Saturday, February 17, 2024

City of Austin Activates Cold Weather Shelters on Saturday, Feb. 17  

 


Finding the status of shelters by calling 512-972-5055
 

AUSTIN, Texas - The City of Austin is opening overnight cold weather shelters on Saturday, Feb. 17. Registration for shelter will occur between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at One Texas Center (OTC), 505 Barton Springs Road, which will act as the central embarkation point for individuals seeking an overnight shelter.   

The City shared its plans to community partners who work directly with Austin’s unsheltered population and texted information directly to unsheltered individuals who are registered with the City’s recently launched text alert system.   

The Homeless Strategy Office determines when to activate cold weather shelters no later than 9 a.m. each day using National Weather Service (NWS) projections for the Camp Mabry Location. These projections may be accessed via the NWS website and entering the 78703 zip: 
7-Day Forecast 30.27N 97.74W (weather.gov). The Homeless Strategy Office activates cold weather shelters if the forecast is predicted to be 32 degrees or colder overnight, 35 degrees or colder overnight with precipitation, or 35 degrees or colder overnight with wind chill of 32 or colder.   
 

How to Access a Cold Weather Shelter    

Registration for shelter occurs between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. at One Texas Center (OTC), 505 Barton Springs Road. Bus routes to OTC are lines: 1, 7, 10, 20, 30, 105, 142, 801. Anyone seeking a cold weather shelter and does not have the means to pay the fare will still be given a ride. CapMetro partners with the City to transport individuals from OTC to a shelter location. 

While Cold Weather Shelters are primarily accessed by people experiencing homelessness, they are available to anyone needing a warm place to spend the night. Individuals can get information about access and activation by calling the Cold Weather Shelter Hotline - 512-972-5055. 

Guidance for Cold Weather Shelter guests is available here.    

Since shelters are largely used by individuals experiencing homelessness, the City does not list the locations for a variety of reasons, including managing capacity limits and privacy concerns. However, the City is publicizing the location of the embarkation point, which is the OTC at 505 Barton Springs Road.    

Residents are encouraged to follow austintexas.gov/alertsfor emergency information updated in multiple languages.

Thursday, February 15, 2024

Austin City Council Passes Resolution to Support and Sustain Live Music Events

Today, the Austin City Council unanimously passed a resolution directing city staff to solidify an equitable co-sponsorship process and investigate opportunities to support and sustain live music community events. Recognizing the integral role of such events in Austin's cultural identity and economic vitality, the resolution underscores the city's commitment to maintaining its memorable music scene.

The resolution, which builds upon Austin's reputation as the 'Live Music Capital of the World,' emphasizes the importance of diverse, open-to-the-public community events. It acknowledges the challenges faced by event organizers and stakeholders while emphasizing the significance of collaboration across all parties in the live music ecosystem.

After the resolution passed, one of the sponsors, Council Member Harper-Madison, emphasized, “This is not the finish line by any means, this is just the beginning, and we look forward to continuing conversations across our music and arts space. Our vision is that the future generations of Austinites will get to experience live music events and traditions that are the fabric of our 'uniquely Austin' quality of life.”

This resolution reaffirms the City of Austin's commitment to fostering a thriving and inclusive live music ecosystem that benefits residents, visitors, and local businesses alike.

City of Austin Presidents Day Closures

City offices and some facilities will be closed Monday, Feb. 19    

City of Austin administrative offices and other municipal facilities will be closed Monday, Feb. 19, in observance of Presidents Day. Normal business hours will resume Tuesday, Feb. 20.

Parks and Recreation
Most Austin Parks and Recreation facilities will be closed for Presidents Day. However, City parks, golf courses, cemeteries, and some pools will be open. Facility hours vary by location so please call ahead or visit AustinTexas.gov/Parks for details. Information on closures is available at AustinTexas.gov/ParkClosures.

Austin Resource Recovery
Trash, Recycling, Composting and Facility Schedules 

Curbside collections will follow regular schedules and will not be affected by the President's Day holiday. Customers can check their collection schedule any time in the Austin Recycles app or at austintexas.gov/myschedule. The Recycle and Reuse Drop-off Center and administrative offices will be closed on Monday, Feb. 19 but Austin Water’s Hornsby Bend Biosolids Management Plant will be open regular hours for yard trimmings and large brush drop off. 

Austin Public Health
Environmental Health Services at the Rutherford Lane Campus, Office of Vital Records, all WIC and Shots for Tots clinics, and Neighbor Centers will be closed Monday, Feb. 19.

COVID-19 test is available at private and non-profit sites throughout Austin, including pharmacies, hospitals and urgent care centers. Those who have private insurance can contact their doctor’s office or insurer for assessment and testing options. Additional resources:  
•    Department of Health and Human Services community-based testing portal  
•    COVID.gov testing resources 

Visit Vaccines.gov (Vacunas.gov in Spanish) to find flu and COVID-19 vaccine providers near you. 

Austin Energy
The City of Austin Utilities Customer Care Call Center and City of Austin Utility Customer Service Centers will be closed on Presidents Day. Customers can make utility payments at coautilities.com or by calling 1-833-375-4919 for a Quick Payment. 
Additional payment options include: 

•    Paying at authorized locations, including most Austin H-E-B, Fiesta Mart, Randalls and Walmart stores 

•    Mailing money order or check to P.O. BOX 2267, Austin, TX 78783-2267 or using a drop box location  

•    Payment drop boxes are located at the North and South Utility Customer Service Centers, 625 East 10th Street and 505 Barton Springs Rd. Expect 3-5 business days for drop-off payments to process. The payment drop box at the East Branch inside Rosewood-Zaragosa is NOT available at this time. 

Downtown Austin Community Court

•    The Downtown Austin Community Court's Violet KeepSafe Storage program (VKS), Homeless Services, Court Services, and Community Services will be closed on Monday, Feb. 19. The following day, all services will reopen at their regular time: VKS at 7 a.m., Community Services at 7:30 a.m., and Homeless Services & Court Services at 8 a.m.

Austin Public Library Schedule
Austin Public Library, Recycled Reads Bookstore, and the Austin History Center branches will be closed both Sunday, Feb. 18 and Monday, Feb. 19. Resources that are available remotely can be accessed at the Austin Public Library website: library.austintexas.gov.

Austin Animal Center Schedule
The Austin Animal Center will close for Presidents Day, reopening on Tuesday.

For questions about City services or information call 3-1-1 or 512-974-2000. Residents can also submit service requests from the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app.



Wednesday, February 14, 2024

Thomas Dambo to Share Vision and Story of the Pease Park Troll

Two upcoming events in Pease Park will feature Thomas Dambo, the world-leading recycle artist and creator of the Pease Park troll. 

Thomas Dambo Troll Media Day
Friday, March 1, 2024
9:00 a.m. - 11:00 a.m.
Kingsbury Commons at Pease Park
1100 Kingsbury Street
Hear from Thomas Dambo about his vision for his art around the world and in Pease Park as the Pease Park troll build begins.
Day-of-event contact: Allison Johnson, 512-914-2451

Pease Park Troll Introduction and Celebration
Friday, March 15, 2024
3:00 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Kingsbury Commons at Pease Park
1100 Kingsbury Street
Join Thomas Dambo as he introduces the Pease Park troll to the Austin community. He will share the story of the Austin troll as we celebrate the completion of the build with food, nonalcoholic beverages, and music.
Day-of-event contact: Jordan Fuhrer, 703-798-7903

Parking options include:
  • Parking lot at the Austin Recreation Center, 1301 Shoal Creek Blvd.
  • Small parking lot in front of the south end of Pease Park at 1100 Kingsbury Street
  • Street parking on Parkway, North of 15th Street
Upon arrival at the park, follow the eastern trail north through Kingsbury Commons (about ¼ mile) until you see the event set-up. 

Find frequently asked questions about Austin’s Thomas Dambo troll  at peasepark.org/news/trollfaq. Pease Park Conservancy can be reached at info@peasepark.org.

About Pease Park and Pease Park Conservancy
Pease Park Conservancy was formed in 2008 and celebrates the diverse ecology and history that make Austin’s first public park valuable and unique. In partnership with the Austin Parks and Recreation Department, the Conservancy works to restore, enhance, and maintain this 84-acre public green space for the sustainable use and enjoyment of all. Unfolding across 84 acres and owned by the City of Austin, Pease Park is a series of connected green spaces running along Lamar Blvd from 15th to 31st Streets.

Tuesday, February 13, 2024

City of Austin Making Significant Progress in Building Pathways to Exit Homelessness

 

Update presented to City Council highlights partnership between Homeless Strategy Office and Housing Department to create a continuum of support. 

City of Austin’s Homeless Strategy Office and the Housing Department presented an update on the expansion of City emergency shelter capacity as well as progress made toward new permanent supportive housing projects at Tuesday’s City Council work session.  

“We are moving full steam ahead in partnership together to build our entire system infrastructure,” said David Gray, Homeless Strategy Officer. “The fact of the matter is we don’t have the luxury of choosing if we want to go all in on more shelters or more housing – we need both. And I’m really proud of the fact that we’re making strides in closing the gaps in our system.” 

According to Gray, 3,324 clients used shelter services in Fiscal Year 2023 – a record-breaking number. The presentation also revealed that Austin is outperforming every other U.S. city in the percentage of clients successfully exiting shelters, with 60% leaving for rapid rehousing, permanent supportive housing, reunification with family members or other positive resolutions. 

While currently only 3% are leaving shelters for permanent supportive housing, City leaders anticipate that number will eventually increase with new units expected to be available soon and more in the pipeline. Permanent supportive housing includes not just a home but wrap-around services including access to mental health care and case management. The number of permanent supportive housing units is expected to grow by 630% between now and 2026 with more than 1,000 new units. 

“Austin’s homeless response system outperforms the national average for major cities, and we expect a 300% growth in permanent supportive housing this calendar year,” said James May, the City’s Housing and Community Development Officer. “And that number should continue to go up as we approve more loans and more financing for additional developments over the next several years through 2026.” 

The City’s Homeless Strategy Office and Housing Department’s next steps towards building pathways to exit homelessness include:  

  • Transitioning day-to-day site operations of BRIDGE shelters in March. 
  • Exploring additional shelter opportunities to close gaps.  
  • Releasing solicitation for landlord incentives in Spring/Summer 2024.  
  • Providing ongoing support for Permanent Supportive Housing and Continuum of Care developments through Rental Housing Development Assistance. 
  • Monitoring Local Housing Voucher program for improvements. 
  • Identifying new partnerships for Permanent Supportive Housing developments, such as Espero Rutland

Interim City Manager Jesús Garza said the cross-departmental collaboration is emblematic of how government should work to solve society’s most challenging issues.  

“This is a great example of what it means to be 'City first' when it comes to addressing critical needs within our community,” Garza said. “And I think that’s the kind of collaboration that we need to be doing in this organization to continue to succeed.” 

To learn more about resources for those experiencing homelessness in Austin, please visit www.austintexas.gov/homelessness.

Office of Police Oversight Hosts Working Group Meeting

 

Community members' input requested for Police Oversight Implementation Working Group meetings

 
Austin, Texas- The Office of Police Oversight (OPO) will host the second quarterly Police Oversight Implementation Workgroup meeting on February 22, 2024, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. 

OPO invites community members to attend this meeting to offer input on future meetings as well as receive the most recent complaints data from OPO.  

The meeting is open to the public and will be hosted at the Asian American Resource Center (8401 Cameron Rd). 

Registration information:   

Register to participate here.

Accessibility and Accommodation Information: 

The event will be presented in both English and Spanish, as well as American Sign Language (ASL). Additional interpretation services and accessibility accommodations are available upon request. 

If you have any questions or concerns, please email OPO.Outreach@AustinTexas.gov or call (512) 974-9090.

--------------------------------------------------

La Oficina de Fiscalización de la Policía (OPO, por sus siglas en inglés) realizará la segunda reunión trimestral del Grupo de Trabajo de Implementación de Fiscalización de la Policía el 22 de febrero de 2024 de 6:30 p.m. a 7:30 p.m. 

La OPO invita a los miembros de la comunidad a asistir a esta reunión para ofrecer sus comentarios sobre futuras reuniones, así como para recibir los datos más recientes de quejas de la OPO.  

La reunión está abierta al público y se realizará en el Centro de Recursos Asiáticoamericanos (8401 Cameron Rd). 

Información sobre la inscripción:   

Inscríbase para participar aquí.

Información sobre accesibilidad y adaptaciones: 

El evento será presentado en inglés y en español, así como en lengua de señas americana (ASL). Se ofrecerán servicios de interpretación y adaptaciones de accesibilidad adicionales a solicitud. 

Si tiene alguna pregunta o inquietud, por favor escríbanos a OPO.Outreach@AustinTexas.gov o llámenos al (512) 974-9090.

 

About the Office of Police Oversight  

The mission of the Office of Police Oversight (OPO) is to provide impartial oversight of the Austin Police Department's conduct, practices, and policies to enhance accountability, inform the public to increase transparency, and create sustainable partnerships throughout the community. 

City's Housing Department Seeks Input for Federally Funded Programming for 5-year Consolidated Plan

The City of Austin Housing Department invites community members to help guide a new five-year plan to invest housing and community development dollars where they are needed most. As required by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), a community needs assessment is conducted each year to ensure that federal funding meets the needs of Austin’s low and moderate-income residents.  

In FY 2023-2024, the City received approximately $14 million in HUD annual grants to support programs for affordable housing, community development, economic development, and public services. This year, the Housing Department will expand the community needs assessment so that programming funded by local dollars can also benefit from the community’s feedback. The expanded process to collect feedback on community needs to guide the next five years of funding begins on February 5 and runs through March 15. The public can participate online at www.SpeakUpAustin.com/MyCommunityNeeds. Input may be submitted until 5 p.m. on Friday, March 15. The City will gather feedback and submit the consolidated plan to HUD in August 2024.  

Additional Ways to Give Input

Please include a name, address, and phone number when submitting comments:  

  • Mail to: Housing Department Attn: FY 2024-2029 Consolidated Plan P.O. Box 1088 Austin, Texas 78767. Visit your local library to pick up a paper copy of the survey.  
  • Email: Housing@austintexas.gov  
  • Phone: Call the Housing Department at 512-974-3155
  • Text: To receive the survey questions on your mobile device, text MyCommunity to 73224

Participate in public hearings, either in-person or remotely, at the following meetings:

  • 10:00 AM Thursday, March 7, 2024: Austin City Council
  • 6:30 PM Tuesday, March 12, 2024: Community Development Commission  

Comments can be made in person or remotely at both meetings. Review instructions for participating in public comment: www.SpeakUpAustin.com/MyCommunityNeeds. The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request. For assistance, please call (512) 974-2210 OR (512) 974-2445 TDD

HUD Funding Background

The City of Austin receives federal funding through four grants administered by HUD: Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), HOME Investment Partnership Program, Emergency Solutions Grant (ESG), and Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS (HOPWA). The 5-Year Consolidated Plan allocates federal resources to housing and community development and serves as an application for funding through these four grants. Programs are funded across several City departments including renter help, homebuyer and homeowner assistance, mental health support, childcare, senior services, housing and community development support, and homelessness assistance.

An annual Action Plan is developed each year to guide the implementation of those dollars received through the four HUD grants. As a wrap-up to each year, a Consolidated Annual Performance and Evaluation Report (CAPER) evaluates the performance and activity of federally funded programming. Community feedback on these guiding plans occurs annually through the Action Plan and CAPER to help shape programs that meet community needs. This year, 2024, kicks off the next five years of the Consolidated Plan framework.

To learn more about how these dollars have been invested in the past and the factors that drive funding decisions, visit www.SpeakUpAustin.com/MyCommunityNeeds

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

Austin Water’s Wildland Conservation division plans to conduct a prescribed burn on approximately 280 acres of the Water Quality Protection Lands in a series of operations over the course of Tuesday, February 13, and Wednesday, February 14.

Smoke may be visible south State Highway 45 and MoPac, east of FM1826, west of Brodie Lane, and northwest of FM 1626 from 10am to sunset on both days.



The Water Quality Protection Lands (WQPL) program manages more than 30,000 acres to benefit the quality and quantity of water recharging the Edwards Aquifer, which provides water to both Barton Springs and to groundwater wells in Hays and Travis Counties. Austin Water Wildland Conservation Division manages the lands.

“Conducting prescribed burns is one of the strategies used to manage these lands and protect groundwater in Central Texas,” said Matt Lore, Austin Water Wildland Conservation Division. “Prescribed burns improve the resiliency of our land when they are used as a planned seasonal management tool.”

Prescribed burns mimic the natural fire cycle in a way that can be planned and organized to limit fire intensity and can serve both natural landscapes and human communities by reducing the potential for destructive wildfires. Prescribed fire reduces brush and promotes grasslands which provide the optimal quality and quantity of water to recharge the aquifer. Wildland Conservation staff has seen wildflowers and native grass communities experience greater biodiversity after prescribed fires. Grassland birds like quail and northern harrier hawks benefit from open habitat, found after a fire, for nesting and feeding.

A team of highly trained professionals comprised of Austin Water staff, city and county fire departments, and federal, state and local land management agencies ensures that safety is their primary objective. Partnerships with agencies such as the US Fish and Wildlife Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Wildflower Center, the Texas Forest Service, and Travis County Natural Resources as well as coordination with the Austin Fire Department, neighboring fire departments and emergency service districts all contribute to Austin Water’s successful prescribed burn program.

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

Areas identified for management with prescribed fire are divided into “burn units,” which allow the crew to adjust based on factors such as humidity and wind which are monitored throughout the operation. These burn units may be further divided into even smaller areas to increase flexibility for the burn crew. By committing staff and resources to one portion of the unit at a time, the prescribed burn is accomplished safely through a series of smaller efforts, with each effort building on the success of the previous. Smoke in the sky is part of prescribed fire, but these smaller units can help crews to manage smoke by reducing the volume of material consumed at one time.

Austin Water will notify the public and neighbors before each prescribed burn event. Notifications will include maps with the specific location. Neighbors or anyone interested, can sign up to receive notifications by email at this link.

Follow regular updates about prescribed burns at: www.facebook.com/AustinWater and www.twitter.com/AustinWater

For more information, please visit www.austintexas.gov/rxfire.

Monday, February 12, 2024

Community Kickoff Event for Equity-Based Preservation Plan

The City of Austin invites the community to a dynamic kickoff event on Tuesday, Feb. 13, for the Equity-Based Preservation Plan at historic Huston-Tillotson University. Community leaders will give lightning talks highlighting Austin’s rich history, cultural heritage, displacement prevention, sustainability, and why historic preservation matters today.
 
The kickoff will celebrate the Feb. 6 launch of the City of Austin’s draft Equity-Based Preservation Plan. The plan aims to help us learn from our past to help shape an inclusive future for residents and visitors alike, and the City wants to hear from as many Austinites as possible to make sure it reflects community priorities.
 
WHO: Linda Y. Jackson, Huston-Tillotson University; Ben Heimsath, Historic Landmark Commission; Robbie Anderson, LGBTQIA+ Alliance – AIA Austin; Catalina Berry, East Austin Conservancy; Ashley Besic, Building Decarbonization Coalition; Noel and Will Bridges, owners of multiple iconic legacy businesses; Alan Garcia, ATX Barrio Archive; Hanna Huang, Austin Asian American Film Festival; Ayshea Khan, City of Austin Equity Office; and Marla Torrado, City of Austin Displacement Prevention Division.

WHEN: Tuesday, February 13, 6:30 p.m.

WHERE: King-Seabrook Chapel, Huston-Tillotson University, 900 Chicon Street, Austin, TX, 78702

Saturday, February 10, 2024

City of Austin seeks community input on the next City Manager

The City of Austin is recruiting for its next City Manager. This position is appointed by, and reports to, the Austin City Council, and members are seeking valuable input from the community to help guide their selection.
 
Austinites are asked to help shape the future of their city by participating in this short, three-question, anonymous survey in English or Spanish which closes on Friday, Feb. 16th.
 
The survey allows the public to share their preferences regarding Austin’s next City Manager’s priorities and characteristics. It also includes a space to provide additional open-ended recommendations.

Wednesday, February 7, 2024

Draft Equity-Based Preservation Plan Released for Community Review

The City of Austin’s Planning Department is asking for the community’s feedback on the newly released draft Equity-Based Preservation Plan. Built on an inclusive, equity-focused, and community-oriented framework, the draft plan recommends policies, programs, and tools that meet historic preservation goals aimed at making Austin a better city for residents and visitors alike. When adopted, the plan will replace the City’s current preservation plan that has been in place since 1981.

The draft plan explores how historic preservation can unlock a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable future for everyone. More than 100 recommendations support 14 goals ranging from recognizing cultural heritage to stabilizing communities to supporting stewardship of community assets. Draft recommendations take a proactive and strategic approach, recommending more community engagement and up-front information-gathering. They propose a range of incentives and tools to ensure that preservation equitably benefits people across the city. And they consider how to better tell Austin’s full, complex story while maintaining a high bar for historic designation.

“This new and improved Equity-Based Preservation Plan will carry us into the future by providing us fresh tools to take a more comprehensive approach to honoring and acknowledging Austin’s rich and complicated past,” said Planning Department Director Lauren Middleton-Pratt. “The draft is built on the vital input of a diverse group of Austinites, and our ongoing community engagement is aimed to ensure the final product will reflect the values, history, and heritage of our entire city.”

 The planning process was initiated by the Historic Landmark Commission. To develop the draft plan, the Commission appointed a diverse 26-member Preservation Plan Working Group comprised of historic preservation professionals, stakeholders from allied fields, and community representatives.

“The process was thorough and intentional,” said Linda Y. Jackson, the Vice President for Institutional Advancement at Huston-Tillotson University and a working group member. “I learned a lot from the participants and appreciated the opportunity to hear different views.”

 Research into best practices from across the nation informed the working group as it drafted the plan. The working group also received feedback from three community focus groups, consulted with City staff from 12 departments, and conducted a community heritage survey in fall 2021. A Technical Assistance Panel organized by the Urban Land Institute provided recommendations on affordability and displacement prevention through the lens of older housing. In total, more than 300 people helped shape the draft.

Austinites are encouraged to explore the plan online at www.PublicInput.com/ATXpresplan or review a printed version at any branch of the Austin Public Library or the Planning Department (1000 E. 11th Street). Community review of the draft will be open through May 31, 2024. 

 A community kickoff event will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 13, at 6:30 p.m. at Huston-Tillotson University’s King-Seabrook Chapel. In dynamic lightning talks, community leaders will highlight Austin’s rich history, cultural heritage, displacement prevention, sustainability, and why historic preservation matters today. All are welcome.

“The draft Equity-Based Preservation Plan has the potential to transform how Austin preserves its diverse heritage,” said Lindsey Derrington, Executive Director of Preservation Austin. “This work is needed now more than ever. We hope many community members review it and speak up about what matters to them—and how we can work together to preserve it.”

Working group member Brita Wallace, a leader of the Austin Infill Coalition, agreed. “We need to expand beyond the traditional preservation groups and into new audiences that haven’t been as involved in preservation,” she said.

Outreach around the draft plan will include City-hosted events, pop-up outreach at community events, and presentations at organizational meetings. Ten community ambassadors and five community organizations are being funded to help engage historically marginalized communities around the draft plan via small-group conversations and targeted events. The community organizations are Anderson Community Development Corporation, Creative Action, East Austin Conservancy, the Austin chapter of Taiwanese American Professionals, and Tomorrow’s Promise Foundation. 


Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation Groundbreaking Ceremony




Join the City of Austin, Parks and Recreation Department, Capital Delivery Services Department, and the Barton Springs Conservancy for the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation Groundbreaking Celebration at 2131 William Barton Dr. on Thursday, February 22 at 10 a.m. There is NO parking near the bathhouse. Guests are asked to park at the Rock Garden picnic area parking lot (near the moontower) as project mobilization will be underway. This is an outdoor park event so dress comfortably. 

The 1947 Barton Springs Bathhouse was constructed in the Art Moderne Style and is a State Antiquities Landmark and listed to the National Register of Historic Places. The Barton Springs Bathhouse includes the bathhouse itself, lifeguard offices and the educational exhibit which interprets the endangered salamanders that live in Barton Springs. 

Major elements of the rehabilitation work will include replacement of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and drainage systems; structural improvements to meet code requirements; improved pool entry and exit areas, public spaces, landscaping, and parking; construction of a fire truck access lane for safety as well as overall improvements to life safety and accessibility in compliance with Texas Accessibility Standards.

The restoration of the historical rotunda as the main entry and a redesigned educational exhibit within the Beverly Sheffield Education Center will foster stewardship of Barton Springs and the Edwards Aquifer, educating visitors about the importance of protecting water and preserving the salamander habitat.

Operational Impacts 

The Barton Springs Bathhouse will be closed for construction starting on February 15, 2024 with substantial completion anticipated in spring 2025. As with any construction project, schedules may change as the work progresses. Temporary restroom and shower facilities will be provided next to the bathhouse while it is under construction.  

Barton Springs Pool will follow its regular operating hours and remain open to swimmers during the bathhouse rehabilitation. A temporary pool entrance will be provided on the north side near the bathhouse. The south pool entry at Azie Morton Road will remain unchanged. 

During construction, one-way traffic on William Barton Drive near the bathhouse will be limited to emergency vehicles, construction deliveries, and vehicles needing accessible parking. Public parking will not be available except for accessible parking per Americans with Disabilities Act and Texas Accessibility Standards.

Acknowledgements 

Funding for this rehabilitation project is provided through the Historic Preservation Fund, 2012 Bond Program, Zilker Parking Fees, One-time City Council Funding, and major contributions from the Barton Springs Conservancy. Additional contributions are provided by the City’s Watershed Protection Department and Austin Water Department. 

Public parks, museums, and cultural centers are among the top tourist attractions in the City and Austin Parks and Recreation works in partnership with the Heritage Tourism Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department, which manages with the Historic Preservation Fund. Additional thanks to Art in Public Places for a floor art piece that will be installed within the rotunda entryway to the pool. 

Learn more about the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation Project.  


Monday, February 5, 2024

Group of Austin City Council Members sponsor resolution to solidify the City of Austin’s role in supporting free live music events

Taking place at the upcoming City Council meeting on February 15th, the resolution will give the green light for City staff to negotiate and strategize with the organizers of the annual event, currently popularized as ‘Blues on the Green,’ and to make it a City co-sponsored event with commitments to sustain the long-cherished tradition. The resolution emphasizes that the City’s co-sponsorship strategy should include preserving free public access, diversifying musician programming, and engaging with local vendors.
 
Additionally, the resolution features a second significant component that calls for city staff to examine how the City of Austin can support the local music and arts events as an ecosystem. Council Member Natasha Harper-Madison along with her colleagues, Council Member Ryan Alter, Council Member Zo Qadri, and Council Member Paige Ellis believe that identifying ways to equitably systemize city co-sponsorship of events that are free and open to the public is crucial now more than ever to maintain Austin's cultural identity as the ‘Live Music Capital.’
 
Lots of the traditions and events that I experienced growing up in Austin have disappeared as this City has grown and changed. There is a significant preservation aspect to this resolution for event stakeholders who are facing rising costs. We have a responsibility to assist our live music scene, especially as they have become more financially vulnerable even with increasing engagement from our residents.” Council Member Harper-Madison also emphasized that this item is not about saving one event but ensuring that the City plays an active role in sustaining and supporting free and accessible events – classic and remastered- so all Austinites can continue to enjoy the rich live music and arts culture of this City.
 
Her fellow co-sponsoring colleagues echoed words of support and excitement around this initiative.
 
“Events like Blues on the Green are what make Austin special, and this annual festival isn’t just great for live music fans – it’s an opportunity for our incredible local artists to shine on the big stage. I’m particularly excited that this partnership will ensure that all performers are paid fairly for their time and talents, which is critical for keeping our live music scene thriving,” said Council Member Ryan Alter.
 
“As an avid supporter of live music, I’m proud to partner with my colleagues to save Blues on the Green and support its ongoing success,” said Council Member Paige Ellis. “This free event hosted in District 8 has always been open and accessible to people of all ages. Our local musicians, radio stations, and producers bring their passion to the stage every day, and we are simply doing our part.”
 
“I’m honored to be a part of this resolution that recognizes the importance of our city's cultural landscape. It is essential that our City's public performances reflect the vast spectrum of voices and artistic expressions found in every corner of our community,” said Council Member Zo Qadri. “This resolution is a testament to our commitment to fostering a thriving, inclusive, and culturally dynamic city for all.”
 
The resolution is set to be voted on at the February 15th Council Meeting. The draft resolution can be viewed at www.austintexas.gov/department/city-council/2024/20240215-reg.htm#023 

February Aquatic Update: Swim Passes, Closures, and Lifeguard Training

The Aquatic Division of the Parks and Recreation Department is gearing up for swim season. Season passes go on sale Monday, February 12 and City pools will begin charging for entry on Saturday, March 9.

City of Austin swimming pool season passes include a parking pass. Seasonal paid parking at Zilker Park and Barton Springs Pool resumes on Friday, March 1 and will continue through Labor Day, Monday, September 2.

Starting on Thursday, February 15 and continuing through spring 2025, public parking on the north side of Barton Springs Pool will not be available, and William Barton Drive will be limited to emergency vehicles, construction deliveries, and vehicles needing accessible parking. For more information, visit the Barton Springs Bathhouse Rehabilitation project page.

Barton Springs Pool will be closed Saturday, February 24 through Friday, March 8 for routine maintenance. For the hours of operation of other year-round pools during the closure, visit AustinTexas.gov/Pools.



Hiring Hundreds of Lifeguards
It takes about 850 lifeguards to fully staff City pools during the summer months. There are currently 239 lifeguards on staff, so hundreds of positions are still open, for now. Hurry because, at $20.80 per hour for entry level positions, these jobs will go fast! For more information, contact the Aquatics Office at 512-974-9330 or AquaticsOffice@austintexas.gov.

Winter Training
Lifeguard training happens year round. Get your Lifeguard certification or recertification now and start earning sooner. Winter Renewal means smaller classes in a heated pool. Everyone must complete the job application and their hiring paperwork before they can register for training. Check out the 2024 Lifeguard Certification Schedule and Lifeguard Renewal Class Dates.

Lifeguards Earn $20.80/Hour
Austin hires lifeguards starting at $20.80 per hour. Experienced lifeguards earn even more! Lifeguards get free training and a free uniform. Lifeguard training and hiring starts at age 15 and there is no age limit. Learn more about how to become a lifeguard at LifeguardAustin.com.

City of Austin's Development Services Department Unveils FY 2023 Annual Report: “New Beginnings”

 

Celebrating Achievements and Commitment to the Community 

The City of Austin’s Development Services Department (DSD) is proud to announce the release of its FY 2023 Annual Report, titled "New Beginnings." This annual report embodies DSD's commitment to progress, innovation, and service excellence as it continues to work hand in hand with the community to build a better and safer Austin. 

“This report unveils the stories, milestones, and achievements of a year filled with extraordinary change and innovation,” said José Roig, Director of the Development Services Department. “Together, we've embarked on a remarkable journey of progress, shaping new beginnings for our community.”

DSD extends an invitation to all stakeholders, customers, and community members to explore the FY 2023 Annual Report. It offers an opportunity to celebrate the progress and achievements that were made over the last year. It also provides an overview of the services DSD provides to the community.   

The FY 2023 Annual Report is now available for public viewing and can be accessed on the City’s Open Data Portal.  

 



El Departamento de Servicios de Desarrollo de la Ciudad de Austin presenta el Informe Anual del Año Fiscal 2023: “Nuevos Comienzos”

Celebrando Logros y Compromiso con la Comunidad 
 

El Departamento de Servicios de Desarrollo (DSD) de la Ciudad de Austin se enorgullece en anunciar la publicación de su Informe Anual del Año Fiscal 2023, titulado "Nuevos Comienzos". Este informe anual representa el compromiso de DSD con el progreso, la innovación y la excelencia en el servicio mientras continúa trabajando de mano a mano con la comunidad para construir un Austin mejor y más seguro. 

“Este informe nos muestra las historias, las metas y los logros de un año lleno de cambios e innovaciones extraordinarias,” dijo José Roig, Director del Departamento de Servicios de Desarrollo. “Juntos, hemos emprendido un viaje notable de progreso, dando forma a nuevos comienzos para nuestra comunidad.” 

DSD extiende una invitación a todas las partes interesadas, clientes y miembros de la comunidad a explorar el Informe Anual del Año Fiscal 2023. Este informe ofrece la oportunidad de celebrar el progreso y los logros alcanzados en el último año. También proporciona una visión general de los servicios que DSD ofrece a la comunidad. 

El Informe Anual del Año Fiscal 2023 está disponible para el público y se puede acceder a través del Portal de Datos Abiertos de la Ciudad


Friday, February 2, 2024

New Location for Ready Together, Austin’s Community Preparedness Training Class

Due to overwhelming response, City of Austin Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Management (HSEM) is announcing a new location for the Ready Together class on February 8. The classroom training has been moved to Widen Elementary School, which has a higher capacity of up to 80 people.

All community members who were on the waitlist will be notified that they are now registered. Capacity for this class has been raised to 80 people. Once that capacity is reached, registration will be closed. Community members can register here.

  • Event: Ready Together: Basic Emergency Preparedness for You, Your Family & Your Neighborhood (Classroom Training)
  • Time: Thursday, February 8, 2024, 5:30-7:30 p.m.
  • New Location: Widen Elementary School, 5605 Nuckols Crossing Rd., Austin, TX 78744

Emergency Preparedness Starter Kits will be available to all who register and attend the class. Any walk-ins who did not register will be added to the waitlist. If there are no-shows and enough space, walk-ins may be able to attend. Otherwise, guests are encouraged to take a future class. Anyone who has registered for the class, and is unable to attend, is asked to contact Austin HSEM using the registration page so their spot can be opened for another guest.

This free, 2-hour course will provide an introduction from the experts on how to practice the four steps of emergency preparedness: making a plan, building a kit, knowing your neighbors, and staying informed. This installment will focus on winter weather.

The course is developed in partnership with Austin Energy, Ascension Seton, Go Austin/Vamos Austin, and Austin Fire Department.

Interpreters will be available on-site in Spanish and American Sign Language. Other languages can be requested by contacting 3-1-1 at least five days before the event.

Austin HSEM has three additional Ready Together course dates scheduled quarterly throughout 2024. Future training dates and more information on how to prepare can be found at www.ReadyCentralTexas.org .


City of Austin Activates Cold Weather Shelters on Saturday, Feb. 17  

  Finding the status of shelters by calling 512-972-5055   AUSTIN, Texas -  The City of Austin is opening overnight cold weather shelters on...