Public Notice: What a Difference a Year Makes
Election news, and your city at work
So, phew, the local bond packages passed, so public education as we know it will continue in Austin, Texas, at least. And other results around the state and across the nation are encouraging, so, well, things are better than a year ago on that front, at least. So ...
While we wait to see what magical new piece of Downtown land the acting city manager is able to find to bring Major League Soccer to Austin (see Soccer Watch, Nov. 10, or "All Aboard the Soccer Train," March 28, 2014); and while critics and city officials observe a brief cease-fire from taking potshots at CodeNEXT v2.0 – only because that target has been taken off the shooting range for a month while staff prepares v3.0 – here are a couple of other things your city wants you to weigh in on:
It's been no secret for swimmers, or anyone with kids, that Austin's public pools have been having troubles. Not just trouble getting enough lifeguards, but aging infrastructure; more and longer closures, with some pools now shut for whole seasons. But it's a system Austin is proud of, and has shown support for, and there is a lot of work ongoing and in the pipeline. To address the longer range, the Austin Parks & Recreation Department has been working toward the Swim 512 Aquatic Master Plan since 2014, and has completed a draft plan, to be delivered to City Council in December. The Aquatic Master Plan Task Force has two public meetings this month to take feedback before they finalize their recommendations. For best results, see the project website at www.austintexas.gov/swim512 before attending:
Tue., Nov. 14, 1:30pm, Carver Museum, 1165 Angelina;
Wed., Nov. 29, 5pm, Lamar Senior Activity Center, 2874 Shoal Crest.
Brownie Neighborhood Park is a little-used strip of greenspace just northwest of Rundberg and I-35, nestled behind a gas station/convenience store. There's one playscape there now, but in 2014, PARD acquired the empty land to expand the park from two acres to 7.8 acres, and now, in conjunction with the North Lamar Combined Neighborhood Plan Contact Team, is starting a master planning process to "provide a vision for the future development of the park." PARD will host the first of several public input sessions to begin the process on Sat., Nov. 18, 1:30-3:30pm, at the North Austin YMCA, 1000 W. Rundberg.
Five Fun Funding Facts
Bond election tidbits, gleaned from the Texas Open Data Center (data.texas.gov).
• AISD's $1.05 billion bond proposal was the sixth-largest in Texas this century.
• Houston passed a $1.89 billion bond in 2012; Dallas ISD passed a $1.6B bond in 2015, two others for $1.37B in 2002, and $1.35B in 2008; and Cypress-Fairbanks passed a $1.21B proposal in 2014.
• The 40 largest school bond proposals in Texas history all passed.
• Round Rock's $572M package this past May was the largest school bond package ever defeated in Texas.
• Overall, the largest bond ever to fail in Texas was Austin's $600 million rail proposal in 2014; 30 larger props all passed.
RideAustin, your local independent rideshare outfit, is partnering with Bluebonnet Trails Community Services to help veterans get to medical and mental health appointments from North Austin and Williamson County areas. See more info at www.bbtrails.org. Also, as a Veterans Day special, RideAustin has designated a "Veterans" vehicle class, so riders can be matched with a "U.S. military veteran driver as a thank you for their service to our country," while RideAustin donates $1 from each ride to a local veterans' organization. See www.rideaustin.com, or download the app.
Stay. Play. Celebrate! The Austin Humane Society is holding a monthlong celebration of their 65th anniversary, with 20 local businesses hosting events and donating a portion of their proceeds on selected November dates (including Banger's donating 100% from Woof Wursts sales all month long). The month centers around the 12th annual Rags to Wags gala, coming up Sat., Nov. 18, at the Downtown Hyatt (www.ahsragstowags.org). And/or, buy a raffle ticket for a 2017 Mazda6 Touring, donated by Roger Beasley Mazda. Info on that and more at www.austinhumanesociety.org.
Reminder: ACA health insurance enrollment is underway now until Dec. 15; Foundation Communities offers free assistance at their Community Financial Centers, 5900 Airport and 2600 W. Stassney; see www.foundcom.org for hours.