Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition | May 2021

SOUTHWEST AUSTIN DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION

VOLUME 14, ISSUE 2  MAY 20JUNE 23, 2021

ONLINE AT

Move

New ordinances criminalizing camping in certain public areas of Austin took eect on May 11.

With camping ban back, housing takes top priority Austin moves forward with immediate and long-term homelessness strategies

where?

BEFORE PROP B PASSED

IMPACTS

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Residents push back against concrete plant

BY BEN THOMPSON

goal, leaders with the Save Austin Now political action committee behind the eort to pass Proposition B said they acted in response to concerns surrounding City Council’s 2019 camping ban rollback. “This is a sign that a majority of Austin residents decided that they wanted to take their city back. That they just want a safe and clean city for everyone, the residents and the homeless. This policy has been an epic failure,” Save Austin Now co-founder Matt Mackowiak said on election night.

Austin’s push to address its homelessness crisis continues this spring as a focus on the city’s reinstated public camping ban and its enforcement rose alongside discussion of the long-term path toward housing its unsheltered population. More than 57% of Austin voters elected May 1 to reinstate criminal bans on camping in public, sitting or lying down on sidewalks, and panhandling downtown. While those on both sides of the election agree that housing the homeless is the ultimate

TRANSPORTATION HIGHER EDUCATION GUIDE 2021

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3 DAYS AFTER PROP B PASSED

JULY 11 POLICE CAN BEGIN MAKING ARRESTS

CONTINUED ON 24

GUIDE

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PHOTOS BY BEN THOMPSONCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

2 0 2 1

H I G H E R E D U C A T I O N G U I D E

Needing only a fewcredits to graduate before the pandemic, Austin Community College student Ashley Silva said COVID- 19 presented challenges in completing her higher education. As someone with various learning disabilities, who thrives in a traditional classroom setting, she said she had to teach herself how best to learn virtually. And as a student in the surgical technology program, she said pandemic safety precautions delayed in-person, hands-on clinical components that were required to graduate. CONTINUED ON 20 Collegeswork to bring back students after disruptive year BY NICHOLAS CICALE & JACK FLAGLER

BUSINESS FEATURE

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St. Edward’s University held a socially distanced baccalaureate mass May 9 to celebrate the classes of 2020 and 2021.

DINING FEATURE

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COURTESY CHELSEA PURGAHNST. EDWARD’S UNIVERSITY

and trust use.

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Close tohome.

The care you need is right around the corner. Schedule appointments and get expert care at one of our convenient locations around Austin.

Two hospitals close to home

Baylor Scott &White Medical Center — Austin 5245 W. US Highway 290 | Austin, TX 78735 512.654.2100 | BSWHealth.com/Austin

Baylor Scott &White Medical Center — Lakeway 100 Medical Parkway | Lakeway, TX 78738 512.654.5000 | BSWHealth.com/Lakeway

Seven clinics in your neighborhood

Baylor Scott &White Clinic — Austin Circle C 5000 W. Slaughter Lane | Building 6, Suite 100 Austin, TX 78749 | 512.654.4000 Urgent Care hours: Weekdays 8:00 AM — 8:00 PM, Weekends 8:00 AM — 5:00 PM Baylor Scott &White Clinic — Austin Oak Hill 5251 W. US Highway 290 | Austin, TX 78735 512.654.3000 Baylor Scott &White Clinic — Austin Southwest 9521 W. US Highway 290 | Suite 105 | Austin, TX 78736 512.654.4300

Baylor Scott &White Clinic — Lakeway 3108 S. Ranch Road 620 | Lakeway, TX 78738 | 512.654.4200 Baylor Scott &White Specialty Clinic — Lakeway 200 Medical Parkway | Lakeway, TX 78738 | 512.654.1234 Baylor Scott &White —West Hills Family Health Center 11805 FM 2244, Suite 100 | Bee Cave, TX 78738 | 512.654.4450 Baylor Scott &White Clinic — Bee Cave 16018 W. SH 71 | Bee Cave, TX 78738 | 512.654.3900

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Medical Centers: Physicians provide clinical services asmembers of themedical staff at one of Baylor Scott &White Health’s subsidiary, community or affiliatedmedical centers and do not provide clinical services as employees or agents of thosemedical centers or Baylor Scott &White Health. Clinics: Physicians are employees of Scott &White Clinic, an affiliate of Baylor Scott &White Health. ©2021 Baylor Scott &White Health. 99-ATX-295001 GD Now accepting newpatients. Baylor Scott &White Health accepts most major insurance plans, including Medicare.

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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4605 Cliffstone Cv, Austin, TX 78735 Lily Lynn | 512-771-5865

6408 Mirarosa Dr, Austin, TX 78739 Lindsey Fenton | 512-839-5137

897 Catalina Ln, Austin, TX 78737 Burt Dement | 512-689-7352

10103 Alcott Cv, Austin, TX 78748 Cherry Amato | 512-439-9672

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205 Kiras Ct, Austin, TX 78737 Audra Burtch | 512-468-8340

143 Goodwater Ct, Austin, TX 78737 Kopp Team | 512-657-3305

491 Manchester Ln, Austin, TX 78737 Alexia Dauterive | 512-636-4006

3208 Evanston Ln, Austin, TX 78745 Lisa Muñoz | 512-856-4549

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312 Ranch Ridge Dr, Dripping Springs, TX 78620 Kimberly Fodor | 512-809-3844

921 Wessex Way, Austin, TX 78748 Siobhan McKillop | 512-775-3950

7301 Beckett Rd, Austin, TX 78749 Richard El Richani | 512-965-4024

906 Emory Tree Dr, Austin, TX 78748 Debra Barrera | 512-203-1912

10 Tips to Win a Home Bidding War Don’t let a bidding war scare you away from your potential home. Outshine your competition by: 1. Getting pre-approved by a reputable local lender 2. Consider waiving your loan approval contingency 3. Offering the seller a leaseback Want more insider knowledge? Scan the QR code to read the full 10-tip list compiled by our experienced Realty Austin agents.

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MAY 2021

LEARN ABOUT AUSTIN’S Water Quality

For more than 100 years, Austin Water has been committed to providing safe, reliable, high quality drinking water with a focus on sustainable and affordable services to our customers. Austin Water’s 2020 Consumer Confidence Report provides facts about the safety and quality of your drinking water, which meets all state and federal standards. Quality Austin Water tests your drinking water several times each day as it passes through the distribution system, and our water meets and exceeds EPA regulations. Value/Affordability For the cost of a 20 oz. bottle of water, you can buy around 300 gallons of Austin’s tap water and it tastes great! Environment Choosing drinking water from Austin Water is environmentally sound because no fuel is used to transport plastic water bottles and no petroleum is used to create the plastic. And, no plastic bottles go in the landfill. You can find the 2020 Consumer Confidence Report online at the link below, or call 512-972-0155 to receive a copy by email or mail.

Austin Water Quality Report 2020 Austinwater.org/WaterQuality Para una versión en Español llame al 512-972-0155

austinwater.org

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

ABOUT US

Owners John and Jennifer Garrett launched the rst edition of Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 with three full-time employees covering Round Rock and Pugerville, Texas. We have expanded our operations to include hundreds of employees, our own printing operation and over 30 hyperlocal editions across three states. Our circulation is over 2 million residential mailboxes, and it grows each month with new residents and developments.

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

FROMDEEDA: ‘Tis the season for pomp and circumstance, and I for one am excited for a little pomp for our graduates under the circumstances! The University of Texas held commencement in person for the rst time in a year. In our front-page story, we explore the obstacles students have overcome to don a cap and gown and what our college-bound students should expect going forward. Congratulations class of 2021! Deeda Lovett, GENERALMANAGER dlovett@communityimpact.com

Community Impact Newspaper teams include general managers, editors, reporters, graphic designers, sales account executives and sales support, all immersed and invested in the communities they serve. Our mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Our core values are Faith, Passion, Quality, Innovation and Integrity.

FROM JACK: By now, you probably have heard the results of Proposition B in the May 1 election, in which city voters decided to add criminal penalties for panhandling as well as camping, sitting and lying down in certain areas. The question now is, ‘Where does the community go from here?’ Austin City Hall reporter Ben Thompson has more in our front-page story. Jack Flagler, EDITOR jagler@communityimpact.com

Our purpose is to be a light for our readers, customers, partners and each other.

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MAY 2021

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

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TECOMA CIR.

WILLIAM BARTON DR.

COLORADO RIVER

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BARTON SPRINGS RD.

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PICKLE RD.

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La Buena Supermercado

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NICHOLAS CICALECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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ERNEST ROBLES WAY

Austin, in the space formerly occupied by BurgerFi. Co-owners Roberto Espinosa and Eric Wilkerson opened their rst location on Spyglass Drive in 1999 and have since expanded to Dallas, Plano and Houston. www.tacodeli.com 9 San Antonio-based WellMed Medical Management plans to open an clinic and senior center at 4715 S. Lamar Blvd., Sunset Valley. On May 4, Sunset Valley City Council approved a special use permit and variances for the project, and the company says it plans to le building permits for the project to the city later this year. www.wellmedhealthcare.com Wayfair , a Boston-based online retailer that specializes in furniture and home decor, announced April 21 it will open a new engineering oce in Austin by the end of 2021 or in early 2022. Wayfair plans to hire at least 200 new employees located in the Austin oce. A Wayfair spokesperson said the company is still working to identify an oce location, but job postings on Indeed.com for the Austin oce list 78744 in Southeast Austin as a ZIP code. www.wayfair.com RELOCATIONS 10 Westlake-based Collectic Home announced April 5 that it will relocate to 2101 E. St. Elmo Road, Ste. 347, Austin, later this year. Currently located at 2785 Bee Cave Road, Ste. 325, Rollingwood, the store oers a showroom featuring contemporary furniture, lighting and rugs. The Bee Cave Road location’s merchandise will be on sale leading up to the move. 512-347-1616. www.collectichome.com

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TM; © 2021 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

SOUTHAUSTIN NOWOPEN 1 La Buena Supermercado held a monthlong grand opening event in May at 512 W. Stassney Lane, Ste. 107B, Austin. The supermarket oers fresh produce, beverages, supplies, and products from its butcher shop and taqueria. 512-916-9938. www.facebook.com/ labuenasupermercado 2 Rainey Street-based bar Lustre Pearl opened a South Austin location at 10400 Menchaca Road, Austin, on March 14. The venue oers an indoor bar with a large outdoor seating area, including food and coee trucks and batting cages. www.facebook.com/ lustrepearlsouth COMING SOON 3 Twelve Rivers Realty will open a new oce at 2500 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin, by

mid-July. The new location joins Twelve Rivers Realty’s main oce in downtown Austin at 700 Rio Grande St. 512-588-1453. www.twelveriversrealty.com 4 Austin-based Bluebonnet Animal Hospital will open its third location this October in Circle C at 5700 W. Slaughter Lane, Ste. 380, Austin, in the former location of day care center Kid Spa. This will be the third Austin location for the local veterinary practice, which handles both wellness and emergency care visits, with services including surgeries, dentistry, microchipping and behavioral counseling. www.bluebonnetah.com 5 Casata —a micro-home rental community under construction at 10400 Old Manchaca Road, Austin—is now booking appointments and is scheduled to open its rst units this summer. The South Austin neighborhood is the rst for the Austin-based company owned by resident Aaron Levy. 888-922-7282. www.casata.com

6 Austin-based Stratus Properties announced April 28 that the future Holden Hills neighborhood, located within the Barton Creek community, will be located on 495 acres near Southwest Parkway and Tecoma Circle. As proposed, the community will include 74 single- family home lots and approximately 430 condominium units with 3.5 miles of trails connecting to the greenbelt, according to a site plan for the project. The rst units could be put on the market in early 2022, and home construction will begin next spring. www.stratusproperties.com 7 Ohio-based restaurant chain Marco’s Pizza will open its new South Austin location at the Cannon West shopping center at 6800 West Gate Blvd., Ste. 101, Austin, by the end of May. The restaurant oers specialty pizzas, pizza bowls, salads and sub sandwiches. 512-994-1175. www.marcos.com 8 Tacodeli will open its seventh Austin location in late summer in the Circle C neighborhood at 5701 Slaughter Lane,

Sivat Services is pleased to now offer Albright Ultraviolet (UVC) Air Sanitizing systems. UVC air treatment provides additional peace of mind to visitors and employees by reducing air borne pathogens. Want cleaner air? Perfect for use in: • waiting rooms • restaurants • classrooms

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE

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Casata

Holden Hills

Austin Bouldering Project currently operates a gym on Springdale Road in Austin.

NICHOLAS CICALECOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

COURTESY STRATUS PROPERTIES

COURTESY AUSTIN BOULDERING PROJECT

FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON The Austin Bouldering Project —a local rock-climbing gym with a location at 979 Springdale Road, Austin— announced May 6 that the company would be expanding its local presence this fall with a new gym in South Austin. The facility will be located at 4477 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin. According to Austin Bouldering Project, current and future gym members will have access to the facility when it opens. The new gym will have comparable oerings to the East Austin original, which will remain open, including climbing and

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training, tness and yoga classes, and a community space. 512-645-4633. www.austinboulderingproject.com

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COURTESY WAYFAIR

ANNIVERSARIES 11 Crux Climbing Center celebrated ve years in Austin May 7. The climbing gym opened at 121 Pickle Road, Ste. 100, Austin, and added another location at 6015 Dillard Circle, Unit B, Austin, in 2020. 512-931-3911 www.cruxclimbingcenter.com 12 Taurus Auto Detailing , located at 10421 Old Manchaca Road, Ste. 200, Austin, will celebrate its ve- year anniversary June 1. Owner Sean Hutchisson said the business will be expanding within The Manchac business park to separate its auto detailing services from its paint protection lm and ceramic coating operation. 512-988-9866. www.taurusautodetailing.com IN THE NEWS 13 Barton Springs Pool , 2131 William Barton Drive, Austin, is requiring reservations as of May 21. The reservations are in place for two-hour

increments from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Visitors coming to the pool between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. will not have to make a reservation ahead of time. The reservation system is intended to manage capacity at the pool, according to the city of Austin, and they can be made at the city’s website. 512-974-6300. www.austintexas.gov CLOSINGS 14 The Bungalow , a boutique selling home decor, clothing, jewelry and gifts that opened last summer at 9410 W. Hwy. 290, Austin, closed in March. According to owner Diana Holmes, the decision was made after an unexpected increase in rent, but she said she may look at other locations to reopen in the future. 512-635-7657. 15 Texas-based Cow Tipping Creamery closed its Austin-area shop May 2. Located at 4715 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. 103, Sunset Valley, the soft-serve ice cream shop oered shakes, cones and cups with custom toppings. www.cowtippingcreamery.com

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WORTHTHE TRIP RELOCATIONS Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ announced May 10 that it will relocate its food trailer and restaurant to Buda within the next year. Currently operating at 11500 Manchaca Road, Austin, the restaurant plans to open next to Buda Mill and Grain Co. at 306 S. Main St., Buda. The business serves breakfast and lunch tacos, barbecue sandwiches, meat plates and sides. 512-221-4248. www.valentinastexmexbbq.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE

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HAYS COUNTRY ACRES RD.

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Suds Monkey Brewing Co.

Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club

THURMAN ROBERTS WAY

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and after-school programs—will open a new building on its campus Sept. 7. Located on a 15-acre site at 1000 Hays Country Acres Road, Unit A, Dripping Springs, the building will allow the school to open six new preschool classrooms this fall. 512-894-9855. www.havenwoodnatureschool.com ANNIVERSARIES 5 PAWS Shelter of Central Texas celebrated its 35th year serving the community May 16. With a location at 2965 FM 165, Dripping Springs, PAWS is a Kyle-based nonprofit, no-kill animal shelter that offers opportunities to adopt or foster pets. The shelter also accepts donations and offers volunteer opportunities. 512-858-0016. www.pawsshelter.org

its first 40 homes online by spring 2022. www.driftwoodgolfclub.com RELOCATIONS 3 Suds Monkey Brewing Co. , which opened in Dripping Springs in July 2017, relocated April 28 to a larger space at 12024 W. Hwy. 290, Austin. Previously located about 2 miles west at 1032 Canyon Bend Drive, Dripping Springs, the brewery and kitchen’s new spot will offer a larger indoor seating area as well as a shaded outdoor patio. 512- 222-3893. www.sudsmonkeybrew.com EXPANSIONS 4 Havenwood Nature School —an early childhood education center that offers a nature-based curriculum for preschool

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DRIPPING SPRINGS NOWOPEN 1 The Hill Country Farmers Market opened in May on the grounds of Dreamland, 2770 W. Hwy. 290, Dripping Springs. The market locally owned and managed by Laurel Robertson is open Sundays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to the selection of locally grown produce, meats, specialty foods and artisan crafts, it features live music, kids activities and appearances by local nonprofits and service organizations. www.hillcountryfarmersmarket.com

COMING SOON 2 Driftwood Golf and Ranch Club, a mixed-use project including an 18-hole golf course, is expected to officially open this fall. Located roughly at 582 Thurman Roberts Way, Driftwood, the project that broke ground in 2019 will include the golf course as well as a neighborhood with single-family homes, a vineyard, community gardens, nature trails and small retail options. The project is designed as a private club and community where residents become members and have access to on-site amenities. The community’s developer hopes to bring

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MAY 2021

Vaccination Options in AUSTIN

Online Appointment Scheduling covid19.austintexas.gov Phone Scheduling

Call 3-1-1 or (512) 974-2000 and leave your name and phone number. APH will call you back to schedule an appointment. Walk-Up (No Appointment) Clinics* Delco Activity Center 4601 Pecan Brook Dr Southeast Library 5803 Nuckols Crossing Rd Little Walnut Creek Library 835 W Rundberg Ln For walk-up (no appointment) clinic days & hours, see the upcoming events on austintexas.gov/COVID-19 or call 3-1-1 or (512) 974-2000. Mobile Vaccination Program If you are homebound, call 3-1-1 or (512) 974-2000, leave your name and phone number, and APH will schedule a visit for you, your caregivers and household. Other Providers Visit VaccineFinder.org for other vaccine providers and availability near you.

Information subject to change. Published 5/4/21

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

May-June events

COMPILED BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

10 THROUGH 13 ROT RALLY RETURNS After its cancellation last year, the Republic of Texas Motorcycle Rally comes back to town. Performers this year include Artimus Pyle of Lynyrd Skynyrd and rock group Blackberry Smoke. Various times. $89 (daily pass), $149 (four-day pass). Travis County Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Lane, Austin. www.republicoftexasmotorcyclerally.com 11 AVIRTUAL CONVERSATIONWITH FRANLEBOWITZ The writer, satirist and subject of Netix documentary lm series “Pretend It’s a City” is interviewed by Evan Smith, CEO of online media outlet The Texas Tribune. Customers who purchase tickets can add an optional donation to the Paramount or Stateside theaters. Available to stream starting at 10 a.m. $25. 512-474-1221. www.austintheatre.org 19 AUSTIN FC’S DEBUT AT Q2 STADIUM Austin’s new Major League Soccer club takes on the San Jose Earthquakes at Q2 Stadium in North Austin. Austin FC has not yet announced capacity limits for the game or put single-match tickets on sale. 8 p.m. Ticket prices TBD. 10414 McKalla Place, Austin. 512-572-8932. www.austinfc.com

MAY 29 SHINYRIBS AT NUTTY BROWN AMPHITHEATRE The longtime staple of the Austin music scene will perform two limited-capacity, socially distanced shows. Concerts and events are on the calendar at Nutty Brown Amphitheatre in Southwest Austin, but the venue is planning a move to Round Rock. Owner Mike Farr has not announced a date for the move yet. Construction permits are active through 2021. 5 p.m., 9 p.m. $30-$75. 12225 Hwy. 290, Austin. www.nuttybrown.com 31 CAPTEX TRI This triathlon begins with a 1,500-meter swim in Lady Bird Lake followed by a 24.3-mile bike ride through downtown, then concludes with a 6.2-mile run. 7 a.m.-1 p.m. $139-$259. Auditorium Shores, 900 W. Riverside Drive, Austin. www.captextri.com JUNE 03 BROADWAY AT THE GROUND FLOOR THEATRE “Sing Out!: A Broadway Musical Revue” brings together six Tony- and Grammy- award winners for a show reecting the

experiences of the LGBTQIA+ community. After its debut in Austin, the show will head to New York City in 2022. 8 p.m. Tickets are pay what you can with a minimum of $25. Ground Floor Theatre, 979 Springdale Road, Austin. www.austinartistsproject.org/singout 04 MAUDIE’SMOONLIGHT MARGARITA RUN Participants in the run, which is being presented virtually this year, can register online and submit results for their 5K race anytime before May 31. Then, on June 4, they can pick up their race packet, which includes a T-shirt and a frozen margarita. Proceeds from the annual event benet The Trail Foundation. Various times. $30. Drive-thru packet pickup will take place just outside the Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin. 855-448-7245. www.thetrailfoundation.org/mmr 05 THROUGH 13 IT’SMY PARK DAY The Austin Parks Foundation’s annual citywide volunteer event will have virtual events taking place over the course of a week and limited in-person volunteer opportunities on Saturday, June 12. Registrants can receive a t-shirt by volunteering virtually or in-person, or by making a donation of $25 or more. 512-477-1566. www.austinparks.org/IMPD

PRESERVATION AUSTIN’S VIRTUAL HOMES TOUR

JUNE 17

The nonprot’s annual event, held virtually this year, will feature homes in a historic district of East Austin. 7 p.m. $20-$25. 512-474-5198. www.preservationaustin.org (Courtesy Lauren Kerr) 27 THROUGH SEPT. 19 TWONEWEXHIBITIONS AT THE BLANTONMUSEUMOF ART “Black is Beautiful” features the 1950s and ‘60s photography of activist Kwame Brathwaite. “Valley” is a video installation by Suzanne Bocanegra, which references actress Judy Garland’s struggles in life and show business. Various times. $12 for adults. 200 E. Martin Luther King Jr.

Blvd., Austin. 512-471-5482. www.blantonmuseum.org

Find more or submit Southwest Austin and Dripping Springs events at communityimpact.com/event-calendar. Event organizers can submit local events online to be considered for the print edition. Submitting details for consideration does not guarantee publication.

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11

SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MAY 2021

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES

COMPILED BY JACK FLAGLER

ONGOING PROJECTS 1 Work to widen Menchaca Road on track to finish soon The Texas Department of Transportation broke ground on an effort to widen the southern end of Menchaca Road in December 2019, and the project is nearing the finish line. According to TxDOT, the $11.94 million project will widen a 1.1-mile stretch of Menchaca Road to four traffic lanes with a center turn lane between Ravenscroft Drive and FM 1626. TxDOT is also constructing bicycle lanes and Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant sidewalks and curb ramps. TxDOT spokesperson Bradley Wheelis said work is on track to be completed by the end of the spring, weather permitting. Crews are still installing noise walls and storm sewers along the road and crosswalks at the Frate Barker Road intersection. TxDOT is also completing tie-in work with the FM 1626 intersection at the southern end of the road, Wheelis said. Timeline: December 2019-June 2021 Cost: $11.94 million Funding source: TxDOT

UPCOMING PROJECTS 2 Designs for South Austin I-35 project show elevated lanes The Texas Department of Transportation is holding a virtual public hearing through May 26 in which residents can provide feedback on a project to add two high- occupancy vehicle, or HOV, lanes in each direction along an 8-mile stretch of I-35 in South Austin. Residents can view the presentation and submit comments at https://capexsouth. mobility35openhouse.com. According to the presentation, HOV lanes designed for public transportation, vanpools, carpools and emergency vehicles would be elevated above the main lanes and frontage roads along that stretch of road. A report by the University of Texas at Austin Center for Transportation Research found that elevating the managed lanes in this stretch would lead to a 55% decrease in conflict points—areas where drivers are more likely to experience a crash such as highway entrances, exits and weaving points. Researchers also predicted a 29% decrease in severe crashes per year. Timeline: 2022-26 or 2027 Cost: $300 million Funding source: TxDOT

290

71

2

CANTERBURY TALES LN.

E

U

1

1626

35

45

1626

N

N

ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MAY 17. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SWANEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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12

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATION

I35project presentsAustin with $4.9Bopportunity

290

FOR THE NEXT 50 YEARS The last time I-35 was signicantly overhauled was in 1974. The Texas Department of Transportation, community advocates and local political leaders all say the upcoming project to remake the central portion of the road between SH 71 and Hwy. 290 is a once-in-a-generation opportunity for Austin to have a say in the project.

BY JACK FLAGLER

highway,” TxDOT Program Manager Susan Fraser said. Commission Chair J. Bruce Bugg vowed in February 2020 the state would go “no wider and no higher” with this project, instead opting to dig deeper to add capacity. But many transportation advocates disagree with the decision to expand the number of lanes on I-35—pointing to research showing added lanes do not solve capacity issues. Heyden Black Walker is an architect, urban planner and one of the creators of the Reconnect Austin plan, a proposal to bury the main lanes of I-35 from Lady Bird Lake to Airport Boulevard. Black Walker said even with the restrictions, there are still ways for TxDOT sta and engineers to create a project that works. “Really, all they can do is build a highway, which is the wrong choice. But if you’re going to build a highway, there are choices they can make that would be a better highway,” she said. City and community leaders are pushing for a design that would allow local entities to fund and build solutions on top of the highway to add features that benet residents, such as crossings or space on the right of way for aordable housing or community event spaces. Recent events in Houston show those local governments may have more tools at their disposal to advocate for themselves. Harris County sued TxDOT in federal court March 11, arguing its planned $7 billion overhaul of I-45 that would displace more than 900 residents and 300 businesses violated federal law. At the same time, the Federal Highway Administration wrote a letter asking TxDOT to pause the I-45 project.

35

Work is set to begin in 2025 on the rst major

1

reconstruction of I-35 through downtown Austin since the 1970s. The Texas Department of Transportation hopes to improve safety on one of its most dangerous stretches of highway and relieve congestion at a choke point that is the worst in the state, according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute. Final design decisions from TxDOT on the $4.9 billion project likely will not come until 2022, but many city leaders and community members say the project as it stands does not meet Austin’s goals. Linda Guerrero, who grew up in Austin and has been involved in local civic issues for decades, co-chairs a working group representing more than 50 city organizations. She said she would like to see TxDOT acknowledge a “history of woundedness” in the community. “They are looking at a road. And we are looking at history,” Guerrero said. TxDOT is still in the process of making decisions, which include the elevation of highway lanes and the placement of ramps and frontage roads. However, TxDOT is working from a starting point handed down from political leaders and the Texas Transportation Commission. TxDOT ocials say part of their task is to add capacity, which will come in the form of two high-occupancy vehicle, or HOV, lanes in each direction for public transit, carpools, vanpools and emergency vehicles. “The HOV lanes are going to incentivize transit and people carpooling. That’s going to encourage more people to drive together and provide more capacity on the

THE UPPER DECKS

At this point in the project, TxDOT has not made any nal decisions about I-35’s design, but all of its conceptual designs have included the dismantling of the upper decks and lowering of the main lanes below the areas where frontage roads will cross.

1

JACK FLAGLERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Project limits total miles of highway project cost $ 4.9B

O

2

2A

8

TRANSIT CONNECTIONS

TxDOT said it is open to designing the highway project to provide certain access points where public transportation vehicles would be able to enter and exit I-35 in bus- only lanes from cross streets such as A Dean Keeton Street and B Riverside Drive. If this option is feasible, it would be paid for by local entities such as the city of Austin or Capital Metro.

MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. BLVD.

2025

Estimated construction start

4

3A

While trac counts have been mostly static on this stretch of I-35, congestion has worsened. Transit researchers say added lanes historically do not solve congestion woes because they eventually ll with trac. TxDOT is proposing to add managed carpool lanes to maximize the number of people moving through the corridor. TRAFFIC SOLUTIONS

3B

3C

3

CAP-AND-STITCH

Some community proposals call for I-35 to be covered from Lady Bird Lake to Airport Boulevard and repurposed for other uses. A panel of transportation experts from the Urban Land Institute considered that option but also suggested three high-priority areas. A 11th St. to 12th St. B 6th St. to 8th St. C Cesar Chavez St. to 4th St.

4

ANNUAL TRAFFIC COUNTS: I-35 AT LADY BIRD LAKE

+3.42%

2B

2005 2019

AUSTIN STATS: 1993-2017

Population growth:

Freeway lane-miles growth: +125%

MAP NOT TO SCALE N

+98%

SOURCES: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION, TRANSPORTATION FOR AMERICA, URBAN LAND INSTITUTE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

290

Growth in trac delay:

+461%

13

SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MAY 2021

TRANSPORTATION

Searching for a site Colorado River Constructors, the contractor on the $674 million Oak Hill Parkway project along Hwy. 290, is looking for a spot where it will mix the concrete needed for the road project for the next three years.

The Y at Oak Hill from nearest home 25 YARDS

ACC Pinnacle no longer under consideration

71

from nearest home 200 YARDS

Distance from nearest home

Scenic Brook 100 YARDS from nearest home

290

Ledgestone Drive

no longer under consideration

D

from nearest home 150 YARDS

1826

MAP NOT TO SCALE N

SOURCE: COLORADO RIVER CONSTRUCTORSCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

MOP

Resident opposition to concrete plant causes ACC to reconsider

“WE HAVE A CONTRACTUAL OBLIGATION TO BUILD THIS JOB. WE CANNOT BUILD THIS JOB WITHOUT A BATCH PLANT.” PIKE RIEGERT, OAK HILL PARKWAY PROJECT MANAGER, COLORADO RIVER CONSTRUCTORS

A $674 million Texas Department of Transportation construction project will break ground in June or July aiming to address congestion near the intersection of West Hwy. 290 and Hwy. 71 at the Y at Oak Hill. TxDOT’s contractor, Colorado River Constructors, needs to nd a place to mix the concrete it will use for the Oak Hill Parkway Project, which is expected to nish in 2026. However, as the contractor has searched for sites in the Southwest Austin area, it has met signicant resistance from neighbors who say they have concerns about trac and the environmental impact. One of the sites that is no longer in the running after residents spoke out against the batch plant is Austin Community College’s Pinnacle Campus. CRC held an in-person information session at the campus April 17 to present details about the proposed plant and answer community questions. During the meeting, residents held up signs reading “No toxic batch plant” and “Don’t poison Oak Hill.” After that public meeting, ACC’s board of trustees amended a previous decision it had made months earlier to let sta enter into negotiations to let CRC use its Pinnacle campus for a staging area. Under the updated decision from the board approved May 3, CRC would still be able to lease the property as an operations base and for parking and storage, but BY NICHOLAS CICALE & JACK FLAGLER

it would not be able to locate its batch plant there. The Pinnacle campus has been closed since spring 2018 due to required maintenance of the outdated facility. Trustee Julie Ann Nitsch, who lives in South Austin and voted against the motion May 3, said approving the contract would alienate members of the community who opposed it. “We are not here to help that road get built; we are here as an educational institution,” she said. “Speaking frommy elected position, I don’t see how this benets ACC.” This is not the rst time CRC has taken a site out of consideration for its plant. In the fall, it had considered a site further west in the project area near the intersection of Ledgestone Terrace and Hwy. 290, but took the site out of consideration after residents voiced opposition. With those two sites out of consideration, CRC will likely utilize two locations for the plant within the Oak Hill Parkway project’s right of way. Those sites, according to the April 17 presentation, are located near the Scenic Brook community and the Y at Oak Hill. The nearest homes are 100 yards away from the Scenic Brook site and 25 yards away from the Y at Oak Hill site, whereas the Pinnacle site would have been located 200 yards from the closest residential property. “We’re denitely going to have a batch plant,” said Pike Riegert, Oak Hill Parkway project manager,

to trustees May 3. “We’re legally allowed to have a batch plant [in the right of way]. We’re going to work with the community [to nd] the best location; that was always the intent. We have a contractual obligation to build this job. We cannot build this job without a batch plant.“ The Oak Hill Parkway project, which will be funded by TxDOT, will create a roadway as wide as 12 lanes near the Y at Oak Hill where Hwy. 71 and Hwy. 290 intersect. TxDOT also will construct yovers at the interchange of those two roads an estimated 25 feet high while excavating the main lanes of Hwy. 290 to approximately 18 feet below surface level. Meanwhile, the Texas Legislature is considering options to make concrete producers go through a more strict application process for concrete batch plants. Senate Bill 952, introduced by Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, DMcAllen, has passed in both the Senate and House of Representatives.

14

COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

ELECTION

Results from Austin & Dripping Springs

May 1 election results: See how Austin andDripping Springs voted

A proposition that would have phased out Austin’s city manager position, the most powerful position in City Hall, and given additional responsibilities to the mayor was voted down by city residents May 1. More than 85% of voters opposed the measure that would have created the strong-mayor form of government. BY NICHOLAS CICALE & JACK FLAGLER

“We are not Chicago; we’re not Seattle; and we’re not Houston. We’re Austin, and Austinites saw that the clear strengths in our city is under the current form of government,” said Nico Ramsey, director for community engagement for Austin for All People, a citizens group that opposed the strong mayor. Dripping Springs will have three new elected ocials: two on City

Voters line up at the South Austin Recreation Center on May 1. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Council and one on the school board. Sherrie Parks and Georey Tahuahua were elected to council, while Stefani

Reinold will join incumbent winners Mary Jane Hetrick and Shannon O’Connor on the board.

PROPOSITION A FIREFIGHTERS UNION CHARTER AMENDMENT

PROPOSITION B

PROPOSITION C

PROPOSITION D

REINSTATING THE HOMELESS ORDINANCES

APPOINTING THE DIRECTOR OF POLICE OVERSIGHT

CHANGING THE DATE OF MAYORAL ELECTIONS

YES

YES

YES

YES

90,498 (57.69%)

96,993 (62.86%)

102,174 (66.47%)

124,334 (81.03%)

NO

NO

NO

NO

66,360 (42.31%)

57,307 (37.14%)

51,536 (33.53%)

29,110 (18.97%)

If the Austin Fireghters Association and the city reach an impasse in collective bargaining negotiations, either side has the ability to force negotiations into binding arbitration.

Certain behaviors, including sitting or lying down in public areas, panhandling, sleeping outdoors or camping became criminal oenses. For more, turn to Page 24 .

City Council will create rules for appointing the director of police oversight through an ordinance.

The Austin mayor will be elected in presidential election years beginning in 2024. This means the mayor city residents elect in 2022 will serve a two-year term.

PROPOSITION F

PROPOSITION G ADDING AN 11TH CITY COUNCIL DISTRICT

PROPOSITION H

PROPOSITION E

ESTABLISHING RANKEDCHOICE VOTING

INSTITUTING A STRONGMAYOR FORM OF GOVERNMENT

CREATING AN ALTERNATIVE CAMPAIGN FINANCE SYSTEM

YES

YES

YES

YES

21,805 (14.15%)

65,553 (42.76%)

87,604 (57.95%)

65,309 (43.33%)

NO

NO

NO

NO

63,560 (42.05%)

132,299 (85.85%)

85,410 (56.67%)

87,734 (57.24%)

Austinites supported a ranked- choice voting system, which will allow them to rank up to ve candidates on their ballots in City Council and mayoral races.

Austin will continue in a council- manager form of government. If this strong-mayor proposition had passed, the mayor would have become City Hall’s top executive.

Austin will not add an extra City Council district. The city’s redistricting committee is in the process of redrawing its 10 districts ahead of the 2022 election.

Voters rejected a program that would have distributed $25 taxpayer-funded vouchers to each registered voter in the city for each race the voter could cast a ballot in.

DRIPPING SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL PLACE 3

DRIPPING SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL PLACE 5

DRIPPING SPRINGS ISD BOARD OF TRUSTEES

Stefani Reinold

2,094 (17.9%)

Georey Tahuahua

Sherrie Parks

1,717 (14.68%)

Shannon O’Connor* Mary Jane Hetrick* Thaddeus Fortenberry

264 (64.08%)

226 (57.22%)

1,617 (13.82%)

Charlie Busbey

Wm Travis Crow*

1,561 (13.34%)

169 (42.78%)

148 (35.92%)

1,215 (10.39%) 1,175 (10.04%)

Tricia Quintero

Tahuahua’s win to take the place of retiring Todd Purcell comes two years after Tahuahua previously ran for council and lost.

“I don’t have any agenda of my own,” Parks said after defeating incumbent Crow. “I want to take what the citizens of Dripping Springs want and make that happen.”

Stephanie Holtzendorf

1,055 (9.02%) 1,032 (8.82%)

Lynn Henson

Jerey Aylstock Kay Kizziar

232 (1.98%)

*INCUMBENT

The top-three vote-getters in the school board race were elected, including Reinold, who will replace former board President Carrie Kroll, who did not run for reelection.

SOURCES: CITY OF AUSTIN, HAYS COUNTY CLERK, TRAVIS COUNTY CLERK, WILLIAMSON COUNTY CLERK COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

*INCUMBENT

15

SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MAY 2021

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