Naked City

Austin Stories

The city of Austin and Travis Co. have received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to buy up to 799 acres for the Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan. This would bring the BCCP, first created in 1996, to within 2,000 acres of its goal of protecting 30,000 acres of habitat for eight endangered species. The grant came after in-person DC lobbying from county commissioners Karen Sonleitner and Margaret Moore and City Council member Will Wynn. The BCCP received the single largest grant out of the $68 million awarded by F&W to habitat programs in 16 states. -- Mike Clark-Madison

The city's Art in Public Places program could get a shot in the arm under ordinance changes being proposed by the Arts Commission and AIPP staff. The changes would double the allocation for AIPP from 1% to 2% of the budget of city projects; eliminate the current $200,000 cap for each individual art project; and add street and bridge projects to the list of AIPP-eligible projects. The Parks Board, Downtown Commission, and Design Commission have all endorsed the AIPP changes; the Arts Commission will hold a public hearing Monday, Sept. 23 at 6:30pm at the PARD office at Lamar and Riverside. -- M.C.M.

News that's not news: For about the 23rd time, UT-Austin has reached "record enrollment" -- 52,273 students, a 3.3% increase over last year, that makes it the largest single campus in the country. Just under 40,000 of those are undergrads; almost 8,000 are freshmen, the school's largest-ever freshman class. Now you know why you can't find a parking space. Only 1,675 UT students are African-American, and only 272 of those are freshmen -- but that's a 12.4% increase over last year. The current UT student body is 60% white, 14% Asian, 12% Hispanic, and 3.2% African-American. -- M.C.M.

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