Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition | December 2020

SOUTHWESTAUSTIN DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION

VOLUME 13, ISSUE 9  DEC. 21, 2020JAN. 25, 2021

ONLINE AT

BILLIONDOLLARVISION FOR BRODIE OAKS INSIDE 22

PHOTOS BY NICHOLAS CICALE COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Developers have announced plans to replace a strip mall in Southwest Austin with a residential, retail, hotel and restaurant project with a budget that could top $1 billion over the course of a decade. (Rendering courtesy Lionheart Places, WP Visions LLC San Antonio/Community Impact Newspaper)

COVID-19 vaccinations for thousands of Austin’s health care workers are already underway, but just a few months ago, many health experts believed a workable vaccine for the novel coronavirus was still a long way o. Typically, it takes 12-18 months to develop a new vaccine, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National CONTINUED ON 24 Austin-area hospitals begin distributing COVID19 vaccine BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

Texas distributed the rst doses of a COVID-19 vaccine Dec. 14 from pharmaceutical company Pzer and biotechnology rm BioNTech. AT THE END OF THE LIGHT TUNNEL

224,250 DOSES Texas received 16,575 The Austin area received These have been given to 11 hospitals in T ravis, Hays and Williamson counties for health care workers. 7.39% of the state’s rst shipment went to the capital area. In 21 days, after the rst dose those 224,250 people will need a second dose.

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IMPACTS

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COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON . Complete 2020 by joining your neighbors with a contribution of any amount to CI Patron. Funds support Community Impact Newspaper ’s hyperlocal, unbiased journalism and help build informed communities. Choose IMPACT . Make a CONTRIBUTION . Strengthen JOURNALISMFORALL . Contribute today! Snap or visit

Kelly Martinez, MD Breast Surgery

Richard Stoebner, MD Cardiology

Sulochana Bhandarkar, MD Dermatology

Lia Gracey, MD, PhD Dermatology

Kriti Gupta, MD Endocrinology

Dan Cohen, MD Gastroenterology

Rajesh Shah, MD Gastroenterology

Erik Anderson, MD General Surgery

Chandima Dehipitiya, MD Internal Medicine

GladysWeng, DO Internal Medicine

Richard Sawyers, MD Neurology

Brooke Leath, MD Gynecology

Donavan Kip Murphy, MD Orthopedics

Ali Daha, MD Pain Management

J. Albert Diaz, MD Orthopedics

Nathan Drummond, MD Orthopedics

Alyson Vokes, DO Obstetrics/ Gynecology

Christopher Casstevens, MD Orthopedics

Andrew Bruyn, DPM Podiatry

Brett Smith, DPM Podiatry

Matthew Crowe, DO Pulmonary/ Critical Care

Teresa Chavez, MD Rheumatology

Ilana Mendelow, MD Urology

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

‘TIS THE SEASON FOR SAVINGS

Lower your water use now and save on your water bill for the entire year! Wastewater averaging is calculated from mid-November to mid-March . It determines a cap on the volume of wastewater you will be billed for each month for the next year.

Find your wastewater averaging period and start saving today!

www.austintexas.gov/department/wastewater-averaging

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

THIS ISSUE

CONTENTS IMPACTS

HIGHLIGHTS FROMTHISMONTH

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Now Open, Coming Soon &more TODO LIST

FROMDEEDA: I’m more excited to turn to ’21 than I was to turn 21 myself, and that is saying a lot! Happy New Year, friends. May 2021 be the year we put words like “social distancing,” “asynchronous learning” and “nger cots” in our rearview mirror as we are once again able to safely drive over to each other’s homes and parties. We are not there just yet, but with multiple vaccines working their way through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process, I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling more hopeful than ever about our future. Stay healthy and keep the faith, y’all! Deeda Lovett, GENERALMANAGER

MARKET TEAM GENERAL MANAGER Deeda Lovett, dlovett@communityimpact.com EDITOR Jack Flagler jagler@communityimpact.com SENIOR REPORTER Nicholas Cicale REPORTERS Olivia Aldridge, Christopher Neely GRAPHIC DESIGNER Miranda Baker ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE Alyssa Cevallos METRO LEADERSHIP PUBLISHER Travis Baker MANAGING EDITOR Amy Denney ART PRODUCTIONMANAGER Haley Grace CORPORATE LEADERSHIP PUBLISHERS AND FOUNDERS John and Jennifer Garrett GROUP PUBLISHER Traci Rodriguez EXECUTIVE EDITOR Joe Warner John and Jennifer Garrett began Community Impact Newspaper in 2005 in Pugerville, Texas. The company’s mission is to build communities of informed citizens and thriving businesses through the collaboration of a passionate team. Today we operate across ve metropolitan areas providing hyperlocal, nonpartisan news produced by our full-time journalists in each community we serve. BECOMEA#COMMUNITYPATRON CREATIVE DIRECTOR Derek Sullivan SALES DIRECTOR Tess Coverman WHOWE ARE

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Local events and things to do TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES 12 Capital Metro starts capping fares for some transit riders

FROMJACK: The pandemic has disrupted most everything in 2020, but Austin’s development and growth does not seem to be slowing down. In this month’s issue you can read about a planned $1 billion project at a busy intersection in South Austin, planned for years down the road. Before a shovel hits the dirt, the owners of the property will be going through a long approval process—negotiating with city planners, council members and neighborhood residents over the course of years. We will be staying with this one from the beginning of the process to the end, hopefully long after COVID-19 has passed us by. Jack Flagler, EDITOR

EDUCATION BRIEFS

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Noelita Lugo, Lynn Boswell win AISD board of trustees runo elections CITY& COUNTY

19 Dripping Springs receives $5.7 million, 300-acre parkland donation DINING FEATURE 21 Poke Poke IMPACT DEALS 26 Local coupons

Our local teams tailor campaigns for all business sizes and industries wanting to reach their customer base and accomplish their nancial goals. Our products ADVERTISEWITHUS

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stay informed and keep businesses thriving. COMMUNITYIMPACT.COMCIPATRON CONTACT US 16225 Impact Way, Ste. 1, Pugerville, TX 78660 • 5129896808 PRESS RELEASES swanews@communityimpact.com SUBSCRIPTIONS communityimpact.com/subscriptions © 2020 Community Impact Newspaper Co. All Rights Reserved. No reproduction of any portion of this issue is allowed without written permission from the publisher.

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CORRECTIONS: Volume 18, Issue 8 An article on Page 19 misstated the number of Austin ISD races on Southwest Austin voters’ ballots. Some voters in the area had two races on the ballot, as portions of AISD’s District 5 boundary extend to Southwest Austin. An article on Page 25 incorrectly listed the owners of Proof Liquor in Buda. Debbie Mylius opened Proof Liquor with her friend Amy Knight and her sister, Sherri Mylius.

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IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

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TM; © 2020 COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER CO. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

NOWOPEN 1 Colton House Hotel , a three-story, 80-suite hotel at 2510 S. Congress Ave., Austin, opened in December with suites including one-, two- or three-bedroom options. This is the second hotel for Inherit Hotel Group after the Guesthouse Hotel opened in Chicago in 2008. Coee and cocktail bar Simona’s is also open. 512-537-6684. www.coltonhousehotel.com 2 Pikopye’s Town, an indoor play space for kids, creative space for work- from-home or stay-at-home parents and boutique toy shop, opened Nov. 1 at 2919 Menchaca Road, Ste. 205, Austin. Owner Leah Reed named the space after Pikopye, her son Micah’s imaginary friend. Only reserved play sessions are being oered to adhere to safety protocols. 512-368-4011. www.pikopyestown.com

SEASONAL SPECIALS BUY 2 JUVEDERM VOLUMA FILLERS Get aVolbella Filler Free $450 VALUE BUYA VI PURIFYACNE PEEL Get a VI Complete CareAcne Free $90 VALUE Winter Specials Available: Winter promotions include Coolsculpting Packages, Skinpen Micro eedle Packages, Acne Treatments, SkinM dica Peels, and more wsc.to/specials BUYANY SKINBETTER PRODUCT Get a Travel Size Free $65 VALUE BUYA SKINCEUTICALS SERUM AND HA INTENSIFIER Get a Triple LipidTravel Size Free $65 VALUE EXPIRES 9/30/18 512-580-8345 | WSC.TO/CI to Schedule a Consultation Stay safe during COVID-19 with virtual telemedicine visits. Call or Book Online. Offering Telemedicine RELOCATIONS 6 Stakes Chiropractic Center opened Nov. 2 at 7413 Old Bee Caves Road, Austin, inside the Oak Hill Healing Arts building. Previously located at 4604 S. Lamar Blvd., Ste. E-101, Austin, the chiropractic oce has been in Austin for 36 years. 512-892-2160. www.stakeschiropractic.com 7 Urology Austin, a health care provider that oers standard urology services for men and women and treats emergency conditions, relocated its South Austin services Dec. 14 to a new oce at 608 Radam Lane, Austin. The oce is the new home for the practices previously located at 4007 James Casey St., Ste. C-150 and 4207 James Casey St., Ste. 107, Austin. Urology Austin has 17 oces across Central Texas. 512-443-5988. www.urologyaustin.com

MilkRun , a service that delivers dairy and food from local farms directly to customers, launched in Austin on Nov. 23. The service started in Oregon in 2018. Customers can choose a meat or produce box, then add on additional items—the goods come from local vendors such as Shirttail Creek Farm, Texas Coee Traders and Easy Tiger. www.localmilkrun.com COMING SOON 3 ArborView pushed back its scheduled opening from January to March 1, according to Property Manager Erika Lopez. The active living community for ages 62 and over is under construction at 12100 Archeleta Blvd., Austin, with 151 total units. ArborView is owned by Circle C Ranch resident Bob Ruggio. 512-858-6984. www.arborviewlife.com

4 Pinthouse Pizza began hiring for its future taproom in Southeast Austin at 2201 E. Ben White Blvd., Austin, on Nov. 30. The project was originally announced in April 2019, and although an ocial opening date has not yet been shared, it is expected to open in early 2021. The locally owned brewpub also has locations in Round Rock and in Austin on Burnet Road and South Lamar 5 Miami-based doughnut shop The Salty Donut announced Dec. 5 that it will open its rst Central Texas location at 2000 S. Congress Ave., Austin, across from Magnolia Cafe, this spring. The Florida chain oering gourmet doughnuts held a pop-up event at its future location Dec. 11-13 to celebrate the announcement. www.saltydonut.com Boulevard, respectively. www.pinthousepizza.com

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE

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Colton House Hotel

The Salty Donut

COURTESY COLTON HOUSE HOTEL

COURTESY THE SALTY DONUT

NAME CHANGE 12 Lewis Family Medicine rebranded and opened as Balderas Family Medicine on Nov. 1. The practice, located at 5424 W. Hwy. 290, Ste. 101, Austin, is led by Dr. Dagoberto Balderas. 512-634-4400. www.balderasfamilymedicine.com NEWMANAGEMENT 13 Westbank Pediatrics , which has been an Austin-based medical team for 20 years and is led by Dr. Durdana Malik, is now part of the Texas Children’s Pediatrics team. Texas Children’s Pediatrics announced Westbank Pediatrics as the health provider’s 10th Austin location Dec. 8. Texas Children’s Pediatrics Westbank Pediatrics is located at 4207 James Casey Blvd., Ste. 111, Austin. 512-444-9800. www.texaschildrenspediatricsaustin.org IN THE NEWS 14 Silicon Valley-based technology company Oracle announced Dec. 11 it will move its headquarters from California to Austin. The company did not announce how many jobs the move will create in the local area, but Laura Human, CEO of the Austin Chamber, said she expects an increase in local employment. Today, Oracle has about 2,500 existing employees at its Austin oce o Lakeshore Boulevard at 2300 Oracle Way, Austin. In 2018, when the oce opened, founder Larry Ellison said he expected to eventually have 10,000 employees in Austin. 737-867-1000. www.oracle.com

8 VIP Chiropractic Care relocated to 4309 S. First St., Austin, on Dec. 5. Previously located at 1221 W. Ben White Blvd., Austin, the South Austin practice run by Dr. Glen Wilkinson oers chiropractic adjustments to treat existing conditions and prevent recurring pain and illness. 512-809-1113. www.vipchiropractic.care ANNIVERSARIES 9 Shop 34 Wine & Spirits celebrated ve years in business Dec. 4. The local liquor store at 4601 Southwest Parkway, Ste. 100, Austin, was co-founded by Ricky Williams, the former Heisman Trophy-winning running back at the University of Texas whose No. 34 jersey is retired by the Longhorns. It sells local and national beer, wine and liquor brands. 512-584-8656. www.34wineandspirits.com 10 Austin’s Pizza ’s location in Southpark Meadows at 9900 S. I-35, Bldg. M, Ste. 100, Austin, celebrated 10 years in South Austin in November. The local pizza chain has been owned by Murphy Adams Restaurant Group since 2018 and oers pizzas, pizza rolls, wings and salads for takeout and delivery. 512-717-8766. www.austinspizza.com 11 Graceland Grocery , a small grocery store and espresso bar, celebrated ve years in Southwest Austin at 8600 W. Hwy. 290, Austin, on Nov. 24. The grocery store oers snacks, beer and wine, produce, bread and fresh coee drinks. Metcalf Barbecue operates an outdoor restaurant on-site and oers breakfast tacos at Graceland. 512-301-8552. www.gracelandgrocery.com

Armadillo Den is situated on a 3-acre property on Menchaca Road.

COURTESY MANCHACA ENTERTAINMENT GROUP

FEATURED IMPACT NOWOPEN Joining the likes of Moontower Saloon and South Austin Beer Garden along Menchaca Road, Armadillo Den opened Dec. 10, oering both an indoor bar and outdoor entertainment area. Armadillo Den is situated on a 3-acre property at 10106 Menchaca Road, Austin, and, according to a news release by developer Manchaca Entertainment Armadillo Den features a full bar, 18 beers on tap and four draft cocktails. For live music and entertainment, the business will have a total capacity of 1,500 for performances in the future once COVID-19 safety restrictions are lifted, according to the release. Outdoor seating is located throughout the property, allowing guests to spread out during COVID-19, according to the release. Customers are asked to wear face coverings when they are not seated, wash hands often and use the hand sanitizing stations on the property. The property will also feature two food trucks: Ranch Hand, Group, includes a two-story, 8,250-square-foot indoor bar.

which serves salads and protein bowls, and Tex-Mex truck Pueblo Viejo. The project was a combined eort by locals Rick McMinn, Josh Hazzard and Brett Berry, who, according to the release, have more than 20 years’ experience creating businesses in the hospitality industry. “Armadillo Den has been four years in the making, and our shared goal was to make this project a great space for sta and patrons alike,” Berry said in the release. 512-993-2998. https://armadillodenaustin.com

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE

REGIONAL IMPACT

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1 gures were not immediately available, but Welch said the site plan would include 557 parking stalls. COMING SOON Amazon will build a roughly 1-million-square-foot warehouse distribution center on 71 acres in north San Marcos at Fortuna Road and Yarrington Road, across from the Hays County Transportation Department, according to city documents and City Council members. The project will come online in roughly nine months, said Jim Welch vice president of Pape-Dawson Engineers Inc., the engineering rm leading the project. Potential employment

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NOWOPEN 1 Ascension Seton Dripping Springs Health Center held a grand opening Nov. 12. Located at

4 WellMed at Dripping Springs held a grand opening Dec. 15 in Belterra Village, 165 Hargraves Drive, Bldg. 100, Ste. S-100, Dripping Springs. WellMed— which has a network of doctors and practices across the country—serves as a primary care clinic for older adults and focuses on promoting healthy lifestyles, preventive care, and identifying early risks of illnesses and conditions. 737-243-7756. www.wellmedndadoctor.com COMING SOON 5 Happy Hound Pet Salon , a dog-grooming company with a storefront under construction at 421 Sportsplex Drive, Dripping Springs, is scheduled to open in February, according to General Manager Alan Daves. A website has not yet been set up. 512-587-6297 RELOCATIONS 6 After temporarily closing in October due to Hays County code violations related to site development, Dripping Springs Drive-in Theater reopened in November and relocated to the Twisted X Brewing Co. property located at 23455 RM 150, Dripping Springs. Tickets for showings can be purchased on the business’s website. The drive-in originally opened Sept. 2 at 30291 RR 12, Dripping Springs. 512-394-4264. www.drippingspringsdrivein.com

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249 Sportsplex Drive, Ste. 204, Dripping Springs, the oce is led by physicians Brian Jameson and Catherine Edwards. The Dripping Springs location will serve as a primary care oce, oering annual checkups, minor acute care and preventive care to the community. Jameson said the goal is to introduce more specialty services—including urology and cardiology—over time or on a rotation. 512-324-9570. https://healthcare.ascension.org 2 Two Texas wine producers, C.L. Butaud and Wine For the People , opened a joint tasting room at 12345 Pauls Valley Road, Dripping Springs, on Dec. 4. Located within the former home of Argus Cidery, the tasting room will oer wine ights, wine by the glass and bottle, and wine to go as well as charcuterie boards. Due to COVID-19, masks are required when not drinking, and reservations are being taken for indoor seating, with open, socially distanced outdoor seating available on the property. www.wineforthepeople.com, www.clbutaud.com 3 Crosst Second Wave opened Nov. 7 at 421 Sportsplex Drive, Unit A, Dripping Springs. The business oers group tness classes using CrossFit techniques as well as open gym access and personal training services. 512-829-5223. www.crosstsecondwave.com

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

December & January events

Get instant listing alerts, save your favorites, share comments with your co-buyer and see sold prices on the new realtyaustin.com.

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DEC. 0131

4617 Foster Ranch Rd, Austin, TX 78735 Mahshid Caras | 512-825-8483

13331 Bradshaw Rd, Austin, TX 78747 Carrie Mendez | 512-784-9020

STROLL SOUTH CONGRESS

Music Lane and the South Congress Avenue Shopping District have been decorated for the holidays since Black Friday, and nightly holiday-themed activities and live music will take place through Dec. 31. Masks are strongly encouraged at all times. Hours vary. Free. South Congress Avenue between West Johanna Street and East Riverside Drive. www.musiclaneatx.com/socostroll (Courtesy Music Lane)

at 7 p.m. 23490 RR 12, Driftwood. 512-858-4314. www.mercerdancehall.com 31 STREAMING CONCERT TO SUPPORT ACL LIVE Recording artist Lucinda Williams will be performing a livestreamed show playing Rolling Stones tribute covers to raise funds for independent music venues around the country, including ACL Live in Austin. The Dec. 31 show is the nal one in a series Williams put on this year. 7 p.m. $25-$40. 877-534-9849. www.acl-live.com 31 AUSTIN’S ALL VIRTUAL NEWYEAR Eight local bands perform a virtual New Year’s Eve concert in a presentation hosted by the city of Austin and the Austin Convention Center. The event can be viewed on the city’s YouTube, Facebook and Instagram accounts, as well as on cable Channel 6 and www.atxn.tv. Viewing times have not yet been posted but will be announced by Dec. 28. www.austintexas.gov/department/ austins-new-year JANUARY 13 THEDEERPERFORMSVIRTUALLY The Long Center launched a free, virtual concert series called “Good Vibes Only” in December, and local indie-folk band The Deer performs in the third installment in a livestreamed show from the Long Center’s Rollins Theater. 7 p.m. Free. 512-474-5664. www.thelongcenter.org 26 A CONVERSATIONWITH PRINTMAKERS As part of the PrintAustin art fair, the Blanton Museum of Art facilitates a virtual conversation with professional print artists Annalise Gratovich and Pepe Coronado. Genevra Higginson, curator of an upcoming Blanton printmaking exhibit, will host the discussion. 5 p.m. Free. 512-471-5482. www.blantonmuseum.org

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE DECEMBER 01 THROUGH JAN. 03 LUMINATIONS Lady Bird Johnson Wildower Center presents its winter light event, Luminations, through Jan. 3. Visitors walk a one-way path to view audio and visual art installations through the Texas Arboretum. 6-9 p.m. daily; closed Dec. 24, 25 and 31 and Jan. 1. Free (ages 4 and under), $10 (ages 5-17), $18 (ages 18 and up) with discounts for members. 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin. www.wildower.org 01 THROUGH JAN. 03 DRIVETHRU TRAIL OF LIGHTS Austin’s annual holiday lights display continues for an extended run this year through Jan. 3. The event switched to a drive-thru format due to COVID-19 and is closed Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year's Day and nights in which it hosts private events. $25-$35 (general admission). Zilker Park, 2208 Lou Ne Road, Austin. www.austintrailoights.org 01 THROUGH JAN. 03 MAYWALDHOLIDAY LIGHTS The Southwest Austin home is decorated each year with holiday lights and displays. Visitors park and walk to the property, which is open nightly through Jan. 3 except when raining. Free, but visitors are asked to make a donation to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. 6-10 p.m. 10505 Twilight Vista, Austin. https:// maywaldchristmasdisplay.weebly.com 31 WELDONHENSON PERFORMANCE Mercer Dance Hall regular Weldon Henson returns to perform a New Year’s Eve show that begins at 8 p.m. and runs through midnight. Seating is on a rst- come, rst-served basis, but tables can be reserved starting at $50. Doors open

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$474,900

$260,000

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1 bds

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6806 Meadow Cir, Austin, TX 78745 Johnny Ronca | 512-797-0965

604 N Bluff Dr #220, Austin, TX 78745 Amy Whitston | 512-663-6759

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$485,000

$454,000

4 bds

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3 bds

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2,575 sq ft

8211 Spring Valley Dr, Austin, TX 78736 Holly McCormick | 512-699-5590

7713 Kiva Dr, Austin, TX 78749 Betsy Gallagher | 512-431-8265

ACTIVE UNDER CONTRACT

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realtyaustin.com/p/3851024

realtyaustin.com/p/5806984

$385,000

$360,000

3 bds

2.5 ba 1,887 sq ft

3 bds

2 ba

1,292 sq ft

8205 Belclaire Ln, Austin, TX 78748 Kelli Whirlow | 512-470-2992

2509 Star Grass Cir, Austin, TX 78745 Elizabeth Reese | 512-589-9813

ACTIVE UNDER CONTRACT

ACTIVE UNDER CONTRACT

realtyaustin.com/p/4485795

realtyaustin.com/p/2055732

$275,000

$265,000

2 bds

2 ba

1,353 sq ft

3 bds

1 ba

938 sq ft

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.

9201 Brodie Ln #3201, Austin, TX 78748 Raymond and Catherine Team | 512-297-5133

807 Eberhart Ln, Austin, TX 78745 Greenleaf Team | 512-695-8739

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Capital Metro starts programto cap fares for transit riders

Capital Metro oers riders who use public transportation frequently a discount if they buy a pass rather than paying ride by ride. The system rewards those who use public transportation often and encourages commuting by bus or rail. However, those who cannot aord the upfront cost ultimately pay more to use transit than those with the means to aord a pass. A pilot program that began in October and will run for six months aims to address that inequity. Capital Metro will track rides for up to 200 participants who pay by individual ride and automatically cap them daily and by month. That means if a customer takes a third ride on public transportation in one day, it is free because that individual has already exceeded the $2.50 fare for a day pass. Also, if a customer pays ride by ride and hits the cost of a monthly pass within a 31-day period, they will ride for free for the rest of the month. Participants can sign up online at Capital Metro’s website for the initiative if they are already enrolled in certain public aid programs. After the initial program ends, Capital Metro Chief Financial Ocer Reinet Marneweck said the organization hopes to

expand it to wider use. Other cities have put similar initiatives in place: Houston gives unlimited rides starting with the third trip of the day. Portland gives a day pass to anyone who spends $5 in a day and a month pass to anyone who spends $100 monthly, and Indianapolis caps fares at $4 daily and $15.75 weekly. The new initiative is part of a $30 million investment in technology systems Capital Metro is planning over the next four years as part of Project Connect, the $7.1 billion transit plan voters approved Nov. 3. In addition to the fare-capping system, Capital Metro has added new technology for customers who do not have a credit card or do not want to use one. Those individuals can load their account with cash using Capital Metro’s app on their phone by presenting a bar code at retail stores such as 7-11, CVS, Dollar General and Family Dollar. The two new programs, according to Marneweck, cost a combined $133,230. Future planned initiatives include smart cards customers can reload, as well as onboard fare readers that allow customers to tap their credit cards without having to download the app or use cash.

Capital Metro started a pilot program to cap fares for certain users this fall. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)

CAPPING COSTS Capital Metro offers passes to reduce the price of public transportation trips for frequent users. However, those who cannot afford the upfront pass cost end up paying more in the end. The chart breaks down the price of a monthly pass versus 40 individual trips—or two per day on five days per week. A pilot program is capping fares for up to 200 of those individuals. 31-day pass 40 single rides

$150 $120 $90 $60

$30

$0

Local buses

Commuter bus and rail

SOURCE: CAPITAL METRO/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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ONGOING PROJECTS 1 Southwest Parkway to be under construction through February A project to replace the base street layer and apply a new surface to Southwest Parkway east of William Cannon Drive started Nov. 9 and will continue for about three months. Construction crews are working on both eastbound and westbound lanes, and some lane closures will be in effect. However, Austin Public Works said in a news release that vehicles will continue to have access to the road in both directions while work is occurring. Timeline: November 2020-February 2021 Cost: $7.3 million Funding source: 2018 city of Austin bond COMPLETED PROJECTS 2 Bike and pedestrian path along Sawyer Ranch Road opens to the public One of the first projects funded by the transportation bond Hays County voters approved in 2016 has opened to the public. A 10-foot-wide shared-use path that stretches for more than a mile along Sawyer Ranch Road opened Oct. 23. In a virtual ribbon-cutting posted to YouTube on Nov. 6, Hays County Commissioner Walt Smith said the shared-use path was designed to accommodate both pedestrians and cyclists. “This was an important safety project for the county with the opening of the Sycamore Springs Elementary and Middle schools in 2017,” he said. “This path is just one step to enhance safety and improve connectivity for the community.” The 2016 bond authorized $131.4 million for projects throughout the county. Timeline: February-October 2020 Cost: $139,000 Funding source: 2016 Hays County bond

FUTURE PROJECTS 3 Public weighs in for second time on major I-35 project in South Austin Construction is scheduled to begin on a $300 million I-35 improvement project in 2022 that will add two managed lanes for public transportation, car pools and van pools along an 8-mile stretch of the highway in South Austin between Ben White Boulevard and SH 45 SE. As the construction date approaches, the Texas Department of Transportation is in the process of choosing a design and going through a federal environmental review process. The agency received public comment from residents in a virtual open house Dec. 3-18. Late in 2021, TxDOT plans to finalize the detailed design for the project. Previously, an open house was held in October 2019, allowing open feedback from the public. TxDOT said it made some changes based on that feedback, including elevating the managed lanes between Ben White Boulevard and Slaughter Lane, widening the I-35 frontage roads to three lanes in each direction south of Slaughter, adding 2.5 miles of auxiliary lanes for entering and exiting traffic, and constructing braided northbound entrance and exit ramps at Slaughter. This is one of three managed lane projects totaling $5.6 billion TxDOT is scheduled to take on along I-35 through the Austin area spanning Williamson, Travis and Hays counties between SH 45 SE and SH 45 N. Public comment on the central portion, running through downtown Austin, is open through Dec. 31. Timeline: construction scheduled to begin in 2022 Cost: $300 million Funding source: TxDOT

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Austin & Dripping Springs ISDs

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HIGHLIGHTS DRIPPINGSPRINGS After winter break ends Jan. 5, Dripping Springs ISD staff are discussing a grace period that would let those signed up for in-person learning to go virtual for two weeks, allowing students to quarantine after the holidays. The policy had not yet been approved as of Dec. 18. AUSTIN ISD A new building on the Blazier Elementary School campus for fourth through sixth graders opened Dec. 4. The $50 million facility at 8801 Vertex Blvd. Austin, is part of a plan to have pre-K to eighth-grade students on the Blazier site. Austin ISD board of trustees Board information sessions: second Thursday at 6 p.m.; voting meetings: fourth Thursday at 7 p.m. www.austinisd.org Dripping Springs ISD board of trustees Agenda review: third Monday at 6 p.m.; voting meetings: fourth Monday at 6 p.m. Meetings are being held virtually, not in person MEETINGSWE COVER

Two newAustin ISD school board members elected inDec. 15 runoff

DEC. 15 RESULTS Two new trustees were elected in Austin ISD on Dec. 15. Candidates received the following vote totals: Lynn Boswell

4,030

AUSTIN ISD Lynn Boswell and Noelita Lugo have earned spots on the Austin ISD board of trustees after successfully winning runoff elections Dec. 15. In the District 5 race to represent Central Austin and part of Southwest Austin, Boswell earned 54.83% of all votes cast, defeating Jennifer Littlefield. While maintaining a high standard for education as the COVID-19 pandemic continues will be a top priority heading into 2021, for District 5 specifically, Boswell said addressing aging buildings in Central Austin and improving academic offerings at her schools will be an emphasis. She campaigned with a message to give the area more of a voice in districtwide conversations. “Part of why I ran was really to make sure that District 5 was a big part of the conversation about equity in our district,” she said. “I

don’t think District 5 has been as actively engaged as a lot of people who live there want. [Education] is a conversation everyone in town needs to be a part of to have a sense of what’s happening elsewhere. I think it’s a better city for all of us when we get that right.” For the Place 8 seat, an at-large position representing the entire district, Lugo trailed in early voting but edged Leticia Moreno Caballero after a strong Election Day showing. The two trustees elected Dec. 15 join two other new faces on the board. District 3 trustee Kevin Foster and District 2 trustee Ofelia Maldonado Zapata won their respective general elections in November and officially were sworn onto the board of trustees in December. “There’s lots of work to be done, but I see this [election of four new

Jennifer Littlefield

3,320

Noelita Lugo

19,426

Leticia Moreno Caballero

17,824

SOURCE: TRAVIS COUNTY CLERK/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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board members] as a really pivotal moment in our city and our school district’s history” Lugo said.

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News from Austin & Dripping Springs ISDs

Austin ISDgrants 5.86% ofmedical exemptions to sta for spring semester

The school is located on a 155-acre property. (Courtesy Dripping Springs ISD)

AUSTIN ISD The district has granted exemptions to 75 of 1,280 employees who requested the ability to work virtually for the upcoming spring semester due to COVID-19 risks, or 5.86%, according to data the district provided Dec. 14. AISD medical exemptions giving permission to work remotely are granted to individuals who are immuno- compromised and considered more susceptible to contract- ing COVID-19, according to federal and local guidelines. At a Dec. 7 meeting, Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said the process to approve work-from-home accommodations for the spring was dierent from in the fall, when the vast majority of requests were approved, because AISD schools opened

campuses to all students who requested to learn in person, resulting in more teachers needed on campus. According to Elizalde, administrators are working with those who make requests to explain the decision or provide alternate accommodations, and an appeals process is in place. AISD trustee Yasmin Wagner said that while the district may have given out approvals too liberally in the fall, it seems that through the new process “the pendulum has swung too much the other way.” “At a certain point, I think we need to rally around those individuals and getting them the help they need, even if it means making a sacrice like moving a student to a dierent classroom,” she said.

DRIPPING SPRINGS ISD The district is asking residents to help name its fth elemen- tary school, which is expected to open for the 2021-22 school year. According to a district news release, a committee is creating a list of three recom- mendations to propose to district trustees Jan. 25. Name suggestions can be submitted to the committee online through Dec. 31. A March 2019 demographics report shows a 63.7% projected increase in DSISD elementary students over the next decade. In June, DSISD broke ground on the new ele- mentary school, located just south of the intersec- tion of Darden Hill Road and Sawyer Ranch Road. The school will house up to 850 students and will cost $37.5 million, funded through a 2018 bond. Dripping Springs ISD seeking input to name next school

After Austin ISD opened campuses for all students asking to return this spring, it declined the vast majority of teacher requests to work remotely.

REQUESTS DENIED

S C H O O L S TAT S 850

$ 37.5M cost

Approved

Denied

110,000 square feet

1,244

Fall

capacity

66

155 -acre property

75

Opening

Spring

AUG. 2021

1,111

SOURCE: AUSTIN ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

SOURCE: DRIPPING SPRINGS ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Teachers next in line to take COVID19 vaccine after health careworkers

AUSTIN ISD The rst shipments of the COVID-19 vaccine arrived at health care facilities across the state beginning Dec. 14, and health care workers began receiving shots the next day. After the rst phase of vaccine distributions to health care professionals, teachers will be one of the next priority groups, alongside other essential workers, in Phase 1B of the state’s vaccine rollout plan. “We know that the vaccine is here, but we know it is still months away

from when we will all be able to benet,” Austin ISD Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said during the district’s Dec. 14 board meeting. “We did get news that our teachers will be in the second phase because [the state knows] how important our teachers are to our schools. The lobbying that we did collectively, our voices were heard.” According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Phase 1A includes getting the vaccine to health care workers. A

draft of a Phase 1B plan includes teachers, long-term care residents, law enforcement, reghters, adults age 65 and older, and those individuals with medical conditions that put them at a greater risk. Phase 1B is expected to begin in early 2021, depending on the availability of vaccines after Phase 1A is completed, according to AISD spokesperson Eddie Villa. According to DSHS, there are 1.6 million health care workers in the state included in Phase 1A.

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • DECEMBER 2020

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