Naked City

New Year, Old Business

Well-rested and ready to go after their lengthy holiday recess, here's what City Council members plan to do at today's (Thursday) meeting:

Formally accept a $500,000 grant from the National Park Service, as well as funds from the state parks department, to rehabilitate East Austin's Lott Park. The petite green space just east of I-35 -- in the not-so-distant past a notorious drug market -- will be expanded and re-landscaped.

Give its final blessing to the rezonings called for in the Rosewood Neighborhood Plan and the revised billboard ordinance. The latter will require owners hoping to replace existing billboards to do so using smaller signs, and require neighborhood associations to be notified of sign-permit requests.

Tackle Jackie Goodman's proposed changes to the city cultural contracts process -- the annual distribution of hotel bed tax funds to artists via the Arts Commission.

Appoint another of Mayor Gus Garcia's special committees, this one on "K-12 Educational Excellence."

Spend yet another afternoon hearing neighbors complain about the proposed Villas on Guadalupe upscale student apartment complex on the Drag. Area residents have filed a valid petition opposing the Villas' rezoning request due to the project's potential to worsen the neighborhood's current traffic problems, among other things.

And, last but not least, do some post-Christmas shopping for items ranging from ready mix to John Deere tractors to "roll-and-fold" stages for the Austin Convention Center.

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