Town Lake Animal Center: The End of the Beginning of the End

Council moves closer to some resolution of the animal shelter problem, amidst furious protests.

It was just as bloody as expected. A capacity crowd at Thursday's council meeting saw the council make a step towards the closure and demolition of the Town Lake Animal Center and the construction of a new site at the proposed Health and Human Services Campus on Airport.

Mayor Will Wynn had deliberately held back the TLAC debate until 6pm so that more people could attend, and the result was large cheering and jeering sections for the pro- and anti-move camps. They thought they would see some resolution to the current limbo status of the decaying facility. And they did. Kinda.

By a 6-1 vote (Mike Martinez as the sole nay), the council adopted a critically amended version of the resolution. As proposed by Wynn and Mayor Pro Tem Betty Dunkerley, the original language would have instructed the city manager's office to formally begin the process of planning the move to the proposed Levander Loop site. As amended by council member Lee Leffingwell, the resolution now reads that the city manager is to begin planning, but must also look at keeping one structure, the Davenport building, as a smaller satellite adoption center, possibly one of a series. The process is dependent upon the Davenport scheme being workable, and still has to pass through a whole swathe of process, like the planning commission.

140 attendees registered to speak, roughly 2-1 against the plan, but only a fraction made it to the mic due to an imposed time limit of half an hour each side. Depending on which opponents of the move were speaking at what moment, it was a fine plan that just had not been through sufficient consultation, a grand pro-developer conspiracy by city staff, the theft of a valuable West Austin community resource, or the infliction of another vile and unwanted city facility on an already overburdened East Austin that was comparable to re-opening the Holly Power Plant (the latter contradictory stances causing a seemingly baffled but conciliatory Brewster McCracken to exclaim, "it’s either great in both places or bad in both places.”)

And the opponents were dissatisfied with the Leffingwell friendly amendment. As they exited en masse, there were a few cries of "see you in court."

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Austin, City Council, Town Lake, Animal Shelter, Will Wynn, TLAC, Town Lake Animal Shelter

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