The Austin Chronicle

Meet and Greet the Mayor

By Michael King, July 8, 2013, 12:01pm, Newsdesk

Although City Council is informally on hiatus until August – and several members annually spend at least a couple of weeks in cooler climes – the work goes on in steamy Austin. This week features a Council “meet and greet” with former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley: Tuesday, Council Chambers, 1pm

Daley is now executive chairman of Tur Partners LLC, whose cryptic name, according to its web site, designates “an investment and advisory firm that partners with global businesses to drive expansion into new and existing markets." But Tur apparently has its fingers in a number of municipal pies, and elsewhere is described as sometimes engaged in consulting on “sustainable development.” That’s its current task in Austin, where it was hired to help the Parks and Recreation Department develop a “long-term plan” for the city’s Downtown parks. Daley is in town to mark the release of the first fruit of that project, a report titled “Town Lake Metropolitan Park Redevelopment Study.”

According to the report, the “Auditorium Shores Improvements Project will be led by PARD, actively coordinated with the Austin Parks Foundation and C3 Presents, the organizer of the Austin City Limits Festival, and also outside consultants. … APF is current working with advisory firm Tur Partners LLC, in close connection with PARD and the City of Austin, on a comprehensive analysis of city plans, policies and initiatives relating to Austin’s Public Park System, with a particular focus on long-term redevelopment plans for Town Lake Metropolitan Park.”

The project, which begin in late 2012, is intended to help create “a long-term vision and execution plan for developing Town Lake Metropolitan Park." The current report provides “preliminary findings”; the final report, to be issued in April of 2014, “is intended to act as a suggested road map for the city of Austin in developing Town Lake Metropolitan Park into a best-in-class facility that serves as a parks centerpiece for the city as a whole."

NewsDesk expects we’ll learn more this week during the meet-and-greet, and we’ll have more to say about the report in due course. But it already raises one question: Shouldn’t the former Democratic Mayor of Chicago know that the name of that body of water in the middle of Downtown Austin is "Lady Bird Lake"?

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