Southwest Austin - Dripping Springs Edition - March 2021

T H AT A L M O S T CRASHED THE GRID MINUTES In the wee hours of Feb. 15, a winter storm sent a freeze over Texas, knocking out power supply while demand skyrocketed from Texans trying to keep warm. To save the grid from collapse, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas had to maintain a healthy pulse between supply and demand. So, as supply dipped, ocials at ERCOT had to tell utilities to unplug an unprecedented amount of power. 40 VOLUME 13, ISSUE 12  MARCH 25APRIL 21, 2021 SOUTHWEST AUSTIN DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION

ONLINE AT

60.2 60.1 60 59.9 59.8 59.7 59.6 59.5 59.4 59.3 59.2 59.1 59 0

HEALTHY SYSTEM PULSE

41,421 MW power plant capacity knocked out

ADDITIONAL 1,000 MW of energy unplugged

1,000 MEGAWATTS of energy unplugged

35,343 MEGAWATTS power plant capacity knocked out

ADDITIONAL 2,000 MW of energy unplugged

39,143 MW power plant capacity knocked out

DANGEROUSLY LOW PULSE Can last 9 minutes before system blackout

ADDITIONAL 3,500 MW of energy unplugged

ADDITIONAL 3,000 MW of energy unplugged

In less than 5 minutes , ERCOT ordered utilities to unplug 6,500 MW of customer demand. During the entirety of 2011’s storm and blackout, ERCOT ordered utilities to unplug a total of 4,000 MW.

1:23

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SOURCE: ELECTRIC RELIABILITY COUNCIL OF TEXASCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

Breathing room Dripping Springs ISD will open its fth elementary school this fall and adjust attendance zones. When students start attending Cypress Springs Elementary School, it is expected to relieve overcrowding at other campuses.

FALL 2020

DrippingSprings ISDtodrawnewlinesasfth elementaryschool springsup tomeet growth

102.26% Total elementary school enrollment is 85.84% 91.37% Total elementary school enrollment is estimated to be between FALL 2021

of capacity

BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE

To keep pace, DSISD will open its fth elementaryschool,CypressSpringsElementary School, this fall. With it comes adjusted school zones, which can have a profound impact on students and their families. CONTINUED ON 24

Mirroring explosive growth in the area, Dripping Springs ISD’s enrollment is projected to nearly double by 2028 based on a 2019 demographic analysis by Population & Survey Analysts, or PASA.

of capacity

PHOTO COURTESY BARTLETT COCKE

SOURCE: DRIPPING SPRINGS ISDCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

LOCAL VOTER GUIDE 2021

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10724 Galsworthy Ln, Austin, TX 78739 Ashlie Bailey | 512-568-0736

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7600 Roaring Springs Dr, Austin, TX 78736 Jennifer Henry | 512-217-1887

181 Rock Vista, Austin, TX 78737 Steve Dean | 512-431-5987

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4 bds

2.5 ba 2,596 sq ft

4 bds

2 ba

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3 bds

2.5 ba 3,208 sq ft

3 bds

2.5 ba 1,280 sq ft

5005 Globe Mallow Dr, Austin, TX 78739 Emily Russell | 512-653-7082

4607 Cap Rock Dr, Austin, TX 78735 Betsy Smith | 512-348-5888

8420 Lookout Cliff Pass, Austin, TX 78737 Sarah McAloon | 512-791-7776

4701 Alta Loma Dr, Austin, TX 78749 David Davis | 512-554-8598

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2021

WE’RE HERE TO HELP Winter Storm Recovery and Customer Assistance Effort Winter Storm Uri was tough on Austin, but Austin Water is committed to helping everyone get back to normal. We’ve taken steps to make sure that no one gets hit with a high water bill, even if you dripped your faucets more than usual, or had to deal with a leak from the extended freeze.AustinWater will base your bill for this period on typical water use for this time of year. We’ve also temporarily reduced rates for residential customers, and we’re eliminating fees for late payments or emergency shut-offs. You’ve dealt with enough. You won’t have to deal with a high water bill. Find out more at AustinWater.org .

austinwater.org

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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: Like many children, I’m not a fan of shots. My fear of needles runs deep and explains why I don’t have any tattoos or llers. However, when it’s my turn to get the COVID-19 vaccine, I’ll happily roll up my sleeve. Inside, (see Pages 16-17) read who is now eligible in Texas, and if you’re seeking a couple doses, I hope you get your shot very soon. 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: It is hard to believe that less than two months have passed since winter storms left hundreds of thousands of Austinites without power and water for days, and although it was a once-in-a-lifetime storm, we all want to make sure nothing like that the crisis that followed ever happens again. Read more in this month’s cover story by Christopher Neely. Jack Flagler, EDITOR jagler@communityimpact.com

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2021

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon, relocating or expanding

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SOUTHAUSTIN NOWOPEN

from 10 a.m.-7 p.m. and by appointment only Friday through Saturday. www.themealproz.com 3 Precision Camera & Video opened March 13 at its new location at 9600 S. I-35, Austin, in the Southpark Meadows shopping center. The store offering cameras, video equipment, gear and educational resources originally opened in Austin in 1976. 512-467-7676. www.precision-camera.com 4 Poke Poke owner Jason McVearry has opened Texas Ceviche Co. , a new concept offering ceviche to go. The South Austin restaurant shares a storefront with Poke Poke at 9911 Brodie Lane. Ste. 800, Austin, and opened Feb. 5. 512-243-6771.

future sports complex will include 32 pickleball courts, four volleyball courts, an outdoor music venue, a dog park, food trucks, a bar and yard games with activities including yoga and Pilates also offered. www.austinpickleranch.com 6 Dutch Bros Coffee will break ground on a new location at 9605 Menchaca Road, Austin, this fall. The drive-thru coffee shop’s menu offers cold brews, Americanos, specialty espresso drinks, teas, smoothies and pastries, among others. Dutch Bros Coffee spokesperson Rilynn Davis said the South Austin location is still in the early stages of development, but the goal is to open by the end of next year. Dutch Bros is also working on its first local location in Pflugerville, and hopes to have seven Austin-area drive-thrus by the end of 2023. www.dutchbros.com 7 EDG Coffee , a Nicaraguan coffee producer that sells coffee online and through a home subscription service,

will open a new coffee trailer at 12024 W. Hwy 290, Austin, on March 30. Chelsie Griffith, the trailer’s manager, said the company specializes in ethically sourced beans grown by farmers who are paid above the national minimum wage. The trailer will hold a ribbon-cutting March 30 from noon-1 p.m. where guests will be offered free drip coffee and can participate in a coffee raffle. www.edgcoffee.com 8 The Learning Experience will open a location at 7912 W. Hwy. 290, Austin, this spring. A national brand of early education centers, the academy offers day care and preschool programs for children starting at 6 weeks old up to kindergarten. www.thelearningexperience.com 9 Austin-based chain Twin Liquors will build a new liquor store at the Oaks at Slaughter Shopping Center, which is anchored by the H-E-B at the corner of Slaughter Lane and South Congress Avenue. Located at 8601 S. Congress Ave.,

1 Con Madre Kitchen opened a second location in February at 8906 Brodie Lane, Austin. The restaurant, which has its first location on East Oltorf Street in Austin, offers a menu of breakfast and lunch tacos, burritos, tortas, gorditas, quesadillas and burgers. After a soft opening Feb. 12, the new location closed temporarily due to winter weather and outages, but it reopened Feb. 20, offering online ordering for carryout and delivery. 512-712-8560. www.conmadre.kitchen 2 The Meal Proz —a business selling healthy, prepackaged meals meant to be eaten on the go—opened in January at 7101 W. Hwy. 290, Austin. Meals can be ordered for pickup online or scheduled for delivery. The South Austin pickup location is the business’s third in the Austin area. The store is open Sun.-Thurs.

www.texasceviche.com COMING SOON

5 Austin Pickle Ranch is scheduled to open in Southeast Austin this summer. Located near Goodnight Ranch at 9110 Bluff Springs Road, Austin, the

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE

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Dutch Bros Coee

EDG Coee

COURTESY DUTCH BROS COFFEE

COURTESY EDG COFFEE

Urban Roots planted trees and vegetables at its new Southeast Austin farm in March.

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COURTESY URBAN ROOTS

FEATURED IMPACT COMING SOON Urban Roots , a local nonprot that works to inspire young people through farming and cooking, planted 130 fruit trees and crops on a 6-acre Southeast Austin property in March with the goal of having a rst harvest in the spring of 2022. According to Executive Director Frances Deviney, Urban Roots is planning to also build an administrative building and sta oces at the site in the future as well as a community space and commercial kitchen. The farm is located at 4711 Winnebago Lane, Austin. This is the second farm for Urban Roots, which oers paid opportunities for

individuals ages 14-23 to grow produce that is provided to those in need. Its rst property is located on 3.5 acres in East Austin at 7651 Delwau Lane. 512-750-8019. www.urbanrootsatx.org

The Bungalow

South Park Animal Hospital

COURTESY THE BUNGALOW

COURTESY SOUTH PARK ANIMAL HOSPITAL

Bldg. 1, Ste. 100, Austin, Twin Liquors will start construction on the 3,500-square- foot unit by the end of March, with an expected two-month buildout. The store is expected to open this summer.

second and fourth Saturday of each month from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Bungalow’s Brocante outdoor market features products from local vendors as well as antiques for purchase. Face masks are required at the event. 512-635-7657. ANNIVERSARIES 12 Impact Family Church , located at 2909 W. William Cannon Drive, Austin, is celebrating its 25th anniversary in South Austin this year. The church was founded in January 1996 as World Harvest Outreach Church by Pastors John and Alison Larkam. The church is currently remodeling its building to better serve more individuals. 512-444-5550. www.impactatx.com 13 South Park Animal Hospita l, located at 615 W. Slaughter Lane, Ste. 121, Austin, celebrates 10 years serving the community and pets in April. Marketing Director Leigh Kring said the medical team works to provide low-stress veterinary amenities to pets and recently expanded its footprint to give cats and dogs each

www.twinliquors.com RELOCATION

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10 WindowWorld of Austin is planning to relocate to 5812 Trade Center Drive, Ste. 300, Austin, in May. Currently located at 4150 Freidrich Lane, Ste. J, Austin, the business offers exterior remodeling of windows, sidings and patio doors. Owner Rae Folck said the move will allow the business to have a larger showroom and

their own hospital wings. 512-386-1065. www.southparkaustin.com

5701 W. Slaughter Lane, Austin, will not close. www.drafthouse.com SpaceX, the aerospace manufacturing and transportation company owned by Tesla CEO Elon Musk, is breaking ground on a new manufacturing facility in Austin, according to job postings on the company’s website. Two engineering jobs on SpaceX’s website were tied to Austin. While both were listed as remote positions, information in the job listings link them to an upcoming facility. SpaceX has yet to announce where this new manufacturing facility will be located or if it will be tied to the Tesla gigafactory under construction in southeast Travis County. www.spacex.com

IN THE NEWS 14 Alamo Drafthouse Cinema filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy March 3 and announced the closure of two Texas theaters: Alamo Drafthouse Marketplace in New Braunfels and The Ritz in downtown Austin. Through the filing, the company will sell its assets to a group of investors, including Altamont Capital Partners; Fortress Investment Group; and Tim League, Alamo Drafthouse founder and executive chairman, among others. The South Austin location at

warehouse space. 512-383-1222. www.windowworldaustin.com EXPANSIONS

11 The Bungalow —a boutique that opened last summer at 9410 W. Hwy. 290, Austin, selling home decor, clothing, jewelry and gifts—began offering a twice-monthly outdoor market in March. Held on the

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

IMPACTS

Businesses that have recently opened or are coming soon

COMPILED BY NICHOLAS CICALE

12707 Nutty Brown Road, Austin, in February. The Austin-based brand sells products online and delivers both locally and across the country via USPS rst class and priority mail. 512-537-0816. www.roamhomegrown.com 4 Owners Cindy and Chuck Voelter are taking appointments for VanAddict , a company that builds and designs custom vans. Located at 3994 W. Hwy. 290, Ste. F, Dripping Springs, the business opened March 1 and specializes in converting sprinter vans into vehicles for recreation and business uses. 512-775-7805. www.vanaddict.com COMING SOON 5 H-E-B is planning to build a new supermarket to replace the Nutty Brown Cafe & Amphitheatre, located at 12225 W. Hwy. 290, Austin. According to project details submitted March 5, H-E-B could break ground on a 105,689-square- foot store by March 2022, with a possible seven-month build-out. The construction price tag is listed at $25.8 million. Concerts and events are still scheduled to take place at Nutty Brown through the spring, but events will transition to the new Nutty Brown Round Rock venue once it opens. www.heb.com RELOCATIONS 6 Elevé Cosmetics will relocate its

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agship store to a larger space at 14121 W. Hwy. 290, Ste. 12B, Austin, later this spring. The local cosmetic brand owned by sisters Gertie Wilson and Ginger Averitt opened in 2018 at 8916 Brodie Lane, Ste. 500, Austin, and oers specialty products for lips, eyes, nails and complexion. 512-294-2888. www.elevecosmetics.com CLOSINGS 7 JuiceLand permanently closed its Belterra Village location at 165 Hargraves Drive, Ste. P-300, Austin, in February. The shop, which opened in September 2018, served fresh, cold- pressed juices and blended smoothies as well as acai bowls. JuiceLand still operates 25 shops in the Austin area. www.juiceland.com

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DRIPPING SPRINGS NOWOPEN

2 Code Ninjas opened a Dripping Springs location this winter in the Sententia Vera Cultural Hub coworking space, located at 4002 E. Hwy. 290, Dripping Springs. The business oers programs for children ages 7-14 that teach computer coding, programming and problem solving. www.codeninjas.com 3 Cosmetics and self-care brand Roam Homegrown opened its operations hub at the Nutty Brown Business Park,

1 Archive Rentals opened Jan. 1 at 12707 Nutty Brown Road, Austin. The company uses a design team to select decor for local weddings and other events, which is then rented out for the

occasion. 888-902-5993. www.archiverentals.com

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TODO LIST

March and April events in Austin and Dripping Springs

COMPILED BY JACK FLAGLER

APRIL 01 THROUGH 11

band Asleep at the Wheel on April 10, Nutty Brown’s upcoming slate of shows includes Shakey Graves on April 2, the Josh Abbott Band on April 3 and Bob Schneider April 30 and May 1. 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. $35-$100. 12225 W. Hwy. 290, Austin. www.nuttybrown.com 11 THROUGH 30 VIRTUAL CAPITOL 10K The annual race that began in 1978 returns for its 44th year, but instead of thousands gathering downtown, the race will be virtual. Registrants can run anytime and submit results online. Ten neighborhood routes are available, including one option through the Sunset Valley Nature Area and another that follows along Menchaca Road and Stassney Lane. Race packets, which include a bib number, T-shirt, nisher’s medal and items from sponsors, can be mailed or picked up April 9 and 10 at the Austin American-Statesman , 166 E. Riverside Drive, Austin. $25 (age 10 and under), $40 (age 11 and over). www.cap10k.com 17 THROUGH JUNE 26 MOONTOWER COMEDY SHOWS Nationally touring comedians are coming to Austin for performances across weekends in April, May and June at the Paramount Theatre and Stateside at the Paramount. Performers include Chris Fleming on April 17, duo Thomas Middleditch and Ben Schwartz on May 16, Fortune Feimster on May 21 and Nick Kroll on June 25. The full Moontower Comedy Festival will return in the fall from Sept. 22-25. Times and ticket prices vary. Paramount Theatre and Stateside at the Paramount, 713-719 Congress Ave., Austin. 512-472-5470. www.austintheatre.org

ZACH THEATRE PRESENTS ‘DOWN BY THE RIVERSIDE’ OUTDOOR CONCERT The second installment of the theater’s ongoing “Songs Under the Stars” outdoor series features gospel performances by Roderick Sanford, Janis Stinson, Judy R. Arnold and Tiany Mann featuring the work of Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin and others. The socially distanced performances on the plaza outside the theater are scheduled to continue with more artists through early May. Various times. $25-$55. Zach Theatre, 202 S. Lamar Blvd., Austin. 512-476-0541. www.zachtheatre.org 03 THROUGH04 THE LONG CENTER HOSTS A SOCIALLY DISTANCED SERIES OF PERFORMANCES In collaboration with Luck Reunion, the annual musical event at Willie Nelson’s ranch, The Long Center will be bringing music to the outdoor stage. Nikki Lane and Jade Bird perform with Sir Woman April 3, followed by the Blind Boys of Alabama April 4. Ticket prices vary and are reserved in squares that can include groups of up to four. 6:30 p.m. (Sat.) 2 p.m. (Sun.). 512-474-5664. www.thelongcenter.com 10 ASLEEP AT THEWHEEL PERFORMS AT SOUTHWEST AUSTINVENUE The Nutty Brown Amphitheatre is hosting socially distanced concerts with tables spaced out in the venue and 6 feet of distance maintained between attendees at all times. In addition to longtime locally based country

AUSTIN GILGRONIS RUGBY AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS

MARCH 20 JUNE 12

The Major League Rugby team, which also goes by AG Rugby, will host eight home matches at Bold Stadium. Each date features a dierent theme for fans, and there will be live performances. 7 p.m. Ticket prices vary. Bold Stadium, 9201 Circuit of The Americas Blvd., Austin. www.gilgronis.com

COURTESY AG RUGBY

APRIL 24

WILDFLOWER CENTER HOSTS A CONTAINER GARDENINGWORKSHOP

Patrick Newman, the executive director of the center, hosts this in-person class to teach gardeners about using containers on their patios, balconies or yards. 9 a.m. $60 (materials and plants included). Lady Bird Johnson Wildower Center, 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin. 512-232-0100. www.wildower.org

COURTESY BRIAN BIRZERLADY BIRD JOHNSON WILDFLOWER CENTER

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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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

TRANSPORTATIONUPDATES Park& ride facility at Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center inching closer to reality Local officials are pushing

COMPILED BY JACK FLAGLER

November provided $60 million for park and ride facilities, including the

NEWPARK&RIDES Project Connect, the $7.1 billion transportation plan approved by voters Nov. 3, provided $60 million for nine new park & rides.

one in Southwest Austin. A spokesperson from the public transportation agency said funding from that investment can be in conjunction with partnership agreements with other agencies to fund the new facility. According to the Mobility Authority, the next steps involve staff of Capital Metro, the Wildflower Center and the Mobility Authority meeting to coordinate plans in advance of a possible public meeting. Timeline: TBD Cost: $15 million-$25 million Funding source: TBD

Organization and the Mobility Authority entered into an agreement in 2016 identifying park & ride sites in targeted areas, including the Wildflower Center at 4801 La Crosse Ave., Austin. Mobility Authority board member Nikelle Meade said progress at the Southwest Austin site is overdue. “It feels like we’ve been doing concept design at least at the Wildflower Center for a few years. What is the impediment?” Meade asked Dailey at a Feb. 24 board meeting. Capital Metro’s Project Connect plan approved in

to see action to build a park & ride at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center near MoPac. The Southwest Austin site could serve a dual purpose, according to Central Texas Mobility Authority deputy executive director Jeff Dailey. It could lessen street parking around the Wildflower Center and adjacent Veloway by expanding on-site parking options while also providing a connection to public transportation routes. Capital Metro, the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning

• Loop 360 • McKinney Falls • MetroCenter • Wildflower Center

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SOURCE: CAPITAL METRO/COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

LA CROSSE AVE.

MOPAC

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ONGOING PROJECT 1 I-35 project spanning William Cannon Drive and Stassney Lane still on track to finish mid-year Ongoing work along I-35 spanning the intersections of William Cannon Drive and Stassney Lane is still on schedule to finish in mid-2021. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, winter storms and freezing temperatures that swept the state the week of Feb. 14 did not delay progress on the project, which was originally scheduled to finish by the end of 2020. Crews are continuing work to construct curbs and gutters, pave the main lanes and install shared-use paths. The five-year project includes paving along the stretch of road in South Austin from approximately Boggy Creek to SH 71, reconstruction of the bridges spanning I-35 at Stassney and William Cannon and widening the highway’s main lanes to help drivers merge.

FUTURE PROJECT 2 Feedback open for I-35 project through downtown A massive $4.9 billion project to reduce traffic across the 8-mile stretch of I-35 through downtown Austin is going through the process of gathering public feedback in order to finalize design. A virtual public scoping meeting opened March 11 and will run through April 9, allowing residents to view three conceptual designs for the project and provide their thoughts. This is the second public scoping meeting TxDOT has held—the first was in December. The project will add two nontolled managed lanes to the Central Austin stretch of I-35 for vehicles such as public transit buses, vanpools and carpools. However, there has not yet been a decision on the final design, which could include taking down the upper decks from Airport Boulevard to Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard. Timeline: construction could start in 2025 Cost: $4.9 billion Funding sources: TxDOT, CAMPO

35

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2

35

Timeline: 2016-21 Cost: $78.8 million Funding source: TxDOT

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ALL INFORMATION ON THIS PAGE WAS UPDATED AS OF MARCH 22. NEWS OR QUESTIONS ABOUT THESE OR OTHER LOCAL TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS? EMAIL US AT SWANEWS@COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM.

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2021

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

EDUCATION BRIEFS

News from Austin & Dripping Springs ISDs

BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE AND NICHOLAS CICALE

Austin ISD Board information sessions: second Thursday at 5:30 p.m.; voting meetings: fourth Thursday at 5:30 p.m. www.austinisd.org Dripping Springs ISD Agenda review: third Monday at 6 p.m.; voting meetings: fourth Monday at 6 p.m. www.dsisdtx.us Meetings are being held virtually and not in person. MEETINGSWE COVER Galindo, Palm, Pickle and Widen Elementary schools; Covington, Kealing and Martin Middle schools; Sadler Means Young Women’s Leadership Academy; and the Clifton Career Development School. committed to protocols we have in place to help slow the spread of COVID-19 and to keeping our schools open during this pandemic.” AUSTIN ISD A winter storm that hit Feb. 14 and canceled AISD classes for more than a week could also be responsible for millions of dollars in damages that the district is still in the process of assessing. Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said there are 10 schools in particular that saw substantial damage: Clayton, SCHOOL HIGHLIGHTS TEXAS In response to Gov. Greg Abbott’s decision to lift a statewide mask mandate March 10, the Texas Education Agency said mask policies in public schools are up to the decisions of local boards of education. Austin and Dripping Springs ISDs will continue to require students and staff on their campuses to wear masks and face coverings on campus at all times. “AISD’s guidelines include wearing masks at schools, district events and when on all district properties, social distancing when possible and washing hands frequently,” the district said in a statement. Similarly, Dripping Springs ISD said it “remains

Texas educators noweligible for COVID-19 vaccines

TEXAS Educators and child care workers across the state became eligible to receive coronavirus vaccines March 3. The Texas Department of State Health Services announced the eligibility one day after a federal directive ordered states to make vaccines immediately available to educators, specifically those who work in “pre-primary, primary, and secondary schools, as well as Head Start and Early Head Start programs,” including teachers, staff and bus

drivers. Licensed child care providers are also included in the directive. Educators and school staff throughout Texas had lobbied to be included among the first groups of people vaccinated since the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were authorized by the federal Food and Drug Administration in December. Before the eligibility change, only those teachers who are over the age of 65 or have high- risk medical conditions were able to receive vaccines.

EXPANDING ELIGIBILITY Thousands more Austin-area residents are eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine after the state expanded eligibility to school employees. In addition to school employees, day care workers and substitute teachers are also now eligible to receive the vaccine. TOTAL TEACHERS AND STAFF 11,205 931 Austin ISD SOURCE: AUSTIN ISD, DRIPPING SPRINGS ISD/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER Dripping Springs ISD

2021-22 academic calendar finalized for Austin ISD AUSTIN ISD Students in Austin ISD will begin the 2021-22 school year Aug. 17, and the last day of class will be May 27, 2022, according to the academic calendar approved by the district’s board of trustees Feb. 25. The approved calendar includes 187 teacher contract days and 177 student instructional days—two more instructional days than in 2020-21—to make up for hours lost during the current school year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the district. In terms of holidays, students and teachers will have the day off Sept. 6 for Labor Day, Jan. 17 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day and May 30 for Memorial Day. Other student holidays are set for Oct. 11, Feb. 21 and April 15. Trustees also approved a calendar for the 2022-23 school year with the same holiday breaks, staff development days and overall structure. Both calendars were selected as

Austin ISD staff receive bonus

Austin’s school calendar for the 2021-22 academic year was finalized Feb. 25 by AISD’s board of trustees. 2021-22 AISD DATES TO KNOW

AUSTIN ISD An estimated 11,205 Austin ISD employees received an extra $1,000 on their March 12 paychecks. The district’s board of trustees approved the one- time bonus in an effort to acknowledge the extra efforts and hardships staff have faced as frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. AISD full-time and part-time staff with salaries less than $150,000 received the bonus. Employees categorized as temporary staff and substitute teachers are not eligible, according to the district. Superintendent Stephanie Elizalde said funding for the bonuses came from a surplus in a fund set aside for health insurance accounts.

AUG. 17

first day of school

NOV. 22-26

Thanksgiving break

DEC. 22-JAN. 4

winter break

MARCH 14-18

spring break

MAY 27

preferred options through a survey of 13,700 individuals, including parents, students and staff.

last day of school

SOURCE: AUSTIN ISD/ COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN - DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2021

CITY& COUNTY

News from Hays and Travis counties

As vaccine distribution expands, Austin Public Healthworks through tech issues

CENTRAL TEXAS VACCINEBREAKDOWN

To reach herd immunity, Texas will need between 70-90% of its population vaccinated. Numbers are accurate as of March 22. Fully vaccinated Remaining population 16+

BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE & JACK FLAGLER

Ocials have spoken consistently about the need for better tech infrastructure at every level of public health. “I think one of the biggest failures of public health across the country has been its investment in information technology,” Austin- Travis County interim Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott said March 5. The state has said essential workers will likely gain eligibility this spring, and President Joe Biden has announced plans that all adults will be eligible to receive a vaccine by May 1. People outside the current eligibility criteria have still found ways to get a vaccine. Clinic volunteers and others have received leftover shots at the end of a vaccine event. However, in general, people who are not eligible have been asked to wait their turn. “Yes, it’s an imperfect system ... But I think as a human being, we have to respect the fact that sometimes we can’t be the rst in line,” Escott said March 19. Travis County has more than 350 registered vaccine providers, including pharmacies such as CVS and HEB, hospitals and other medical facilities.

AUSTIN More Austinites are now able to receive COVID-19 vaccines after Texans aged 50-64 became eligible under Phase 1C of the state’s rollout plan, but high demand and technical issues have created hurdles for those signing up for appointments through Austin Public Health. When additional residents became eligible March 15, the county health provider said it already had more than 200,000 people waiting for appointments. Austin Public Health is now releasing vaccine appointments each Monday evening in an eort to simplify the sign-up process, but on March 15 it ran into what it called “massive delays” in a tweet sent at 11:41 p.m. that night. “After working with our vendor for multiple hours, it appears there is no immediate x we can make. Unfortunately, this means we must end scheduling,” read the tweet. Some 2,300 people were able to receive appointments March 15 before scheduling stopped short. After working through the issues, which came from a new program code, APH released more appointments March 18.

Remaining population 16+ 86.82%

Fully vaccinated:

HAYS COUNTY Population 16+:

13.18%

183,380

Remaining population 16+ 88.56%

Fully vaccinated:

TRAVIS COUNTY Population 16+:

11.44%

1.03M

Remaining population 16+

Fully vaccinated:

TEXAS Population 16+:

14.04%

22.42M

85.96%

SOURCE: TEXAS DEPARTMENT OF STATE HEALTH SERVICES COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

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COMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER • COMMUNITYIMPACT.COM

Austin City Council Meets April 8, 22 www.austintexas.gov/department/ city-council Dripping Springs City Council Meets April 13, 20 www.cityofdrippingsprings.com Sunset Valley City Council Meets April 6, 20 www.sunsetvalley.org Travis County Commissioners Court MEETINGSWE COVER Square in downtown Austin. CENTRAL TEXAS Local governments will receive hundreds of millions of federal dollars to provide help their communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, according to U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin, Travis County will receive $247.1 million; Hays County will receive $44.64 million; and the city of Austin will receive $195.8 million as part of the federal American Rescue Plan, which passed in early March. Once local governments receive the funding, they will decide how to allocate the resources. AUSTIN City Manager Spencer Cronk said in a March 22 memo that a permanent replacement for recently retired Austin Police Department Chief Brian Manley should be selected by July or CITY HIGHLIGHTS AUSTIN The Toney Burger Activity Center, located at 3200 Jones Road, Sunset Valley, opened as a drive- thru vaccine site March 20, starting with a pilot program and then expanding to full operations. The Sustainable Food Center temporarily closed its farmers market at the Burger Center in mid-March and moved those vendors to Republic August. Cronk appointed former Assistant Chief Joseph Chacon to serve as an interim replacement.

Local maskmandates remain in place despite statewide repeal

AUSTIN Texans are no longer required to wear masks under state law as of March 10, but Austin and Travis County have opted to continue the enforcement of local mask mandates, a decision they are defending in court against a lawsuit led by Attorney General Ken Paxton. As of March 22, those local orders remain in place pending further hearings in the case. No matter if the orders hold up in court, Chris Cunningham, co-owner of Nervous Charlie’s bagel shop in Austin, said it was a “real easy BY OLIVIA ALDRIDGE & NICHOLAS CICALE

decision” to keep mandatory mask policies in place for both customers and sta. Nervous Charlie’s was one of many Austin restaurants and businesses that posted on social media that masks would still be required after Abbott announced the policy change. An informal survey the Texas Restaurant Association conducted among its members showed 70% will continue to require at least their employees to wear masks to work. Nervous Charlie’s has yet to reopen its dining room. Instead, customers order online and pick up

A sign at Nervous Charlie’s in Austin asks customers to wear masks.

JACK FLAGLERCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

their food outside the front door to take home or dine at one of the outdoor tables on site. “Until essential workers in the service industry get into the vaccination phase, I don’t think we’d consider opening up our dining room,” Cunningham said. “We need to keep our sta safe.”

1,600-plus acre project alongRR 12 under review inDripping Springs

The city of Dripping Springs will consider a development proposal that would build 2,240 new residential units, more than the Belterra and Highpoint communities. DOUBLE L DEVELOPMENT

12

U

BY NICHOLAS CICALE

BGE, outlines uses for a 1,675-acre tract that would encompass both the east and west sides of RR 12 near Dripping Springs Ranch Park. According to the concept plan, lot sizes would vary between 50- and 105-foot widths with dierent areas of the project varying in housing density. Double L Ranch would have 1.34 units per acre. That density would be similar to the Belterra community, which has

DRIPPING SPRINGS A developer is proposing to build 2,240 new residential units north of downtown Dripping Springs. The city’s board of adjustments received a rst presentation March 9, and the development would then have to be approved by City Council. The master concept plan for Double L Ranch, proposed by Houston- based Trend Development and consulting engineer

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SOURCE: TREND DEVELOPMENTCOMMUNITY IMPACT NEWSPAPER

1.3 units per acre, and Highpoint, which has 1.39. Double L Ranch would, however, have more total units than the other projects, making it one of the largest residential communities in the city. The proposal also includes 195 acres

outlined as commercial development, including eight properties designated for retail use, one designated as an oce or hotel concept, and one as a future school site. According to the concept plan, the commercial sites are all located along RR 12.

Meets Tuesdays at 9 a.m. www.traviscountytx.gov/ commissioners-court

  

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SOUTHWEST AUSTIN  DRIPPING SPRINGS EDITION • MARCH 2021

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