Saturday, February 26, 2022

City seeks community feedback on draft Vision Framework for Palm District Planning Initiative in support of a shared vision for growth


Community members can stay informed, share ideas, and provide feedback from the project SpeakUp Austin webpage

The City of Austin today released a draft Vision Framework for the Palm District Planning Initiative, a planning process to guide the future of one of downtown Austin’s most iconic and fastest-growing districts. Beginning today, community members may review the draft Vision Framework, watch a video summary, provide feedback through a survey, register to attend a virtual public presentation, continue to share input, and discover other ways to stay informed and engaged to help develop the final Palm District Small Area Plan. 
 
Since Summer 2021, the Palm District planning process has engaged stakeholders to work toward developing a comprehensive and focused small area plan for an area of downtown Austin which includes many attractions and points of interest such as Waller Creek, Red River Cultural District, Palm School, Rainey Street, the Emma S. Barrientos - Mexican American Cultural Center, and the Convention Center. 
 
Visit the Palm District Planning Project Page for more information: SpeakUpAustin.org/PalmDistrict 

“The [Palm] area is a dynamic gateway for visitors, a cultural touchstone for Austin's Mexican American community, and a window into Austin’s past,” said Housing and Planning Director, Rosie Truelove, Executive Lead for the project. “As Austin continues to rapidly evolve, our goal is to create a space where old memories are honored and new memories are made. We have a unique opportunity to responsibly and respectfully guide growth of such an iconic area for visitors and long-time Austinites alike.” 
 
Through a continued partnership with district stakeholders and community members, the district’s future has the potential to:  

  • Build on existing plans, initiatives, and strengths; 
  • Create a safe place that is welcoming to all; 
  • Honor and celebrate history; 
  • Enhance educational and cultural assets; 
  • Provide equitable economic benefits and opportunity; 
  • Increase access to housing; 
  • Improve mobility and access; and 
  • Improve access to nature, enhance natural systems, and support a sustainable, resilient future. 

  
Timeline 

  • Pre-Planning Phase - Fall 2019- Winter 2020 
    The project team researched the planning area in preparation of developing the plan. 

  • Visioning Phase - Spring 2021 - Fall 2021 
    Community engagement activities begin. Community input is used to develop a draft vision and outline for the plan. 

  • Active Planning - Summer 2021 – Spring 2022 
    Staff uses the draft vision and outline to develop several scenarios for the planning area. 

  • Draft Review – Spring/Summer 2022 
    Staff develops the draft plan. The plan is made available for public review and comments. 

  • Plan Adoption - Summer 2022 
    The Palm District Small Area Plan is finalized. During this time, staff reviews the plan with City of Austin Boards and Commissions, sets City Council Hearings, and seeks adoption and implementation of the plan from Council. 

  
Community Engagement 
A key component of the project is community input. During the Visioning Stage, staff received feedback from stakeholders through a series of virtual meetings, surveys, focus groups, interviews, and interactive exercises—The results of which influenced the draft Vision Framework.  

In the subsequent stages, staff will refine the draft Vision Framework based on continued community input and evaluate scenarios to develop the final Palm District Small Area Plan. 
 
Additionally, the full project timeline (summarized above) is viewable from the SpeakUp Austin webpage under the "Project Timeline" section. 

 
About the Project 
On May 23, 2019, Austin City Council voted to approve Resolution No. 20190523-029. The resolution covered many topics within the Palm District, including the Palm School, Rainey Street, the Fifth Street Mexican American Heritage Corridor, the Convention Center expansion, and a district planning process. 

The Palm District Planning Initiative builds on existing plans and ongoing initiatives and will include recommendations to support the development of a seamless, integrated, vibrant district with a unique sense of place grounded in its history.  

 

About the Draft Vision Framework 

The Draft Vision Framework presents a future vision for the Palm District based on input from the community. The draft Vision Framework identifies key desired outcomes under 4 major themes: 

  • Inclusive Growth. An Inclusive, Equitable, and Prosperous Palm District 
  • Culture. A Culturally Rich and Diverse Palm District 
  • Connections. A Well-Connected and Accessible Palm District 
  • Nature. An Ecologically Healthy Palm District 

The Vision Framework will be used to guide detailed work to develop a plan for the area which would support each of these major themes. 

 

Ways to Get Involved 
Austinites can review the draft Vision Framework, learn what community members have said, and explore the Palm District study area in more detail. Additionally, interested persons may provide feedback on the draft Vision Framework by completing a feedback survey. Staff are available to provide clarity on any aspects of the plan, what the plan intends to accomplish, or where you might be able to learn more. 

An upcoming engagement opportunity for Austinites to view a summary of the draft Vision Framework, and provide feedback, will be held on March 9, 2022. Interested persons are invited to register from the Palm District Planning SpeakUp Austin webpage

For more information, visit the Palm District Planning SpeakUp Austin webpage or contact staff via email at PalmDistrictPlanning@AustinTexas.gov, by phone at 311, or by sending postal mail to Attn: Palm District Plan, City of Austin Housing and Planning Department, P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767. 

 

About Housing and Planning Department 

The Housing and Planning Department provides resources related to planning, zoning, housing, and community development to enhance the quality of life of all Austinites. Equitable, efficient, and comprehensive planning with displacement prevention as a prioritized focus is the Department’s core charge in delivering housing services to the community.


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