Please note this is an opinion piece.
Below is the update from the Mayor about the Eastern Crescent--and it misses one key component, Northeast Austin. Without including the Northeast corner, the City will miss a critical window to get ahead of some of our transportation and housing issues.
We have a lot of vacant land up in the Techridge area of town (south of Parmer and East of I-35). One of the planks in Ed English's campaign last year was to explore putting dense housing in that area, and then drop rapid buses on Parmer to feed the tech boom that's beginning to happen around the Apple campus out on Parmer, just past Mopac.
This is a very promising idea--especially if Cap Metro could add some more rapid buses, and park and rides, throughout East Austin to connect to Parmer. It would give people in the Eastern part of the City a lot more options than they currently have now, for both jobs and transit.
editor, Love North Austin
UPDATE RE: ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT IN THE ‘EASTERN CRESCENT'
At the May 21, 2015 meeting of Council, regarding the development of a golf course on land at the Walter E. Long Metropolitan Park, the vote was to postpone a decision so that a smaller working could develop a holistic, equitable economic development plan with short/long term goals and timelines to bring back to the Council. A plan that would address equity, access and the economic segregation in the City of Austin and would redress historic, systemic inequities and benign neglect in “Eastern Crescent” of our city.
The working group is composed of Mayor Adler, Council Members Houston, Renteria, Troxclair, and Pool. The “Eastern Crescent” has not been exactly defined for this work, but certainly includes parts of the following Districts: 1, 2, 3, 4, and 7.
The work group has had a planning meeting and a meeting with over 50 individuals to begin a broader conversation. The working group is envisioning an opportunity for the Council to participate in a meeting with the community on September 12. The Travis County Exposition Center Banquet Hall is the tentative location, from 9am – 1:00pm. Save that date.
-Steve Adler, Mayor
Click read more for the rest of the memo.
We plan to cast a wide net to include people who want to tackle issues that have been talked about for 25 years or longer. The list will include people of all persuasions who are directly or indirectly impacted; neighborhood advocates; representatives from school districts and institutions of higher education; business owners; communities of faith; non-profit groups; elected officials; subject professionals; and city staff.
In preparation for the September meeting, council staff is listening to a very diverse number of people. Below, you will find a set of draft questions we are asking 200+ people who represent neighborhoods, education, non-profits, faith communities, business, and government.
The agenda for the September meeting is being developed and it is anticipated it will include a review of the legacy of the intentional policies and practices and the other course of events that have led to economic disparity in Austin’s Eastern Crescent; a review and inventory of the region’s available assets, perspectives from a variety of jurisdictions; a discussion of the status of planned and existing economic development projects and housing and commercial developments; identification of gaps and needs; pinpoint where master plans have been completed and where ones need to be developed; opportunities to leverage and scale existing work; and explore new ideas. We will keep you and others in the loop and apprised of agenda development.
Our goal is to identify options that the Council can use to prioritize action items to address this issue. The working group is committed to starting a process that is actionable and will address the needs of the Eastern Crescent. Our role is to be the bridge between interested parties to identify common goals and ways to execute them; to help focus efforts; and to take advantage of work already completed - no need to re-invent any wheels. We need to get something deliberate and positive done.
Our work is being supported by city staff and staff of the council members on the working group. Please feel free to use Ashton Cumberbatch (firstname.lastname@example.org ) on the Mayor’s staff as a point of contact to the wider working group. We will keep you informed of the progress of the working group with periodic postings. Meanwhile, we solicit your input and suggestions.
Draft questions for stakeholder outreach:
1. Please describe any relevant projects in East Austin that you have planned or are currently working on.
A. Are there any barriers/challenges to their success?
2. What are the most significant opportunities for equitable economic/community development in East Austin?
3. What are the most significant challenges to equitable economic/community development in East Austin?
4. What are some key assets in East Austin, e.g., Airport, Huston-Tillotson, Expo Center?
5. With regard to encouraging equitable East Austin economic development, what does success look like?
6. Who else should we talk to about this initiative?