Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Austin remembers the October 2013 Flood

Oct 31, 2023 10:00 am

On October 30-31, 2013, heavy rain fell across Austin, causing Onion, Bull, Shoal, Walnut, and Williamson creeks to leave their banks. The rainfall totals in the Onion Creek watershed upstream of Austin caused a flash flood that hit portions of South Austin in the early morning hours. Water passed under I-35 and inundated several neighborhoods between I-35 and US Highway 183. Floodwater closed 40 roads and impacted 745 homes in Travis County. Five individuals lost their lives. Today marks the tenth anniversary of this tragic event.  

Earlier this month, Council Member Vanessa Fuentes presented a proclamation designating October 31st, 2023, as 2013 Austin Flood Remembrance Day. “Can we do better? Absolutely. Are we working to do better? Yes, we are,” remarked Dove Springs community leader Constable George Morales at the presentation of the proclamation. “I want to compliment the City of Austin because they’re taking the necessary steps.”  

Austin Responds 

Despite the devastation and loss that occurred in October 2013, the Austin community came together to help neighbors in need. From doing laundry and preparing meals to returning possessions that in some cases had been washed far downstream, Austinites exhibited strength and resiliency. 

In response to the devastating 2013 flood, the City of Austin has completed buyouts along Onion Creek, improved technology, hardened flood gauges, and strengthened our partnerships with the National Weather Service, U. S. Geological Survey, local news media, and community organizations. The City has completed more than 40 projects in Onion, Bull, Shoal, Walnut, and Williamson creek watersheds since the 2013 Austin Flood. 

“Our mission to protect lives, property and the environment is just as important as ever and we will continue to do more,” said Jorge Morales, Director of the Watershed Protection Department. 

Austin Prepares 

The City of Austin is committed to building a flood-resilient community through construction projects, regulations, education and engagement. While our projects and efforts have lowered the risk of flooding, we cannot eliminate it completely due to our weather, topography and geography. Austin is located in Flash Flood Alley and is vulnerable to extraordinary amounts of rain in a short amount of time. Our creeks will always be subject to flash flooding. There are more than 400 roads and 7,200 buildings at risk of flooding from a 100-year flood.  

We encourage Austinites to be weather ready and visit ATXFloodSafety.com for flood related resources, including: 

  • Real-time road closures through ATXFloods.com  
  • Floodplain maps  
  • Disaster-related mental health resources 
  • Flood insurance information 
  • What to include in your emergency plan 
  • WarnCentralTexas emergency alerts sign up 

Austin Remembers 

Austin Parks and Recreation brought local officials and the community together for the unveiling of the Onion Creek Mural Project on October 28, 2023, in Onion Creek Metropolitan Park. The memorial mural was created in collaboration with Onion Creek flood survivors who participated in a series of focus groups with artist Alonso Estrada. The mural is inspired by an ancient Native American myth of a wild white horse that inhabited Onion Creek. It tells the story of the strength of the flood waters and the fortitude of the community members that survived. If you were unable to attend the unveiling, you may visit the mural which is located near the intersection of Vine Hill and Onion Creek Drives. 

Monday, October 30, 2023

Buford Tower Restoration Tours, Wednesday, November 1, 11:30 a.m.

Who: Austin Parks and Recreation

What: Tour of restored Buford Tower
When: Wednesday, November 1, 11:30 a.m.
Where: 201 W. Cesar Chavez St.
Why: Buford Tower restoration is complete.

  • 11:30 a.m. Media information sharing, tours, b-roll, staff availability
  • 12:00 p.m. Carillon rings 

Buford Tower, a six-story brick building that was constructed in 1930, has now been restored after fire damage in April 2021. The structure has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 2016. Damaged brick, windows, and concrete plinth have now been repaired and replaced in accordance with historic preservation standards. The surrounding landscaping has also been restored along with updates to the interior electrical components and carillon chimes. Learn more about Buford Tower Repairs.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

City Launches Text Message Alert System for People Experiencing Homelessness


The Austin Public Health Homeless Strategy Division launched a new text message alert system on Wednesday, October 25, 2023. The City of Austin’s new communication capabilities will enable people experiencing homelessness to receive urgent information and timely updates directly on their cell phones. The inaugural alerts were sent to over 3,500 unhoused residents in preparation for last week’s heavy rainfall and the upcoming forecast of a 40-degree temperature plummet.

“Emergency weather text alerts are not only vital but can be the difference between life and death for individuals experiencing homelessness,” said Adrienne Sturrup, Austin Public Health Director. “These alerts serve as their first line of defense against the unforgiving forces of nature. When a storm, extreme cold, or sweltering heat strike, a simple text message can mean the opportunity to find shelter, access warming centers, or be aware of life-threatening conditions.”

The Homeless Strategy Division has now established a direct connection with thousands of vulnerable community members. Crucial preparedness guidance will be disseminated via text message to those experiencing homelessness during a variety of circumstances including flood events, elevated seasonal wildfire risk, summer heat advisories, and winter storms.

“The importance of emergency text alerts for individuals experiencing homelessness cannot be overstated,” said David Gray, Interim Homeless Strategy Officer. “Tailoring these messages to people experiencing homelessness exemplifies the power of technology and community spirit to provide a lifeline and hope when it is needed most. It demonstrates that we, as a community, are committed to protecting the most vulnerable among us during times of crisis.”

The Homeless Strategy Division intends to quickly expand the use of technology solutions to deliver messages to unhoused residents about lifeline services like monthly Pop-Up Resource Clinics hosted by Austin-Travis County Emergency Medical Services, cold weather shelter activations, and more.

“Importantly, during a significant event that limits the City of Austin’s capacity to provide in-person welfare checks to a multitude of unhoused residents, two-way communication capabilities can be activated to support remote engagement, improved situational awareness, and prioritized response,” said Charles Loosen, Homeless Strategy Division Community Engagement Consultant.

The Homeless Strategy Division will soon launch an educational campaign focused on enrolling unhoused Austinites who have mobile phones to receive text notifications. Outreach teams will be equipped with flyers that contain a QR code for a fast and easy subscription to the homeless alerts service.

Austin Public Health began using mass text messaging notifications early in the City’s COVID-19 response. Text messages proved to be an efficient, unobtrusive, and cost-effective means of sharing vaccine appointment reminders and other relevant advice with Austin area residents.

The development of this new alert service was supported by Austin Public Health Information Technology, the City’s Watershed Protection Department, and a variety of community partners.

The homeless alert system is intended for a specific and highly vulnerable population with unique needs. The City of Austin encourages all residents – regardless of housing status – to sign up for Warn Central Texas emergency notifications www.warncentraltexas.org.

To learn more about homelessness in Austin, please visit www.austintexas.gov/homelessness

Friday, October 27, 2023

First in the State Harvest Trauma Recovery Center Opens in Austin


New center aims to help Austin-Travis County residents move from trauma to triumph with a host of FREE mental health and wraparound services

The first of its kind in Texas, the Harvest Trauma Recovery Center (HTRC) opens to the public on November 1 with a grand opening celebration from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. The center has been created in partnership with the City of Austin and the African American Youth Harvest Foundation (AAYHF) to provide comprehensive support and healing to survivors of violence in Austin-Travis County at no cost to the patient.

“The Harvest Trauma Recovery Center will stand as a sanctuary for survivors of violence in Austin-Travis County, where they will not only receive top quality mental health care, but a full array of wraparound support including basic needs, case management, substance abuse intervention, workforce assistance and a host of social and educational programs to elevate the whole family,” said AAYHF’s CEO Michael Lofton.

“The Harvest Trauma Recovery Center joins 50 Trauma Recovery Centers (TRC) nationwide implementing the TRC model,” said Office of Violence Prevention Manager Michelle Myles. “The TRC model provides mental health trauma treatment for survivors of violent crime that effectively promotes survivor-centered healing and removes barriers for survivors and their families to receive cost-effective treatment.”

Working from an evidence-based intervention model promoted by the National Alliance of Trauma Recovery Centers (NATRC), HTRC clients have access to a range of tailored services designed to meet their unique needs including:

  • Trauma-informed clinical case management
  • Evidence-based individual, group and family psychotherapy
  • Crisis intervention
  • Legal advocacy and more.

“Survivors deserve a safe space where they can share their stories, process their experiences, and find solace among others who understand,” said licensed psychiatrist Dr. Calvin Kelly. “From trauma-informed therapy and counseling to support groups, educational workshops and holistic practices, our offerings encompass a holistic approach to healing the mind, body and spirit, serving as a beacon of wellness for survivors to connect, heal and embark on their path towards recovery with a strong support network by their side.”

The center is staffed by a team of dedicated professionals including therapists, counselors, social workers, and outreach personnel who are passionate about helping survivors regain their strength and rebuild their lives. 

"Individuals, families and communities are safer when they're taken care of. By serving individuals and our community at large, the Harvest Trauma Recovery Center will quickly become an invaluable resource for Austin-Travis County's most vulnerable residents. I can't wait to see how those helped by the HTRC go on to positively impact their communities in the future," said Austin City Council Member Vanessa Fuentes.

In addition to providing individualized care, the HTRC is committed to raising awareness about trauma and its impact on individuals and communities. Through partnerships, outreach events and educational initiatives, the HTRC aims to reduce stigma around trauma and ensure survivors have access to the resources they need to heal and thrive.

“I believe we need to take a public health approach to violence,” said Austin City Council Member Alison Alter. “By tailoring and targeting interventions to help survivors of violent experiences to heal and thrive, the Harvest Trauma Recovery Center will foster resilience in our community.”

Survivors of violent crime can contact the Harvest Trauma Recovery Center by:

  • Phone:  844-428-HTRC (4872)
  • Email:  hello@harvesttrc.org
  • In-person: 6633 E Hwy 290 #300, Austin, TX 78723 (Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 9 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.)

Community Invited to Fiesta de Salud Health Fair Oct. 28


It's an opportunity for everyone, especially our communities disproportionately impacted by chronic disease or illness, to complete important health screenings and stay up to date with vaccines.

AUSTIN, Texas – The City of Austin, Austin Public Health (APH) and the Austin Independent School District (AISD) invite everyone to the FREE Fiesta de Salud Health Fair on Saturday, Oct. 28 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Palm Elementary School (7601 Dixie Drive, Austin, 78744).  

The annual event is meant to inspire our communities to live healthier lives in fun ways. At the health fair, you’ll find live music and entertainment, community resources, health screenings, immunizations for kids and adults and more.  

“A good first step to being healthy is staying up to date on your vaccines and knowing your numbers – blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol,” said Austin Public Health Director Adrienne Sturrup. “This free event can encourage our friends and family to get their shots and screenings to help improve their health, all while enjoying some fun.”  

Last year, 168 participants of all ages got 131 vaccines, 87 eye exams and 59 health screenings. 

Free Health Resources and Family Fun 

Fiesta de Salud is a FREE event to get up to date with vaccines and basic health screenings. Everyone is welcome, regardless of insurance or citizenship status.  

APH teams will be there to give: 

  • vaccines to all who are eligible, including 

  • COVID-19 

  • Influenza (flu)  

  • tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (Tdap) 

  • measles, mumps, rubella (MMR) 

  • Hepatitis A 

  • Hepatitis B 

  • human papillomavirus (HPV) 

  • pneumococcal (PCV20) 

  • shingles  

  • vision screenings and eye tests 

  • blood pressure screenings 

  • A1C (hemoglobin) tests  

  • blood sugar (glucose) screenings (please don’t eat two hours before) 

  • cholesterol screenings (please don’t eat eight hours before)  

  • HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) testing 

The fiesta includes entertainment with traditional cultural performances by Tusuy Sonqo-Peru and The Groovers of Texas Line Dance.  

Come join us for family-friendly fun, including: 

  • bingo 

  • giveaways (including bicycles!) 

  • goody bags  

  • healthy snacks from local vendors  

We’ll also have resources available like Cap Metro bus passes for those who qualify. 

Parking is available on-site. Spanish interpretation services will be available.   

For more information, visit bit.ly/FiestaSalud or call (512) 972-5560.  

We’ll see you there! 

City auditor unveils new online tracking system for audits

 Article from: https://www.austinmonitor.com/stories/2023/10/city-auditor-unveils-new-online-tracking-system-for-audits/


The Office of the City Auditor is advertising a new tool to let any member of the public see how different departments are doing in response to audit findings. That tool is a new online dashboard that tracks recommendations from audits and how departments are carrying out tasks outlined in those recommendations.

Deputy city auditor Jason Hadavi explained the various changes his office has made to its online presence to the City Council Audit and Finance Committee on Wednesday.

Council Member Alison Alter, who chairs the committee, told the Austin Monitor she thinks the new online dashboard “will add transparency and sunlight to the work of the auditor and the audit committee. We’ve already seen that it has facilitated completion of recommendations and we appreciate staff addressing recommendations in a timely manner.”

Hadavi said that auditors have created a new system designed to improve implementation of audit recommendations. On Wednesday, the new online dashboard showed the status of 155 recommendations from 32 audit reports, beginning with audits done in 2019 and continuing through this year so far.

The dashboard provides information on recommendations from recent audits, including the report on the Animal Services Office and Austin Energy’s tree-trimming efforts. However, as Hadavi pointed out, those departments have not reported any efforts to address those findings so far.

Auditors will now also provide semi-annual presentations to the committee in order to increase transparency.

Committee members also heard from Brian Molloy, chief of investigations for the auditor’s office, who outlined the work his investigators have done over the past year. He said they received 316 allegations in Fiscal Year 2023, which is close to average. However, about two-thirds of those were outside the jurisdiction of the auditor’s office, he said. Some of those were referred to other departments, such as Human Resources.

Molloy said the most common allegations relate to abuse, theft and misuse of city property. Over the last year, investigators looked into 11 allegations. Seven of those were substantiated, while the results of three were inconclusive and one was found to be unsubstantiated. He said in the substantiated cases, six resulted in separation of the employee from the department. The seventh case involved a contractor, and that contract was terminated, Molloy said.

The auditor’s office maintains an anonymous online reporting form and an anonymous hotline. He said 55 percent of those who report to the office use an anonymous form.

He noted that 10 percent of allegations over the past year involved Animal Services and another 10 percent related to Austin Energy. Another 8 percent of complaints were about Human Resources, while another 8 percent were about the Parks and Recreation Department. He said that was in line with previous years.

Molloy told the committee his group is currently investigating eight complaints about five different departments.

Austin’s MetroBike program gets $11.3M boost from federal grant

The City of Austin has been awarded $11.3 million in federal grant funding to expand and enhance its popular MetroBike bike share program and transition fully to electric bicycles. The grant was awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation’s (TxDOT) Transportation Alternative Set-Aside (TASA) grant program, which is funded through the Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration.

The City of Austin owns the MetroBike bikes and stations, which are operated and maintained by CapMetro through an interlocal agreement. This grant will enable CapMetro to replace and expand the 81 stations and 800 bicycles focused in downtown Austin, tripling the reach and density of the public bike-share system throughout the urban core north and east to US 183 and south to Ben White Boulevard. Equity goals and a priority to expand system access to more Austinites drove the expansion plans the grant will support.

"Thanks to this grant award from TxDOT, Austin will receive a tremendous boost to active mobility," said Richard Mendoza, interim director of the Austin Transportation and Public Works Department. "As our city grows and grapples with the issues of congestion and climate change, this gives Austinites and visitors more options to travel in a sustainable, environmentally friendly way."

The grant will enable MetroBike’s fleet to fully transition to electric-assist bicycles ("ebikes"). Currently, 43% are ebikes and the remainder are traditional bicycles. Ebikes have an electric motor that gives the user greater power and speed when pedaling. The overall size of the fleet will grow, as will the number of docking stations where the ebikes are checked out, returned and charged.

"Investments in our bike share program will better connect our customers to the larger, more comprehensive web of mobility in Austin," said Dottie Watkins, president and CEO at CapMetro. "The enhancements made possible through this grant will offer greater flexibility and access for riders whether it’s their first or last mile and everything in between."

Since its launch, MetroBike has proven to be an extremely popular mode of transportation in Austin, especially among university students. MetroBike usage has steadily grown since 2019, from less than 5,000 to 12,000 trips per month during the pandemic. As the City added ebikes to the fleet, it has reached nearly 28,000 monthly trips as of April 2023. The service also peaks in popularity during major events, reaching 34,000 in the 2021 ACL Festival; 37,000 during 2022 South by Southwest; and 43,000 at the 2022 ACL Festival. Learn more about Metrobike Austin.

About Austin Transportation and Public Works Department

The Transportation and Public Works Department provides safe, reliable and accessible mobility services for all Austinites. Visit AustinTexas.gov/TPW.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Austin City Council Seeks Hold on Funding for I-35 Express Central Project

The Austin City Council today approved a resolution, authored by Mayor Pro Tem Paige Ellis, seeking a hold on funding for the Texas Department of Transportation’s I-35 Capital Express Central project pending the completion of two regional climate strategy plans.
The Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (CAMPO) is currently developing a Regional Mobile Emission Reduction Plan and the City of Austin – in partnership with CAMPO, the Capital Area Council of Governments, and local municipalities in Travis, Hays, and Bastrop counties – is creating an Austin Metropolitan Statistical Area Climate Plan. Both share the common goal of strategically reducing transportation-related greenhouse gas emissions. The I-35 Central project would ultimately result in emissions increasing as it’s currently proposed.
“I believe TxDOT’s project design should not be finalized until the findings and recommendations from the regional plans can be taken into consideration,” said Mayor Pro Tem Ellis. “While I-35 Central’s groundbreaking is inevitable, Austinites have shown strong support of efforts to reduce car-dependency and slow climate change, and it can’t be stressed enough how important it is to get this multigenerational project right.”
On August 21, TxDOT released its Final Environmental Impact Statement and Record of Decision (FEIS/ROD). Appendix V of the FEIS/ROD document explains climate change is caused by greenhouse gas emissions and acknowledges the I-35 Central project would increase these emissions as a result of doubling the existing lane-miles. While the project proposes adding transit-supportive managed lanes and shared-use paths for active transportation, it does not prioritize these sustainable modes, which Appendix V acknowledges as critical in reducing harmful emissions.
Mayor Pro Tem Ellis thanks her City Council and Mobility Committee colleagues for their support on this effort. Ellis serves as Chair of the Mobility Committee, CAMPO Transportation Policy Board Member, Capital Metro Board Member, Clean Air Force of Central Texas Board Member, and Vice Chair of Capital Area Council of Governments’ Clean Air Coalition.

City Launches Council Voting Record Database

The City of Austin City Clerk's Office recently launched the Council Voting History Page, an online tool that allows the public to access the mayor and council’s voting history.  

Using this online utility, anyone can quickly search and view how each elected official has voted on every council item during council meetings from 2023 forward. Users can filter the voting history by council member, date of meeting, vote cast, agenda item and more. 

Aligning with the City of Austin's goal of transparency, the Office of the City Clerk has prioritized easier public access to this information, reinforcing the trust and relationship council members have created with the communities they represent.  

The Council Voting History Page is also accessible from the City Clerk’s online Council Meeting Information Center and by searching "voting history" on the City of Austin’s open data website. 

Voting records are updated after each meeting’s minutes have been approved.

Reunir: Historia del Día de los Muertos Presented by Oakwood Cemetery

A new exhibition, Reunir: Historia del Día de los Muertos, debuts online with an in-person event and Dia de Los Muertos Ceremony entitled Alma Y Corazón on Thursday, November 2 from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Oakwood Cemetery Chapel, 1601 Navasota St. The event will include music, food, speakers, and a tour of the graves of Tejano ancestors. This exhibit and accompanying events are made possible through a partnership between Austin Parks and Recreation's Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center, Oakwood Cemetery Chapel, Brush Square Museums, and Cemetery Operations. RSVP online for the free event.

Reunir: Historia del Día de los Muertos is a digital history exhibit about the history and traditions of the holiday as celebrated in Austin, Texas, Mexico, and Latin America. This beloved tradition brings family and community together to celebrate the lives of our ancestors, family, friends, pets, and public figures. The Latin American tradition of the Day of the Dead is distinct from other cultural practices of remembrance in welcoming the return of the ancestors to reunite families once a year. 

The Reunir exhibit debut and Alma Y Corazón event precede the 16th annual Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center Day of the Dead festival and MexAmericon on Saturday, November 4 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Pan American Recreation Center, 2100 E 3rd St. where guests can enjoy hands-on children’s activities, art activations, vendors, food trucks, and a collective community altar. For more information please visit AustinTexas.gov/DayoftheDead.

40th Annual Viva La Vida Festival and Parade Happening Oct. 28

Date/Time: Saturday, October 28, 2023 from Noon to 6 p.m.
Parade Starting/Ending Location: Sixth Street, starting at Red River Street, to the festival grounds at Congress Avenue and Fourth Street
Tickets: The event is free and open to the public
Event Website: Viva La Vida Fest - Mexic-Arte Museum
Join the City of Austin and the Mexic-Arte Museum for the 40th annual Viva La Vida Festival and Parade on Saturday, October 28. The event celebrates Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) with a parade and festival in downtown Austin showcasing the history and traditions of this important cultural holiday.
The festivities begin at Noon with a grand procession parade marching down Sixth Street from Red River and ending at the main festival grounds at Fourth Street and Congress Avenue. Expect to see vibrant costumes, dancers, floats and live music throughout the parade route. 

The Viva La Vida street festival also begins at Noon and runs until 6 p.m. Expect to see demonstrations, hands-on art activities, booths featuring local artists and traditional foods, a low-rider exhibition, and live performances throughout the afternoon.
This is the 11th year the City of Austin has proudly co-sponsored Viva La Vida and the ongoing support reflects Austin’s commitment to culture and lifelong learning described in the Strategic Direction 2023 plan.
Transportation and Road Closures Around the Event
Road closures are planned downtown for Viva La Vida, as well as for TX Tailgarten and the Austin Film Festival on October 28. Event attendees are encouraged to carpool or use one of the following transportation options: Ann and Roy Butler hike-and-bike trail (non-motorized vehicles only), CapMetro, bicycling, or dockless devices.

Health and Safety at Viva La Vida
The Austin Police Department, Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County EMS work in partnership to create a safe environment in which everyone can enjoy the parade and festival and encourage attendees to:

  • Remain vigilant and report suspicious activity to 9-1-1
  • Plan for the weather forecast
  • Stay with your group and have a pre-planned meeting location in case of separation
  • Keep your phone fully charged
  • Download the what3words app to pinpoint and share your location.

Austin Public Health recommends attendees get vaccinated, use hand sanitizer, wash hands often and stay home if you feel sick. Find vaccines near you at vaccines.gov (vacunas.gov en Español).

About the Mexic-Arte Museum
Mexic-Arte Museum was founded in 1984 by artists Sylvia Orozco, Sam Coronado, and Pio Pulido in the Arts Warehouse, in downtown Austin, to share the art and culture of Mexico with Texas. As one of the precious few Mexican art museums in the United States, Mexic-Arte Museum strives to improve the quality of life in Texas through innovative exhibitions and educational programming. A total of 75,000 visitors, ranging from enthusiastic children to art connoisseurs, tour the museum each year.

About Austin Center for Events
The Austin Center for Events (ACE) is a collaborative assembly of City of Austin departments and agencies designed to streamline special event permitting on public and private property. ACE is anchored by teams from Austin Public Health, Transportation and Public Works, Parks, Music, Police, Fire, EMS, Austin Resource Recovery, Development Services, and partner agencies, and works closely with event organizers to guide them through the special event permitting process.

City to Host Open House on Land Development Code Nov. 6

Austinites who want to learn more about proposed changes to the City’s Land Development Code (LDC) will have a chance to meet with City staff before the two remaining public hearings.  

The City is hosting an educational open house on Monday, Nov. 6, at the Austin Central Library, 710 W. Cesar Chavez St., from 6 to 8 p.m. Staff will be available to discuss proposed code amendments that would:  

  • Allow up to three housing units, including tiny homes on a single-family zoned property. (Please note, previous communications stated these changes would include regulations for recreational vehicles (RVs). Any changes for RVs will not be considered at this time.)

  • Revise regulations that apply to a property with two housing units; and    

  • Remove restrictions on the number of unrelated adults living in a housing unit.  

The open house will offer residents a chance to learn more about the proposed code amendments before the Planning Commission and City Council take action. Those interested in attending this open house do not need to be present for the entire meeting and can come -and- go during the event as their schedule allows.   

The City of Austin Planning Commission and City Council will host public hearings to take input from Austinites on the proposed changes at Austin City Hall, 301 W. 2nd St., on the following dates:    

  • Thursday, October 26, at 2 p.m. - Joint Planning Commission and City Council Meeting   

  • Tuesday, November 14, at 6 p.m. - Planning Commission Meeting   

  • Thursday, December 7, at 10 a.m. - City Council Meeting  

The proposed code amendments are among a series of updates to the Land Development Code that govern land use regulations in Austin.  Additional information about the proposed amendments along with guidance on how to participate in the upcoming public hearings is available at https://publicinput.com/LDCupdates.   

Spanish interpretation will be available during the open house. For all other languages, please request a language interpreter by calling 3-1-1 no later than five days before the meeting.  

Yêu cầu thông dịch viên bằng cách gọi số 3-1-1 trễ nhất là năm ngày trước buổi họp quý vị muốn tham dự. 

اطلب مترجم لغوي عن طريق الاتصال بالرقم 3-1-1 في موعد لا يتجاوز خمسة أيام قبل الاجتماع الذي ترغب في حضوره. 

참석을 원하시는 회의일 최소 5일 전까지 3-1-1로 전화하여 통역자를 요청하십시오.  

请于您希望参加的会议前提前至少 5 天拨打 3-1-1,请求提供口译人员。 

請不遲於您想要參加的會議開始前的 5 天,致電 3-1-1 請求提供口譯人員。 

သင်တက်ရောက်လိုသည့် အစည်းအဝေးရက် မတိုင်မီ ငါးရက်ထက်နောက်မကျဘဲ 3-1-1 သို့ ဖုန်းခေါ်ဆို၍ ဘာသာစကား စကားပြန်ကို တောင်းဆိုပါ။ 

Sollicitez un interprète en appelant le 3-1-1 au plus tard cinq jours avant la tenue de la  réunion à laquelle vous souhaitez assister. 

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Celebrating Women Veterans Exhibit at Old Bakery & Emporium in Partnership with Austin Veteran Arts Festival

A Battle Lost by Jenn Hassin

The Austin Parks and Recreation Department’s Old Bakery and Emporium in collaboration with Austin Veteran Arts Festival (AVAFest), presents Celebrating Women Veterans exhibit and event on November 4 from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. The event will take place at the Old Bakery & Emporium at 1006 Congress Ave. The event is free and open to the public. RSVP online.
The art exhibit features the work of eight Austin women artists who are military veterans. This special event celebrates the 75th Anniversary of the Women's Armed Forces Integration Act, which allowed women to become permanent, regular members of the US armed forces in 1948. 

  • Moderator: Catherine B. Smith
  • Speakers: U.S. Army Veteran Tracey L. Brown-Greene and Trish Alger of Help Heal Veterans
  • Event Producer and Founder of AVAFest Glenn Towery will speak on the event’s meaning
  • Artists: Jenn Hassin, Anita White, Morgan Belak, Angel D’Angelo, Torrie Rebuck, Lynn Berry, Juanita Gotts, and Patricia Morrison
  • Performances: Music by the Veteran Suicide Prevention Choir & live Poetry by women veterans
  • Food by veteran Irma Gottshalk of iGott Flava Catering

About Speaker Catherine B. Smith
Catherine B. Smith is currently employed by the Texas Veterans Commission (TVC) in their Women Veterans Program.  While with TVC, Ms. Smith worked as a Veterans Employer Liaison creating job opportunities for our Veteran community. She is now a Women Veterans Coordinator assisting our women veterans to gain access to the services and benefits they deserve. Ms. Smith served a little over 5 years in Personnel in the United States Army and Active Army Reserve (Operation Desert Storm Veteran). Ms. Smith received the following awards while in the military: Good Conduct Medal, Army Achievement Medal 1st OLC, Army Commendation Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Sharpshooter Marksmanship Badge Rifle M-16, National Defense Service Medal, and more.

About Speaker Tracey L. Brown-Greene
Tracey L. Brown-Greene rose through the ranks to MSG during her 22-year career in the United States Army. MSG (Ret) Brown-Greene served in combat during Operation New Dawn (Iraq) and Operation Freedom Sentinel (Afghanistan). Her military awards and decorations include the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, and several others commensurate with her distinguished career. Brown-Greene sustained wounds in Afghanistan in 2017 when a suicide bomber attacked. Her final assignment was at Fort Hood, Texas where she served as the 1st Calvary Sustainment Brigade as a Logistics manager. Brown-Greene graduated from American Military University with a Bachelor of Arts in Management and holds a Master of Arts in Management and Leadership from Liberty University.

About Trish Alger
Trish Alger is the Lead Craft Care Specialist for the Cahill Center of Help Heal Veterans, an organization that supports the military community with our therapeutic craft kits and clinics. Help Heal Veterans offers camaraderie, resources, and joy at our Community-Based Clinic. Trish is a mixed-media artist, writer, and a lover of all things crafty.

Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation Project Update, October 2023

This is a community newsletter that will be distributed monthly throughout the course of the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation construction to provide information and updates on the progress of the project. Pending successful contract negotiation and execution, the construction work is anticipated to start in early 2024 and is expected to continue for approximately 14 months until the spring of 2025. 

Please join us for a Question & Answer Pop-Up meeting for an opportunity to learn about the project, ask questions, and discuss the project with staff.

Barton Springs Bathhouse Question & Answer Pop-Up Meeting

When: Tuesday, October 24, 2023

             7:30 AM - 8:30 AM and 5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Where: Barton Springs Bathhouse

             2131 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78746


The Barton Springs Bathhouse was constructed in 1947 after the previous structure was damaged during a flood. The original design included a mechanized basket system to hold swimmers’ clothes and belongings that was removed around 1968 after another flood damaged the system. At about this time the primary entrance was moved from the rotunda to the southeast corner of the building as it is currently. 

In 1998 the Beverly Sheffield Educational Center and the Splash! aquifer exhibits were added within the original basket area. The mission of Sheffield Education Center and Splash! into the Edwards Aquifer Exhibit is to foster stewardship of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer through education. The Barton Springs area is covered under Federal, State, and City historic designations of which the Bathhouse is a primary architectural feature. After 75 years of service, many of the internal features of the facility have deteriorated and need major repair.


The goal of this project is to rehabilitate the existing Bathhouse to provide a high-quality facility for Barton Springs visitors for the next 75 years while maintaining the historic integrity and meeting program needs and current building code requirements. The project includes improvements to the plumbing, electrical, climate control system, roof, and structure plus new entrances and exits at the rotunda and the west side of the building. Improvements will be made to the parking lot adjacent to the Bathhouse to reduce impervious paving, to update accessible parking, and to provide accessible circulation on site. 

The project is currently projected to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification. Some of the sustainable building features include natural daylighting, energy smart lighting and climate control, water saving fixtures, and healthy indoor air quality. The professional design consultant team is led by Limbacher & Godfrey Architects. 

As a part of the Bathhouse Rehabilitation project, the Sheffield Education Center and Splash! exhibit is being redesigned and updated. Visitors will be able to learn about the importance of protecting the watershed and aquifer, preserving the salamander habitat, and how they can play a role. The main entrance to Barton Springs pool will move back to the central rotunda near the original entry, creating an opportunity for swimmers to visit the exhibit space as they enter or exit the pool. 


Current Project Phase: Construction Bidding & Negotiation Phase

A contractor is currently being evaluated through a competitive bidding process, and a recommendation to Council is anticipated on November 9, 2023.

The site plan and building permits for the project are in the final stages of review.

The Austin Historic Landmark Commission and the Texas Historical Commission have approved the plans for restoration and rehabilitation work on the Bathhouse which has local, state, and national historic designations.

An amendment to the SOS Ordinance passed Council on September 21, 2023 after being presented to the Parks and Recreation Board, the Codes and Ordinances Joint Committee, the Environmental Commission, and the Planning Commission. An amendment was necessary because of sitework involving improvements to the sidewalk, parking lot, and fire lane. This resulted in a net reduction to the amount of impervious cover, and a new water quality feature is being built to further improve environmental conditions.

Art in Public Places (AIPP) artist Lys Santamaria was selected and is currently working on artwork to be incorporated into the Bathhouse. For more information about the project, please see the AIPP website.

Austin Energy (AE) installed a new transformer for the project in May 2023. This provides for the power needs of the project as well as allowing for more energy-efficient climate control and lighting systems.



Frequently Asked questions:

Q: How long will the bathhouse be under construction?

A:  Construction will take about 14 months with a scheduled start in early 2024 with substantial completion anticipated in spring of 2025. As with any construction project, schedules may change as the work progresses.

Q: Will Barton Springs pool be open during the construction on the Bathhouse?

A:  Barton Springs pool will follow the regular schedule and remain open to swimmers during the Bathhouse Rehabilitation. 

Q: How will swimmers enter Barton Springs Pool during construction on the Bathhouse?

A: A temporary pool entrance will be provided on the north side near the Bathhouse.

The south pool entry will remain unchanged.

Q: Will swimmers be able to use the Bathhouse during the rehabilitation project?

A:  The bathhouse will be closed during construction. Temporary restroom and shower facilities will be provided next to the Bathhouse while it is under construction.

Q:  Will swimmers be able to park in the lot in front of the Bathhouse during construction?

A:  Public parking will not be available except for ADA/TAS accessible parking west of the Zilker Hillside Theater.  One-way through traffic on William Barton Drive will be limited to emergency vehicles, construction deliveries, and vehicles needing accessible parking.  

Q: Why won’t the public be able to use the parking lot during construction?

A: There will be extensive work in and on the parking lot to add ADA/TAS accessible parking, upgrade the plumbing lines, reduce impervious paving,  restripe parking spaces, and provide staging areas for construction deliveries and storage of building materials.

Q:  Will the lifeguards have a manager’s office and a breakroom during construction?

A: Temporary facilities will be provided for lifeguards on either end of the Bathhouse.

Q:  Will the Violet Crown Trailhead Restrooms (west of the Zilker Hillside Theater) remain open?

A:  Yes.

Q: Will the playground east of the bathhouse remain open?

A:  Yes.

For information on the bathhouse project, visit the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation webpage or subscribe to the Barton Springs Bathhouse Project Update Newsletter.


Riley Triggs, AIA

Project Manager

Capital Delivery Services Department


(512) 974-7747


Actualización del proyecto de rehabilitación de la casa de baños Barton Springs

Octubre de 2023

Este es un boletín comunitario que se distribuirá mensualmente durante el transcurso de la construcción de la rehabilitación de la casa de baños Barton Springs para brindar información sobre el progreso del proyecto. A la espera de la negociación y ejecución exitosa del contrato, se prevé que el trabajo de construcción comience a principios de 2024 y se espera que continúe durante aproximadamente 14 meses hasta la primavera de 2025.

 Únase a nosotros en una reunión de preguntas y respuestas para tener la oportunidad de conocer el proyecto, hacer preguntas y discutir el proyecto con el personal.

 Reunión de preguntas y respuestas sobre rehabilitación de la casa de baños de Barton Springs

Cuándo: martes 24 de octubre de 2023

              7:30 a. m. – 8:30 a. m. y 5:30 p. m. – 6:30 p. m.

Dónde: Casa de baños de Barton Springs

              2131 Barton Springs Rd, Austin, TX 78746


La casa de baños Barton Springs se construyó en 1947 después de que la estructura anterior resultara dañada durante una inundación. El diseño original incluía un sistema de cestas mecanizado para guardar la ropa y las pertenencias de los nadadores, que se retiró alrededor de 1968 después de que otra inundación dañara el sistema. Aproximadamente en ese entonces, la entrada principal se trasladó desde la rotonda a la esquina sureste del edificio como está actualmente.

En 1998, el Centro Educativo Beverly Sheffield y la exposición Splash! acerca del acuífero se agregaron al área original de las cestas. La misión del Centro Educativo Sheffield y la exposición Splash! into the Edwards Aquifer es fomentar la administración de Barton Springs y el acuífero Edwards a través de la educación. El área de Barton Springs está cubierta por designaciones históricas federales, estatales y municipales, de las cuales la casa de baños es una característica arquitectónica principal. Después de 75 años de servicio, muchas de las características internas del edificio se han deteriorado y necesitan reparaciones importantes.


El objetivo de este proyecto es rehabilitar la casa de baños existente para proporcionar un complejo de alta calidad para los visitantes de Barton Springs durante los próximos 75 años, manteniendo al mismo tiempo la integridad histórica y satisfaciendo las necesidades del programa y los requisitos actuales del código de construcción. El proyecto incluye mejoras en la plomería, la electricidad, el sistema de control climático, el techo y la estructura, además de nuevas entradas y salidas en la rotonda y el lado oeste del edificio. Se realizarán mejoras en el estacionamiento adyacente a la casa de baños para reducir el pavimento impermeable, modernizar el estacionamiento accesible y proporcionar circulación accesible en el sitio.

Actualmente se prevé que el proyecto obtenga la certificación LEED Gold (Liderazgo en Energía y Diseño Ambiental). Algunas de las características del edificio sostenible incluyen iluminación natural, iluminación y control climático energéticamente inteligentes, accesorios que ahorran agua y una calidad saludable del aire interior. El equipo de consultores de diseño profesional está dirigido por Limbacher & Godfrey Architects.

Como parte del proyecto de rehabilitación de la casa de baños, se está rediseñando y modernizando el Centro Educativo de Sheffield y el área de exhibiciones Splash!. Los visitantes podrán aprender sobre la importancia de proteger la cuenca y el acuífero, preservar el hábitat de la salamandra y contribuir con su preservación. La entrada principal a la piscina de Barton Springs se trasladará de nuevo a la rotonda central cerca de la entrada original, creando una oportunidad para que los nadadores visiten el espacio de la exposición al entrar o salir de la piscina.


Fase actual del proyecto: Fase de licitación y negociación de la construcción

Actualmente, se está evaluando a un contratista a través de un proceso de licitación, y se prevé que se hará una recomendación al Concejo el 9 de noviembre de.2023

El plano del sitio y los permisos de construcción para el proyecto se encuentran en las etapas finales de revisión.

La Comisión de Monumentos Históricos de Austin y la Comisión Histórica de Texas han aprobado los planes para las obras de restauración y rehabilitación de la casa de baños, que tiene designaciones históricas locales, estatales y nacionales.

El 21 de septiembre de 2023, el Concejo aprobó una enmienda a la Ordenanza SOS después de presentarla a la Junta de Parques y Recreación, el Comité Conjunto de Códigos y Ordenanzas, la Comisión de Medio Ambiente y la Comisión de Planificación. Era necesaria una enmienda debido a las obras que implicaban mejoras en la acera, el estacionamiento y el carril de emergencias. Esto resultó en una reducción neta de la cantidad de cobertura impermeable y se está construyendo un nuevo sistema para la calidad del agua a fin de mejorar aún más las condiciones ambientales.

La artista de Arte en Lugares Públicos (AIPP, por sus siglas en inglés), Lys Santamaría, fue seleccionada y actualmente está trabajando en obras de arte que se incorporarán a la casa de baños. Para obtener más información sobre el proyecto, consulte el sitio web de AIPP.

Austin Energy (AE) instaló un nuevo transformador para el proyecto en mayo de 2023. Esta instalación satisface las necesidades energéticas del proyecto, además de brindar sistemas de climatización e iluminación más eficientes desde el punto de vista energético.


Preguntas frecuentes:

P: ¿Cuánto tiempo estará en construcción la casa de baños?

R: La construcción durará unos 14 meses, con un inicio previsto para principios de 2024 y una finalización sustancial prevista para la primavera de 2025. Al igual que con cualquier proyecto de construcción, los cronogramas pueden cambiar a medida que avanzan las obras.

P: ¿Estará abierta la piscina de Barton Springs durante la construcción de la casa de baños?

R: La piscina de Barton Springs seguirá el horario regular y permanecerá abierta a los nadadores durante la rehabilitación de la casa de baños. 

P: ¿Cómo ingresarán los nadadores a la piscina de Barton Springs durante la construcción de la casa de baños?

R: Se proporcionará una entrada temporal a la piscina en el lado norte cerca de la casa de baños.

La entrada sur de la piscina permanecerá sin cambios.

P: ¿Podrán los nadadores utilizar la casa de baños durante el proyecto de rehabilitación?

R: La casa de baños permanecerá cerrada durante la construcción. Se proporcionarán baños y duchas temporales junto a la casa de baños mientras está en construcción.

P: ¿Podrán los nadadores estacionarse en el lote frente a la casa de baños durante la construcción?

R: El estacionamiento público no estará disponible, excepto el estacionamiento con instalaciones accesibles conforme a la ley ADA/TAS al oeste del teatro Zilker Hillside. El tráfico de un solo sentido en William Barton Drive se limitará a vehículos de emergencia, entregas de materiales de construcción y vehículos que necesiten estacionamiento accesible.

P: ¿Por qué el público no podrá usar el estacionamiento durante la construcción?

R: Se realizarán obras importantes en el estacionamiento para agregar instalaciones accesibles conforme la ley ADA/TAS con el fin de mejorar las líneas de plomería, reducir el pavimento impermeable, volver a trazar los espacios de estacionamiento y proporcionar áreas de preparación para entregas de construcción y almacenamiento de materiales de construcción.

P: ¿Tendrán los salvavidas una oficina del gerente y una sala de descanso durante la construcción?

R: Se proporcionarán instalaciones temporales para los salvavidas en ambos extremos de la casa de baños.

P: ¿Permanecerán abiertos los baños de Violet Crown Trailhead (al oeste del teatro Zilker Hillside)?

R: Sí.

P: ¿Permanecerá abierta el área de juegos al este de la casa de baños?

R: Sí.

Para obtener información sobre el proyecto de la casa de baños, visite la página web de rehabilitación de la casa de baños Barton Springs.

Información de contacto:

Riley Triggs, AIA

Gerente de Proyecto/Project Manager

Departamento de Obras Públicas/Capital Delivery Services Department


(512) 974-7747