Citizen Mary at Work

Highlights of the Activism of Mary Arnold

The following recounts the highlights of Mary Arnold's nearly 30 years of activism on behalf of Austin:

1973: Arnold plays key role in fight to stop UT Regents from selling Lions Municipal Golf Course for commercial development.

1975: Appointed to Austin Goals Assembly, a citizens group that crafted the Austin Tomorrow Plan of 1980, recommending policies for long-term growth and planning.

1978-1984: Serves on city Parks Board, where she made her most forceful arguments against sprawl-inducing Municipal Utility Districts. Also helped enact city landscape, tree preservation, and parkland-dedication ordinances.

1984: Joins Roberta Crenshaw and Susan Toomey Frost in lawsuit against city, challenging a development deal involving city parkland on Town Lake. Mayor Ron Mullen, who had a financial link to the deal, counter-sues the women. Mullen lost re-election six months later.

1984-1989: Appointed to city Planning Commission, rising to chair. Votes against the Terrace, a 1.1 million multi-use development under construction on South MoPac.

1989--1990: Appointed to fill unexpired term on city Water and Wastewater Commission.

1990: Is among 800 people who show up to oppose Freeport-McMoRan's proposed Barton Creek development. The history-making June 7 hearing ends with council rejecting the plan.

1991: A new, so-called R.U.L.E. majority of City Council replaces recently enacted water-quality protection ordinance with a weaker "composite" ordinance. The action fuels calls for a voter referendum.

1992: The Save Our Springs ordinance wins overwhelmingly.

1994: Runs unsuccessfully against City Council member Ronney Reynolds, part of the conservative R.U.L.E. majority.

1995--2000: Stays active in progressive politics, often opposing City Council votes on controversial development deals, including the hotly debated Gary Bradley agreement.

2001: Scores a victory with City Council's rejection of the proposed Lumbermen's development on Town Lake.

2001: Retires from SOS board.

2002: Involved in ongoing development negotiations with Stratus Properties (formerly Freeport-McMoRan); serves as a City Council appointee on a committee to determine environmental impact of LCRA's water pipeline endeavors.

  • More of the Story

  • Citizen Mary

    A Profile of Mary Arnold, Advocate for Austin

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