Trying Times for South Austin Community

RECEIVED Tue., Jan. 8, 2013

Dear Editor,
    Re: “Southern Exposure” [News, Dec. 28]: I have been a devoted resident of South Lamar for nearly a decade. Through the vast and rapidly changing projects that have occurred over the years, I have seen the city development as a kind of microcosm of what the entire Central Texas region is undergoing. For every small victory locals have enjoyed here, we’ve had twice as many losses.
    But to be honest, despite the traffic, despite the increase in property prices, despite all of the desolate incompleteness, I have found the growth to be less than offensive. South Lamar has still maintained an influx of local businesses and maintained a few of the beloved ones. And while we've lost a few that cannot be replaced, like Ray Hennig's Heart of Texas Music, the culture of South Lamar doesn’t seem to be in too much jeopardy.
    That is, until very recently, when I received a real estate report from Spyglass Realty filled with info that seemed almost ironic. In the piece entitled “The Future of South Lamar,” they wrote, “And with any major change comes questions. Will South Lamar lose its charm? What will the traffic be like? What is happening to our neighborhood? One concern is that the retail spaces attract tenants like Barley Swine, rather than McDonald's. Like it or not, change is coming.”
    As a part-owner of a small local business myself, it seems to me that this agency is really out of touch with the character of the area. Am I the only South Lamar resident who gets to Barton Springs Road and wonders, “Why the hell do we still even have a McDonald's here?” I know I`m not. So why does Spyglass Realty express this sentiment as if people like myself are the ones saying it? It's fairly insulting and a depressing reminder of not only the shift in scenery, but a gouging of the spirit that used to dwell here.
    These are trying times for people of South Lamar, who have always seen themselves reflected culturally in the environment surrounding them. This packet is just a tiny nail deeper into the Heart of Texas.
Kevin Martin
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