appointed to Serve on National League of Cities’ Public Safety Crime Prevention Committee

Austin City Council Member Mackenzie Kelly has been appointed to the  National League of Cities  (NLC) 2023 Public Safety and Crime Preventi...