Wednesday, May 31, 2023

Austin Celebrates the CROWN Act Becoming State Law

A bill intended to end the discrimination of hairstyles associated with race was signed into law Sunday by Governor Greg Abbott. House Bill 567, better known as the CROWN Act, was passed in the Texas Senate with 29-1 votes and in the Texas House by 143-5. It goes into effect on September 1.

The CROWN Act stands for “Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair”. Discrimination based on hair texture or hairstyle results in a denial of basic civil rights, including educational, housing, employment opportunities and places of public accommodation.

The Austin City Council approved implementing the CROWN Act in June 2022, making Austin the first city in Texas to do so.
“This is another step forward to protect and improve the lives of countless people across the state,” said Interim Civil Rights Director Dr. Tamela Saldana. “We know there continues to be discrimination against Black women and girls for wearing hairstyles inherent to their culture. Governor Abbott signing the CROWN Act into law sends a clear message that hair discrimination has no place here.”
Approving the CROWN Act amended City Code to revise the definition of “Discriminatory Employment Practice” to include “Protective Hairstyles”. This means a hairstyle necessitated by, or resulting from, the characteristics of a hair texture or hairstyle commonly associated with race, national origin, ethnicity, or culture, and includes but is not limited to afros, bantu knots, braids, cornrows, curls, locs, twists, or hair that is tightly coiled or tightly curled.
CROWN Act bills have been passed in 21 states including Texas and are part of a national civil rights and anti-discrimination movement started in 2019.

For more information on the Office of Civil Rights visit: Office of Civil Rights |

Saturday, May 27, 2023

Austin Transit Partnership, the local government corporation charged with implementing Project Connect, Maps Out First Phase of Project Connect

Despite the Legislature's efforts to thwart the City's voter-approved plan for light rail, the Austin Transit Partnership, the local government corporation charged with implementing Project Connect, has rolled out the  proposed first phase of the north-south and eastward routes. The full report is available on the homepage of the ATP website:  The plan's next stops for approval are the City Council and Capital Metro Board. 


APD's 2023 Memorial Day Weekend No Refusal Initiative

The Austin Police Department (APD) wants to remind the public that officers will be on patrol and enforcing a DWI No Refusal Initiative that will coincide with the upcoming Memorial Day Weekend. The operation will be active from Thursday, May 25th, thru Monday, May 29th.

This initiative is an effort to enforce DWI laws, keep the public safe by encouraging drivers to make responsible decisions, and apply for blood search warrants on suspects who refuse to provide a breath or blood specimen as required by law. This initiative will also focus on highways and high-speed roadways.

The Austin Police Department and the City of Austin Transportation Department continue to focus on preventing lives from being lost on Austin's streets, highways, and waterways. The Department is dedicated to making the roadways and waterways of Austin safe for residents and visitors through education and enforcement.

Don't drink and drive.

Memorial Day Weekend Personal Watercraft Ban on Lake Austin

The Austin Police Department (APD) Lake Patrol Unit will be enforcing the City Ordnance that prohibits the use and operation of personal watercraft, wet bikes, motorized surfboards, and similar devices (designed to be operated by a person sitting, standing, or kneeling on the vessel), on Lake Austin. This ban will go into effect beginning at sunset on Friday, May 26, 2023, and ending on Tuesday, May 30, 2023, at sunrise, as outlined in Ordinance 8-5-81. Non-motorized devices such as kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards can still be used along with watercraft designed for the conventional manner of sitting or standing in the vessel.

The annual ban on personal watercraft is necessary to ensure the safety of many people using the lake and parks over the Memorial Day Holiday Weekend. This ban only applies to Lake Austin.

Police will patrol Lake Austin this weekend and urge people using waterways to follow the Texas Water Safety Act and City of Austin boating laws and ordinances. Police urge all boaters to practice safe boating and to call 9-1-1 for all reckless operation of boats or emergencies.

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department and the Austin Police Department want the public to enjoy the parks and lakes but urge people to make this a safe holiday.

     (A)     A person may not use or possess a jet ski, wet bike, motorized surfboard, or similar device on Lake Austin:
          (1)     from sunset on the Friday before Memorial Day until sunrise on the Tuesday after Memorial Day;
          (2)     from sunset on the Friday before Labor Day until sunrise on the Tuesday after Labor Day; or
          (3)     from sunset on July 3 until sunrise on July 5.
     (B)     A person operating a motorboat on Lake Austin shall stay on the right side of the lake, except when assisting a downed water skier.
     (C)     A person may not operate a watercraft on Lake Austin at a speed that is greater than reasonable and prudent under the existing circumstances.
Source:  1992 Code Section 14-2-1; Ord. 031009-11; Ord. 031211-11.

Mpox Vaccinations Encouraged After First New Case Reported in Months

Austin-Travis County has recorded its first new mpox (monkeypox) case since February of this year. Austin Public Health (APH) is encouraging at-risk individuals to get vaccinated and follow precautions to protect themselves and others from the spread of this virus. 

“This could be the first of many new cases in our community if we aren’t cautious and follow the practices we know work to protect ourselves and others,” said Austin-Travis County Health Authority Dr. Desmar Walkes. “Vaccines are readily available through APH and community partners. The time is now to get your vaccine.” 

Information on current vaccine eligibility can be found on APH’s website. Anyone seeking a vaccine can schedule an appointment with APH by calling 512-972-5520 or by contacting local vaccine providers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention raised concerns about a resurgence of mpox over the spring and summer months after a cluster of mpox cases were reported in the Chicago area in April and May of this year. Nine of the cases were among men who had received two JYNNEOS vaccine doses, emphasizing the importance of following precautions even when vaccinated. 

“Many people in our community were greatly affected by the outbreak we experienced last year. An mpox infection meant they experienced severe pain, were possibly hospitalized and had to isolate themselves from others for weeks,” said APH Director Adrienne Sturrup. “Let’s use the tools we have at our disposal to keep ourselves safe and enjoy this summer to the fullest.” 

Protective measures to help reduce the spread of mpox include:   

  • Being fully clothed and avoiding skin-to-skin contact with strangers.    

  • Limiting close and or/intimate contact to people you know, including sharing items like drinks and blankets.    

  • Wearing well-fitting masks in close quarters when social distancing isn’t possible to reduce direct exchange of mouth/nasal fluids.    

  • Washing/sanitizing your hands as well as cleaning surfaces.  

  • Staying home if you feel sick or experience any symptoms

Thursday, May 25, 2023

Free Zilker Shuttle Runs Weekends & Holidays May 27–September 4

Who: City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department
What: Free Shuttle to Zilker Park from One Texas Center
When: Weekends and holidays, May 27–September 4
Where: Park at One Texas Center, 505 Barton Springs Rd. 

  • The Zilker Shuttle runs 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday, and during Memorial Day, the 4th of July, and Labor Day holidays.
  • The Zilker Shuttle is free!
  • Park in the One Texas Center parking garage, 505 Barton Springs Rd. 
  • Parking ticket must be validated by the shuttle driver.
  • The drop-off location is at Zilker Playground/Barton Springs Spillway, a two-minute walk to Barton Springs Pool.
  • No dogs or other pets allowed on the shuttle.

For more information, visit

City of Austin offices and facilities to close in observance of Memorial Day 5/29/23

City of Austin government offices will be closed on Monday, May 29, 2023 in observance of Memorial Day. Normal business hours will resume on Tuesday, May 30, 2023.

Austin Resource Recovery (ARR)
Trash, Recycling and Composting Schedules 
Austin Resource Recovery curbside services will not be affected by the Memorial Day holiday and the Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center will be open by appointment only ( Download the Austin Recycles App or visit to view your collection schedule.

Parks and Recreation Department
City of Austin Recreation Centers, Senior Centers, Museums and Cultural Centers will be closed on Monday, May 29. City parks, playgrounds, tennis centers, and golf courses will be open for their regularly scheduled hours on Memorial Day. Bartholomew, Barton Springs, Big Stacy, Deep Eddy, Garrison, Mabel Davis, Northwest, Springwoods and Walnut Creek Pools will also be open as well as splash pads. Find all Austin Parks and Recreation facility closure information at

Austin Energy
Utility Customer Service Centers will be closed Monday, May 29. Utility bill payments can be made at Other ways to pay can be found here.
Austin Public Library
Austin Public Library locations will be closed on Sunday and Monday. Remote library resources will be accessible through the Austin Public Library website:
Austin Animal Center
The Austin Animal Center will close for Memorial Day and reopen on Tuesday.

The City of Austin is encouraging Austinites and visitors to know how they are going to get home before they leave the house for the holiday and graduation celebrations, so they can get home safe. Visit to see a list of options.
For questions about City services or information call 3-1-1. Service requests can also be submitted from the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Over $6.2 Million Available for Local Creatives


The Elevate Grant is the second of three cultural grants, centering the City’s investments in diverse local arts, heritage, and music businesses. 

AUSTIN, TX – The City of Austin Economic Development Department announces over $6.2 million in support through the Elevate Grant. The program will offer $10,000 to $75,000 grants for arts organizations, individual artists, and creative businesses that produce culturally vibrant and diverse artistic content. Grant funds may be used for creative, administrative, and operational expenses incurred in producing creative activities and events for the public. Applications for the Elevate Grant will open Tuesday, May 23 at 10 a.m. through Tuesday, June 27 at 5 p.m.  

“Elevate is the second funding series for local creatives in Austin, developed in collaboration with the creative community. This grant supports a diverse group of cultural producers who promote equity, prioritize inclusive programming, and represent a broad range of artistic disciplines,” explains Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Director of the Economic Development Department. “Based on the community feedback from our recent funding support to arts and culture organizations, the Elevate Grant will further invest in Austin’s vibrant cultural landscape.” 

Eligible applicants must have a minimum one-year history of cultural or arts programming in the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan Statistical Area—which includes Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis, and Williamson counties.  To review the full eligibility requirements and application details, visit the Elevate Grant website.  

Application Opens 

Tuesday, May 23 at 10 a.m. 

Application Closes 

Tuesday, June 27 at 5 p.m. 

Application Assistance 

The Economic Development Department is offering various ways for the community to learn about the Elevate Grant application process and eligibility. 

Submit the Elevate Grant application by June 27 at 5 p.m. Full eligibility requirements, grant guidelines, and application details are available to review at   

La subvención Elevate es la segunda de tres subvenciones culturales que centran las inversiones de la ciudad en diversas empresas locales de arte, patrimonio y música.

AUSTIN, TX – El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de Austin anuncia apoyo de más de $6.2 millones a través de la subvención Elevate. El programa ofrecerá subvenciones de $10,000 a $75,000 para organizaciones artísticas, artistas individuales y empresas creativas que produzcan contenidos artísticos culturalmente vibrantes y diversos. Los fondos de la subvención podrán utilizarse para gastos creativos, administrativos y operativos incurridos en la producción de actividades creativas y eventos para el público. Las solicitudes para la subvención Elevate abrirán el martes 23 de mayo a las 10 a.m. hasta el martes 27 de junio a las 5 p.m. 

"Elevate es la segunda serie de financiación para creativos locales de Austin, desarrollada en colaboración con la comunidad creativa. Esta subvención apoya a un grupo diverso de productores culturales que promueven la equidad y dan prioridad a una programación inclusiva, y representan una amplia gama de disciplinas artísticas," explica Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Directora del Departamento de Desarrollo Económico. “Basándonos en los comentarios de la comunidad sobre nuestro reciente apoyo financiero a las organizaciones artísticas y culturales, la subvención Elevate invertirá aún más en el vibrante panorama cultural de Austin". 

Los solicitantes deben tener un historial mínimo de un año de programación cultural o artística en el área estadística metropolitana de Austin-Round Rock, que incluye los condados de Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis y Williamson.  Para consultar todos los requisitos y detalles de la solicitud, visite el sitio web de la subvención Elevate

Apertura de solicitudes 

Martes 23 de mayo a las 10 a.m. 

Cierre de solicitudes 

Martes 27 de junio a las 5 p.m. 

Asistencia para la solicitud 

El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico ofrece a la comunidad diversas formas de informarse sobre el proceso de solicitud de la subvención Elevate y los requisitos para solicitarla.

Presente la solicitud de la subvención Elevate antes del 27 de junio a las 5 p.m. Los requisitos completos de elegibilidad, las directrices de la subvención y los detalles de la solicitud están disponibles para su revisión en


About the City of Austin Economic Development Department   
The City of Austin Economic Development Department supports business growth, creative industries, and local communities. These programs build an equitable, sustainable economy to improve the lives of all Austin residents. To learn more about helpful resources, visit and subscribe to our newsletter. Connect with us @AustinEconDev on Facebook@AustinEconDev on Twitter, and @AustinEconDev on YouTube.   

Información sobre del Departamento de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de Austin 
El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de Austin fomenta el crecimiento empresarial, las industrias creativas y las comunidades locales. Estos programas construyen una economía equitativa y sostenible que enriquecen las vidas de los habitantes de Austin. Para obtener más información acerca de recursos útiles, visite y suscríbase a nuestro boletín. Conéctese con nosotros en @AustinEconDev en Facebook  y @AustinEconDev en Twitter  y @AustinEconDev en YouTube

Empire’s Echo Art Exhibit Opening at Old Bakery and Emporium Featuring Artists Anne Bobroff-Hajal and Craig Campbell

Join the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department for Empire’s Echo art exhibit opening on Thursday, June 1 at 4 p.m. at the Old Bakery and Emporium, 1006 Congress Ave. The exhibit features the work local Austin artists  Anne Bobroff-Hajal and Craig Campbell who offer two different perspectives of Russian history. Empire’s Echo will will be on display from June 1 through August 12. There will be a closing reception on Saturday, August 12 at 1 p.m. The exhibit and both reception events are free and open to the public.
Visitors are invited to dialogue with the history of Russia, whose great and terrible projects over centuries can also help us understand Putin’s invasion of Ukraine today. This exhibition sets the quiet resonance of day-to-day life on the periphery of the Russian Empire against the fevered aristocratic competition at its autocratic Moscow center.
Campbell’s Agit Kino: Tell Them We Are for Peace focuses on Indigenous peoples of subarctic Siberia. The installation features historic photographs and a tent cinema inspired by the early 20th-century Agitprop tents used by itinerant Bolshevik projectionists to screen news, propaganda, and entertainment for nomadic peoples.
Bobroff-Hajal’s large, comical but deadly serious, icon-like works, influenced by animation and graphic novels, contain hundreds of individually painted, 3-inch-high portraits of Russians from serfs to princes. Their stories are “narrated” by zany Tsarist "godparents,” across centuries of often brutal Tsarist and Soviet autocratic history, shaped by the specific geography on which they live.

Monday, May 22, 2023

Austin Brings in National Speaker, Thomas Mitchell, to Discuss Black Land Loss


June 15 ‘Black Land Matters, The Symposium’ at Austin Central Library Special Event Center 

The City of Austin Housing Department will host Black Land Matters, The Symposium on Thursday, June 15, 2023, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Austin Central Library Special Event Center.  Panelists, a housing and property rights expert, a landowner, and a developer, will explore the ongoing challenges that Black Americans continue to face regarding land ownership. This event will delve into the intersections of land ownership, wealth building, and cultural sustainability while also sharing available resources and discussing challenges and opportunities to help secure black land ownership in the face of ongoing land loss. Registration is free and includes lunch for attendees.  

“We are creating a space where dialogue can be the fuel to generate ideas, resources, strategies, and networks to help black communities reaffirm the value of land ownership,” explains Nefertitti Jackmon, Community Displacement Prevention Officer. “We hope to encourage expansion of home ownership and plant seeds that will lead to equitable and conscious community developments.” 

The panel discussion will emphasize methods and resources to expand landownership for wealth building, cultural sustainability, and improved health outcomes. Partners include the City of Austin Economic Development Department, Austin Public Health, and the Austin Public Library. 

“We recognize the continuing challenges of land loss and displacement among the African American community,” explains Rosie Truelove, Director for the Housing Department. “We are pleased to host this symposium and elevate this important conversation.” 

Register to attend Black Land Matters, The Symposium


  • Thomas W. Mitchell is a property law scholar, who is working to reform laws and develop policy solutions to address the mechanisms that deprive Black and other disadvantaged American families of their land, homes, and real estate wealth. A MacArthur “Genius Grant” Fellow, he is the principal drafter of the Uniform Partition of Heirs Property Act (UPHPA) of 2010. He is the Robert Drinan, S.J., Professor and Director of the Initiative on Land, Housing & Property Rights at Boston College of Law. 
  • Rosalind “Roz” Alexander-Kasparik is a 6th-generation descendent of Daniel Alexander (1810-1883) and his mother, Ceny. Daniel Alexander was a once-enslaved, nationally-known Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse breeder and trainer whose equestrian skills were coveted by the McKinney’s of the ranch now known as McKinney Falls State Park. The Alexander Farm in southeast Austin has been owned, operated,  and loved by Alexander’s descendants for 175 years and counting. The Alexander family continues to defend their historic land legacy. 
  • James Armstrong III is the chief executive director of Builders of Hope in Dallas, Texas. With their most recent project, Armstrong hopes to alleviate the negative effects of gentrification and provide economic mobility for families that need it most. “We are more than home builders, we are hope builders”, “Building hope for us means breaking the cycles of poverty by building strong communities and creating generational wealth through homeownership.”  He is also in the Equitable Development Initiative sponsored by Capital Impact Partners. 
  • Moderator: Nefertitti Jackmon is the Community Displacement Prevention Officer for the City of Austin Housing Department. She’s responsible for spearheading the development of programs and strategies to prevent displacement of vulnerable households, including the $300 million anti-displacement investments for Project Connect, described as a “comprehensive transit system expansion that will help transform Austin into one of the most sustainable, inclusive and innovative regions in the country.”  communities.   
  • MC: Jennifer Sanders, KXAN News Anchor, is an Edward R. Murrow winner and Emmy-nominated global journalist, news anchor, college professor and documentary filmmaker, who is passionate about helping and empowering people through visual storytelling. Her 2019 documentary won several awards, including the prestigious Edward R. Murrow award.  “Hidden History: The End of Syracuse’s 15th Ward” was focused on a small neighborhood during Syracuse’s 1950s that was decimated by the construction of Interstate 81 under the Federal Highway Act, urban renewal, and redlining. She has also reported frequently on gentrification in Austin. 

For more information on resources for displacement prevention and other housing resources, visit  

Sunday, May 21, 2023

Statement Regarding the Zilker Park Vision Plan from Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis and Council Members R. Alter, Qadri, Fuentes, and Velásquez

May 21, 2023

In recent weeks, Austin City Council offices have received an increase in constituent emails regarding the draft Zilker Park Vision Plan. The City’s Parks and Recreation Board is set to meet May 22 and will discuss and take possible action related to the draft plan. Clarifying the plan’s intent and its origins is an important step in addressing our community’s concerns while ensuring accurate information drives these conversations forward.
We want to emphasize all elements of the draft plan are still up for discussion, and additional community input will take place before the plan moves forward, especially before it is expected to come to City Council for a vote this summer. Whether or not the Vision Plan is approved, the ownership, management, daily operations, and maintenance of Zilker Park will remain with the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department. The draft plan, in no way, sets out a path to privatization of this beloved public green space. It also does not call for any additional events in the parks, nor does it include corporate partnerships. Proposed transportation components in the draft plan are intended to ensure the park is accessible to those visiting Zilker Park from all parts of the City. As we continue to invest in sustainable transportation options, Austinites’ reliance on travel by car will diminish. Any proposal that would come at the expense of the park’s environmental protection would not have our support.
The beginnings of the Vision Plan initiative date back almost five years. A 2018 City Council resolution spurred the creation of the Zilker Park Working Group to study transportation improvements and parking challenges in and around Zilker Park. A final report from the Working Group was issued in June 2019 and included some topics on which the 38-member group did not reach full agreement. As a result, the Parks and Recreation Department then began a more holistic Vision Plan process, beyond just the scope of transportation and mobility and collecting feedback from all over Austin. The resulting draft plan presented today is a community-driven effort intended to serve as a guiding framework for the ecological restoration and future recreational uses of the park, and it is the first comprehensive planning initiative of the 351-acre park.
We thank our constituents for their active involvement and advocacy in our community and welcome their input as the draft phase of this plan continues. Zilker Park is and will remain a public space that serves all Austinites.

[*This press release was highlighted by dp in bold, red and blue.]

Friday, May 19, 2023

Austin is now the 10th Largest City in the U.S.


U.S. Census Bureau Releases 2022 Population Estimates for Places and Metro Areas

Since the 2020 Census, Austin expanded its population by 12,547 residents, growing at a rate of 1.3%. The 2022 Census Bureau population estimates for U.S. cities and metro areas follow the release of county and state level estimates released earlier this year. This release also includes estimates of housing units for counties, states, and the nation. Austin is now the 10th largest U.S. city, surpassing San Jose, CA, with an estimated population of 974,447.
“These population estimates show the city of Austin gaining momentum in population growth and continuing to contribute to the rapid growth in the region,” explains City of Austin Demographer Lila Valencia. “Although these gains are smaller than we have seen for the city in the past, they represent an uptick in rate of growth relative to the Census Bureau’s 2021 estimates, when the city was estimated to have added just over 1,000 residents since the 2020 Census.”
Census Bureau Data of the 15 Most Populous Cities on July 1, 2022
Metro-level Population Estimates
For the 12th consecutive year, the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown metro area was the fastest-growing region in the country, among large metros. The Austin metro area added nearly 63,000 residents between 2021 and 2022, growing at a rate of 2.7%. The Austin metro is the 26th most populous metro area in the country and saw the 6th largest numeric increase in population between 2021 and 2022.
Place-level Population Estimates
Suburban cities are driving population growth in the region and the country. Georgetown, TX was once again the fastest-growing city in the nation, growing at a rate of 14.4% between July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022. Georgetown expanded by 10,887 residents to a total population of 86,507. Kyle, TX and Leander, TX were the third and fourth fastest-growing cities.
“These population estimates show a continued trend of strong and rapid population growth for the Austin Metro Area and the city,” said City of Austin Demographer Lila Valencia.
Census Bureau Data of the 15 Fastest Growing Large Cities
Texas was the only state that had more than three cities on both the 15 fastest-growing large cities and towns by numeric change and by percent change lists.
Housing Unit Estimates
Travis County saw the third largest numeric gain in housing units between July 1, 2021, and July 1, 2022, adding 27,927 new units during this time.
The newly released data is crucial in determining how the federal government proportionately distributes billions of dollars in grants and program funding for social services, community development, and the construction of schools, roads, and hospitals. 
Data from the Census also play a central role in redrawing boundaries for representative districts for the U.S. Congress, Texas Legislature, and Austin City Council districts. In June, the U.S. Census Bureau will release estimates with demographic detail for counties, states, and the nation.
For more quick facts, maps, and data analysis, visit

Gustavo "Gus" L. Garcia Recreation Center Mural Unveiling Ceremony

Join the Austin Parks and Recreation Department for the Gustavo "Gus" L. Garcia Recreation Center Mural Unveiling Ceremony on Saturday, May 27 at 9 a.m. at 1201 E. Rundberg Ln. This is an outdoor park event, so please dress comfortably. Created by artist Lindsey Millikan through Art in Public Places (AIPP), a program of the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department, the large-scale mural prominently features a portrait of former Austin Mayor Gus Garcia as well as members of the community at play.

About Gustavo L. “Gus” Garcia
Gustavo L. “Gus” Garcia (1934-2018) was born in the border town of Zapata, Texas. When he was 10 years old, he moved to Laredo, Texas. He came from a humble background growing up and once described his family as “destitute” in those early years. Spanish was his mother tongue and he did not become fluent in English until he was in middle school. Garcia enlisted in the United States Army in 1954. After returning to Laredo in 1957, he married Marina Gonzalez and, soon after, moved to Austin and enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin where he earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1959.
In Austin, Garcia and his family experienced racial discrimination. He was having difficulty finding a job as an accountant and renting or buying a home in certain parts of town. In 1967, Garcia made his entry into politics by attending a City Hall meeting to address the lack of Latino representation on the Human Rights Commission. By the end of that meeting Garcia found himself as a commission member, appointed by Council Member Dick Nichols. Years later, Garcia would file for the school board’s Place 7 Seat and prevail over the incumbent. In 1977, Garcia’s fellow trustees appointed him board president and soon started advocating for the need of more Latino leaders in Austin, both in politics and business.
In 1991 Garcia ran for Austin City Council, and defeated Gilbert Martinez to secure his seat. He was reelected in 1994, and again in 1997. During his time on the city council, Garcia focused on expanding facilities in East Austin, specifically in parks and recreation centers. He had many successes including the passing of the Save Our Springs ordinance, the completion of the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, keeping what is now Austin Energy in the public’s hands, expanding jobs and recreation opportunities for youth, and continuously fighting for more Mexican American representation in Austin.
Garcia was elected as the Mayor on November 6, 2001, becoming the first elected Latino mayor of Austin. During his tenure as Mayor, Garcia overcame many challenges and shared great successes including instituting Austin’s smoking ban. Garcia was humble and did not seek credit though he toiled tirelessly to help Austin’s Mexican American population and other underserved communities. In later years, Garcia was an active member of the Recreation Center which bore his name, participating in many community activities.

About the Artist
Artist Lindsey Millikan was born and raised in Houston, Texas. After receiving her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Texas State University, she moved to San Francisco to complete a Master of Fine Arts degree from the Academy of Arts University. For over twelve years, Millikan has worked steadily in Austin and the San Francisco Bay Area on dozens of public art projects, murals, and installations. She keeps an active studio practice and regularly shows in group exhibitions in traditional galleries and untraditional venues.
The City of Austin Cultural Art Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin. For additional information, visit
Art in Public Places
The Art in Public Places Program (AIPP) acquires and maintains works of art for City facilities and parks through commissions, donations, and loans for the cultural enrichment of Austin’s community. The goal of the City’s Art in Public Places program is to commission art projects of redeeming quality that advance the public’s understanding of visual art and enhance the aesthetic quality of public places. For additional information, visit

Thursday, May 18, 2023

Council Approves Two Elevated Water Reservoirs to Serve South Austin


These system improvements will strengthen water and wastewater infrastructure for improved resiliency and reliability.

Today, Austin City Council authorized two engineering services contracts for the Southwest Parkway Transmission Main & Elevated Reservoir project and the South I-35 Elevated Reservoir project. These new water storage projects, which are part of Austin Water’s Strategic Long-Range Water System Plan, have been advanced in line with recommendations made by the University of Texas Center for Water and the Environment to develop additional pathways for water distribution to reach South, Southwest and Southeast Austin customers. Southwest Austin was hardest hit during Winter Storm Uri because of the distance from centralized sources of water supply. The new reservoirs will enable greater storage capacity in Austin Water’s service area during extreme weather events.

“The construction of these two major projects will further enhance our ability to deliver and maintain dependable water service to all areas of Austin,” said Shay Ralls Roalson, Director of Austin Water. “Together, these important system upgrades will also help reduce impacts to our operations during emergencies by strengthening and improving our infrastructure resiliency.”

About the projects:

  • Southwest Parkway Transmission Main and Elevated Reservoir - This new water reservoir and associated transmission main will expand water storage redundancy and system resiliency for customers in the Southwest B Pressure Zone, which is currently served by a single elevated water reservoir. This system enhancement will allow Austin Water crews to conduct maintenance while minimizing impacts to customers.
  • South I-35 Elevated Reservoir - This new reservoir will provide additional storage capacity and resiliency in areas of South and Southeast Austin and improve hydraulic efficiency at a nearby pump station.
Both projects are anticipated to be complete by 2030. For more information about Austin Water’s infrastructure improvement initiatives, visit

Over $1.8 Million Awarded Towards Workforce Development

Funding targeting early childcare educators and healthcare careers  

AUSTIN, TX – The City of Austin Economic Development Department and community partners announce over $1.8 million in funding for workforce development initiatives targeting early childcare educators and key healthcare careers. This funding opportunity is part of the department’s mission of creating an equitable and sustainable economy through targeted workforce development programs

“Building a strong early childcare and healthcare workforce is essential to the health of our economy,” explains Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Director of the Economic Development Department. “Supporting the childcare workforce promotes access to affordable, high-quality childcare in Austin and encourages people to return to the labor force. Additionally, providing training opportunities for healthcare workers helps our workforce level up and ensures that our growing community continues to receive the care they need.” 

The Economic Development Department partnered with Austin Public Health to distribute $1 million to early childcare educators through the Workforce Solutions Capital Area Jeanette Watson Wage Supplement Project. Additionally, local non-profit, Together4Children, was awarded $351,271 to provide leadership training and coaching to childcare center directors and assistant directors, while Capital IDEA received $500,000 to expand its nursing and dental hygienist programs.  

The Jeanette Watson Wage Supplement Project will provide stipends to 200 early childhood educators. 250 educators have already received stipends from Workforce Solutions Capital Area using American Rescue Plan Act dollars allocated by Austin Public Health in 2022.  

While the Jeanette Watson project prioritizes childcare educators, the Together4Children Texas Leadership Academy will target 60 childcare directors and assistant directors. The academy will provide weekly sessions, coaching, and training activities to enhance management skills and offer facility improvement stipends to participants. Local non-profit, Capital IDEA, received $500,000 to add five and eight students to Concordia University’s nursing program and Austin Community College’s dental hygienist program, respectively. Capital IDEA will cover the cost of tuition, supplies, and provide financial assistance for childcare and transportation fees.  

The Economic Development Department uses grants to help the community get certified for careers in healthcare, information technology, advanced manufacturing, and skilled trades. For more information about the City’s support through workforce development, visit  

Financiamiento enfocado en maestros de educación infantil y carreras del cuidado de la salud 

AUSTIN, TX – El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico de la Ciudad de Austin y socios de la comunidad anuncian más de $1.8 millones en financiación para iniciativas de desarrollo laboral enfocadas en maestros de educación infantil y carreras clave en el cuidado de la salud. Esta oportunidad de financiación forma parte de la misión del departamento de crear una economía equitativa y sostenible a través de programas específicos de desarrollo de la fuerza laboral

"Crear una fuerza laboral sólida para la educación infantil y el cuidado de la salud es esencial para la salud de nuestra economía", explica Sylnovia Holt-Rabb, Directora del Departamento de Desarrollo Económico. "Apoyar a la fuerza laboral de la educación infantil promueve el acceso a un sistema de educación infantil accesible y de alta calidad en Austin y anima a la gente a reincorporarse a la fuerza laboral. Además, ofreciendo oportunidades de entrenamiento para los trabajadores del cuidado de la salud ayuda a nuestra fuerza laboral a elevar y asegura que nuestra comunidad que está creciendo continúe recibiendo el cuidado que necesita." 

El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico se asoció con el Departamento de Salud Pública de Austin para distribuir $1 millón entre los maestros de educación infantil a través del Proyecto de Suplemento Salarial Jeanette Watson de Workforce Solutions Capital Area. Además, la organización local sin fines de lucro Together4Children recibió $351,271 para proporcionar entrenamiento y capacitación en liderazgo a directores y subdirectores de centros de educación infantil, mientras que Capital IDEA recibió $500,000 para ampliar sus programas de enfermería e higienista dental. 

El Proyecto de Suplemento Salarial Jeanette Watson proporcionará estipendios a 200 maestros de educación infantil. 250 educadores ya han recibido estipendios de Workforce Solutions Capital Area utilizando dólares del Plan de Rescate Estadounidense asignados por el Departamento de Salud Pública de Austin en 2022. 

Mientras que el proyecto Jeanette Watson da prioridad a los maestros de educación infantil, la Academia de Liderazgo Together4Children Texas se centrará en 60 directores y subdirectores de guarderías. La academia ofrecerá sesiones semanales, entrenamiento y actividades de capacitación para mejorar las habilidades de gestión y ofrecer estipendios para la mejora de las instalaciones a los participantes. La organización local sin fines de lucro Capital IDEA recibió $500,000 para incorporar cinco y ocho estudiantes al programa de enfermería de la Universidad Concordia y al programa de higienista dental de Austin Community College, respectivamente. Capital IDEA financiará los gastos de matrícula y material, así como los gastos de educación infantil y transporte. 

El Departamento de Desarrollo Económico utiliza subvenciones para ayudar a la comunidad a obtener certificados para carreras en el cuidado de la salud, tecnología de la información, fabricación avanzada y oficios cualificados. Para más información sobre el apoyo de la ciudad al desarrollo de la fuerza laboral, visite