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City closures for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Normal business hours will resume Tuesday, Jan. 22.

City of Austin administrative offices and other municipal facilities will be closed Monday, Jan. 21, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Normal business hours will resume Tuesday, Jan. 22.

Closures include City Council offices, City Hall and the entire Austin Public Library system – including the Central Library, Branch Libraries, Recycled Reads and the Austin History Center.

All recreation centers, museums, and cultural arts centers will also be closed for the holiday. All year-round pools, golf courses, and the Austin Animal Center will be operating with normal hours.

Trash, recycling and yard trimmings collection days for Austin Resource Recovery customers will not change. The Recycle and Reuse Drop Off Center (formerly Household Hazardous Waste) will be open on Monday. Austin Resource Recovery administrative offices will be closed.

The Annual MLK Community Celebration and March will take place Monday, Jan. 21, starting at 9 a.m. on the University of Texas campus and ending at the Huston-Tillotson University. For information about the event, transportation options and a map of the march route and affected roadways visit http://austintexas.gov/event/mlk-march-festival.

Residents looking for information about city services are welcome to call 3-1-1. Service requests can also be submitted through the Austin 3-1-1 mobile app.

 

City Announces ‘Box Bazaar’ Small Biz Incubation Finalists

Six Entrepreneurs Rise to the Top and Secure their Spot at the Box Bazaar

On Friday, December 14, a selection panel composed of City staff and East Austin community leaders listened to business pitches from 14 local entrepreneurs all vying for a spot at the City’s upcoming Box Bazaar: Manor Road. In November 2018, 46 businesses applied for a chance to lease a space at the Box Bazaar. In the following weeks, the selection panel reviewed applications and invited the highest-scoring candidates to give a 5-minute pitch of their businesses. Though the panel heard many strong ideas, only six spaces are available for the pilot Box Bazaar project.

Nefertitti Jackmon, Executive Director of Six Square and member of the Box Bazaar selection panel said, “It’s exciting to see people in the community chartering their own path with their passionate and needed business ventures. I hope the incubator space will provide a stepping stone and exposure to experienced and emerging business owners.”

Ora Houston, former District 1 City Councilmember and another member of the Box Bazaar selection panel, echoed the sentiment and said she felt energized by the presentations. “The list is diverse and inclusive,” she added when reviewing the names of the top six finalists. Other panelists included Veronica Briseño – Director of the City of Austin Small and Minority Business Resource Center, Bamidele Demerson – Manager of the George Washington Carver Museum, Cultural & Genealogy Center, and Pinaki Ghosh – former East MLK Combined Neighborhood Contact Team Chair.

The following six candidates were the highest-scoring applicants throughout the process and were offered a space among the first cohort of Box Bazaar tenants:

  • Nailah I Akinyemi-Sankofa, Ɲàma Isé-Ọná
  • Krissi Reeves, High Kick Communications
  • Winston G. Williams, Capital City Black Film Festival
  • Kristen Harper and Michelle Flores, Remodel Boutique
  • tk tunchez, Frida Friday ATX
  • Azena Jones, NomE’ NosRac Fashion Boutique

All finalists will receive business coaching and educational resources throughout their time at the Box Bazaar from the City of Austin Economic Development Department’s Small Business Program.
The Box Bazaar: Manor Road is anticipated to open in early 2019. Opening Day details coming soon.

 

About the Box Bazaar
The Box Bazaar is a temporary neighborhood installation that will activate a piece of city-owned land in East Austin by housing six business incubator spaces for small, local businesses in retrofitted shipping containers and by creating a vibrant neighborhood center with programming designed to benefit the surrounding community.

This City of Austin pilot project aims to bring citywide goals for complete communities, economic opportunity, and equity to life in a yearlong demonstration project – the first of its kind.

The Box Bazaar is a joint effort between many City of Austin departments including Planning and Zoning, Public Works, Development Services, Economic Development, and the Office of Innovation. Stay in touch by signing up to the mailing list and following @imagineaustin on Facebook and Twitter. Explore the project website at austintexas.gov/boxbazaar.

About Imagine Austin
Imagine Austin - the city's comprehensive plan through 2039, was created with input from thousands of Austinites and established a community vision of a city of complete communities where the necessities of life are affordable and accessible to all. Learn more at austintexas.gov/imagineaustin.

About Planning & Zoning Department
The purpose of the Planning and Zoning Department is to provide planning, preservation and design services to make Austin the most livable city in the country. The City of Austin is committed to improving the experience of residents, small businesses, developers and other stakeholders needing these services. The department has undergone an extensive process to lay the groundwork to making necessary changes for Austin's future. For more information, visit http://austintexas.gov/department/planning-and-zoning.

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City Announces 2019 Spring Festival Application Deadline

Event planners encouraged to apply now

Austin Center for Events (ACE) is implementing a new deadline for temporary permit applications in anticipation of a busier than normal Spring Festival Season next year.

Applications for special events being planned during Spring Festival 2019 (March 8 to March 17) must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday February 8.

ACE defines Spring Festival Season as the time period from early to mid-March with a high concentration of events in and around downtown core including the South by Southwest (SXSW) Conference, festivals, and associated events as well as increased spring break activities and visitors.

The February 8 deadline will provide ACE staff time to thoroughly review each special event application and assess the cumulative impact of spring events on overall safety, mobility, sustainability, and quality of life in the city.

ACE encourages event planners who are considering hosting events during Spring Festival 2019 to fill out and submit complete applications under the Event Planning section on its City Stage website at www.austintexas.gov/citystage

City Stage also has tools and resources available to make the application and temporary permitting process easier to understand including the new 2019 Spring Festival Event Planning at a Glance guide.

Event planners with questions about the 2019 Spring Festival application deadline or the special event temporary permitting process can contact  512-974-1000 or SpecialEvents@austintexas.gov.

Related Links: Spring Festival 2019 Planning at a Glance GuideCity Stage- The digital portal to Austin Center for Events

City of Austin closures for Christmas and New Year's holidays

A list of closures and service changes is provided below.

City of Austin offices and facilities will be closed for the Christmas and New Year's holidays—below is a list of those closures and service changes.

City Offices
 
City of Austin administrative offices and other municipal facilities will be closed Monday, Dec. 24 and Tuesday, Dec. 25, in observance of the Christmas holiday. Normal business hours will resume Wednesday, Dec. 26. The following week, City offices and facilities will be closed Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, for the New Year’s holiday. Normal business hours will resume Wednesday, Jan. 2.

Trash and Recycling

Christmas: Austin Resource Recovery curbside collections will not occur on Tuesday, Dec. 25. All trash, recycling, and yard trimmings/compost collection will “slide” one day with collections occurring Wednesday, Dec. 26 through Saturday, Dec. 29. The Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center will be closed on Monday, Dec. 24 and Tuesday, Dec. 25. View the full holiday schedule at austintexas.gov/department/residential-holiday-collection-schedules.
 
New Year’s Day: Austin Resource Recovery curbside collections will not occur on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019. All trash, recycling, and yard trimmings/compost collection will “slide” one day with collections occurring Wednesday, Jan. 2 through Saturday, Jan. 5. The Recycle & Reuse Drop-off Center will be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Visit austinrecycles.com to view the 2019 collection schedule and sign up for reminders.
 
Libraries

All Austin Public Library branches will be closed Sunday, Dec. 23 through Tuesday, Dec. 25 for the Christmas holiday. Normal hours will resume Wednesday, Dec. 26. Additionally, all libraries will be closed on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019.
 
Parks and Recreation
 
All recreation centers, senior centers, museums and cultural arts centers, and nature centers will be closed on Monday, Dec. 24 and again on Tuesday, Jan. 1. Aquatic facilities, except Barton Springs Pool, which will remain open but operated unguarded from 4 p.m. – 10 p.m., will close at 4 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 24 and again on Tuesday, Jan. 1. All recreation centers, senior centers, museums and cultural arts centers, nature centers and botanical gardens, golf courses, tennis centers, and aquatics facilities, except Barton Springs Pool which will operate unguarded, will be closed on Tuesday, Dec. 25. 
 
New Year's Celebration

The Austin’s New Year's celebration will take place Monday, Dec. 31 on Vic Mathias Shores. The free festival of music, art, food, and family friendly fun starts at 3 p.m. and ends with a fireworks finale at 10 p.m. Some roadways in the area will be impacted by the event. Event information and related road closures can be viewed at austinsnewyear.com.

Transport
The winter holiday season is a time when intoxicated driving incidents in Texas increase. The City of Austin would like to remind residents and visitors to plan a safe ride home before going out for holiday celebrations. There are several options available, including free rides on Capital Metro services after 6 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. For more information and additional safe ride options, visit austintexas.gov/GetHomeSafe.

MAD Greens opens, bringing fresh, fast options

Eatery brings wide mixture of healthy, fast options to travelers.

MAD Greens grain bowl - Photo by Christina Mendoza

AUSTIN, Texas - MAD Greens opened early November of this year here at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport, offering a wide mixture of healthy, fast options for travelers to build their own salad or order one of the restaurant’s signature choices.

Serving a variety of salads, wraps, grain bowls, as well as child-friendly options such as a pita grilled cheese, MAD Greens’ goal is to make customers feel as healthy as possible while traveling.

Eight fresh salad options, including the Mad Caesar, Siam I Am, Don Quixote, and Pomona will be sure to fill you up. Beyond the signature salad options, customers can build their own mouth-watering salads with ingredients ranging from tofu, grilled chicken, and bacon to fresh cut apples, Kalamata olives, feta cheese, and slices of avocado.

Three different grain bowls, the BBQ Bowl, Buddha Bowl, and the Southwest Bowl, offer tasty ingredients such as a wild rice blend served with tofu or chicken and a touch of dressing. MAD Greens also serves made to order, fresh-squeezed, detoxing juices and other grab-and-go beverage options.

Decorated in a palette of eggplant, celery green, and wood tones match its vibrant and healthy menu, MAD Greens is located near Gate 16 is open daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. and is operated by airport concessionaire Paradies Lagardère.

The airport of choice for Central Texas is Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS). New nonstop international flights include Frankfurt, Germany (FRA) on Lufthansa www.lufthansa.com; London Gatwick, United Kingdom (LGW) on Norwegian Air, www.norwegian.com/us;  Guadalajara, Mexico (GDL) on Volaris, www.volaris.com; and Mexico City, Mexico (MEX) on AeroMexico, www.aeromexico.com. Find all nonstop routes with the free interactive flight guide on www.abia.org. Connect with us on Twitter, @AUStinAirport, Facebook, www.facebook.com/abia and on Instagram, @AUSairport.

News release: Multimodal improvements coming to West Fifth Street

First phase of work begins this week.

In order to reduce delay on bus routes entering Central Austin from MoPac Expressway, Austin Transportation is working with Capital Metro to install transit improvements on West Fifth Street. These include a shared transit and bicycle priority lane between West Lynn and Baylor streets, with priority bus and bicycle signals at Baylor Street.

By repurposing the existing far right-hand bicycle lane to a shared transit and bicycle priority lane, the City of Austin will achieve greater system efficiency and support multimodal transportation choices without reducing capacity on the remaining three vehicle lanes.

“In the Austin Strategic Direction 2023, Austin City Council directed us to improve access to and equity of multimodal options, such as driving, walking, biking and taking transit,” said Robert Spillar, P.E., Austin Transportation Department Director. “We’re launching our effort to achieve this goal by partnering with Capital Metro to more efficiently move people through this critical segment of West Fifth Street."

"Our partnerships are essential to providing the people of Austin and Central Texas with real transportation options,” said Capital Metro President & CEO Randy Clarke. “This project demonstrates Capital Metro and the City of Austin’s commitment to making effective and reliable transit an important part of our transportation network.”

Austin Transportation will carry out the project in two phases. Crews will kick off construction of the first phase this week and staff anticipates completing it in January 2019, dependent on weather and other factors.

Recent analysis conducted in partnership with Capital Metro showed that buses currently experience five to seven minutes of delay at the intersection of Fifth Street and North Lamar Boulevard during the morning peak commute hours. The current delay impacts approximately 20 buses per hour during that time.

Providing transit vehicles with a dedicated lane for five blocks and signal priority for transit vehicles and bicycles through Baylor Street ahead of general purpose traffic will allow buses and bicycles to reach North Lamar more quickly. The projected travel time and cost savings of these improvements are approximately five minutes per bus.

The first phase of this project involves:

  • Dedicating a 14-foot-wide lane along Fifth Street, between West Lynn and Baylor streets, exclusively for transit vehicles, bicycles and right-turning vehicles
  • Restriping the existing travel lanes from 11 feet wide to 10 feet wide
  • Installing priority transit and bicycle signals at the intersection of Fifth and Baylor streets, allowing buses and bicycles to be queued out of the lane ahead of the general purpose lanes
  • Installing static signage demarcating the new lane as a transit- and bicycle-only lane

Phase two, planned for spring 2019, will consist of further clarifying the shared transit and bicycle lane using red markings and replacing the static signs with dynamic message signs to alert travelers of mobility changes.

This effort is one of many transit speed and reliability projects currently being undertaken and co-funded by the City and Capital Metro throughout Austin.

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External News Link: News release: Multimodal improvements coming to West Fifth Street

Stakeholders Meeting for Housing Development Assistance Programs

Developers are invited to meeting to learn about revised processes.

Affordable housing developers in Austin that participate in either the Rental Housing Development Assistance Program (RHDA) or Home Ownership Development Assistance (HODA, a.k.a., Acquisition and Development) are invited to a stakeholders meeting to learn about newly revised application and review processes.

The meeting is hosted by the City of Austin’s Neighborhood Housing and Community Development Department (NHCD) and is set for 9 a.m. on Monday, December 17, in the Street-Jones Building, 1000 East 11th Street, Room 400A. 

Both programs are important for affordable housing in Austin. The RHDA program expands the construction of affordable rental housing for low-income households and increases the availability of permanent supportive housing for persons experiencing homelessness or with special needs, while the HODA program funds private and nonprofit developers, including Community Housing Development Organizations (CHDOs), to acquire, rehabilitate, and construct affordable ownership housing for low- to moderate-income homebuyers.

This meeting is the culmination of a review process begun in January 2018, when City staff hosted area developers to solicit suggestions on improving the application and review processes. In subsequent months, NHCD staff held individual listening sessions with individual organizations and stakeholders to expand upon that input.  As a result, the department has completely reengineered the application process and established a standardized review procedure.

All interested parties are invited to attend. For more information, contact James May at (512) 974-3192 or by e-mail at james.may@austintexas.gov

Austin Parks and Recreation launches the Our Parks, Our Future Online Survey

Survey closes at the end of January 2019.

City seeks input across the community to plan the future of Austin's park system

On the heels of the “Our Parks, Our Future” series of community meeting, the City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department (PARD) is launching an online survey to gather feedback for Austin’s Park and Recreation System Long Range Plan. This comprehensive survey will allow community members to share their thoughts about their local neighborhood park, metropolitan parks, and all of PARD’s facilities.

Our Parks, Our Future Survey www.austinfutureparks.org/survey or Text “survey” to (512) 580-8850

En español:

Encuesta de Nuestro Parques, Nuestro Futuro www.austinfutureparks.org/encuesta or Envie texto “encuesta” a (512) 580-8850

Survey closes: January 31, 2019

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Background

Developed every ten years, PARD’s Long Range Plan provides a blueprint to guide acquisition of new parkland and improvements to parks, facilities, and programs to better serve the community and meet growing demand.

PARD now manages more than 300 parks and more than 200 miles of trails. As Austin’s population has boomed, growing more than 20% since 2010, PARD has been challenged to provide enough parkland for new and existing residents. In 2018, Austin’s parkland per 1,000 residents will fall to 20 acres, down from 23 acres in 2014. PARD hopes that by planning now, they can reach their goal of 24 acres per 1,000 residents by 2028. Additionally, the future of the Austin’s park and recreation system is impacted by shifting trends in recreation and the emergence of more sustainable park practices.

The survey will run for two months through the end of January 2019. PARD anticipates more than a thousand responses and hopes that community members from all backgrounds will participate.

For more information, visit www.AustinFutureParks.org.

The City of Austin is proud to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.  If you require assistance for participation in our programs or use of the facility, please call (512) 978-3914.

City Seeks Applications to Support Affordable Home Building Tax Credits

Affordable housing developers are encouraged to apply before Dec. 17.

Affordable housing developers in Austin looking to participate in the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs’ (TDHCA) Housing Tax Credit (HTC) Program for the 2019 cycle are encouraged to submit applications for City of Austin supportive resolutions to the Neighborhood Housing and Community Development (NHCD) Department before the Monday, December 17 deadline.

The Housing Tax Credit (HTC) Program is one of the primary means that the State and City work together to direct private capital to developing and preserving affordable rental housing for low-income households. Tax credits—both competitive (9% ) and non-competitive (4%)—are a form of equity financing for the preservation or construction of affordable rental housing. TDHCA awards tax credits to eligible developers, who then sell those tax credits to investors, who use the tax credits to offset a portion of their federal tax liability.

A resolution of support from the City of Austin is required for state consideration.  To submit a request, applicants must complete the 2019 9% Tax Credit Request form. All required attachments must be submitted with the request.

Requests should be submitted to Neighborhood Housing and Community Development, 1000 East 11th Street, 2nd Floor, Austin, TX 78702 to the attention of Ellis Morgan.  For more information, contact Ellis Morgan at 512-974-3121 or by e-mail at ellis.morgan@austintexas.gov.  E-mailed submissions are acceptable in PDF format.

Also required for state consideration is a commitment of funding from the City.  The City of Austin will continue the policy of providing these commitments in the form of waived fees through the S.M.A.R.T. Housing Certification program.  Letters from the City of Austin regarding waived fees will comply with the requirements of the 2019 Qualified Action Plan and will be provided to applicants if the development qualifies for S.M.A.R.T. Housing Certification.

Applications for S.M.A.R.T. Housing Certification must go through a separate process; applications for S.M.A.R.T. Housing Certification can be found here and must be submitted no later than 5 p.m. Friday, January 18, 2019.  For more information on the S.M.A.R.T. Housing Program, email Sandra Harkins, Project Coordinator, at sandra.harkins@austintexas.gov.

 

City of Austin to Host Sound Compatibility Best Practices Forum

Virtual panelists includes representatives from San Francisco, Brisbane & Toronto

(November 26 – Austin, TX) The City of Austin Music & Entertainment Division within the Economic Development Department will conduct stakeholder meetings through February to gather input and priorities to improve compatibility among live music and entertainment venues, residences and hotels.

The engagement will kick off with a Sound Compatibility Best Practices Forum from 3:00 – 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, November 28, at Austin City Hall, 301 W 2nd St.

The City of Austin is committed to entertainment and live music venues, while protecting the quality of life for residents and visitors. A concerted focus on sound compatibility with residential and hotel development is essential for venues to remain viable as contributors to Austin’s economy and culture.

On October 18, 2018, City Council approved a resolution directing staff to return to City Council with a stakeholder-informed proposal to improve compatibility between residents, lodging establishments, and music-related businesses. The goal of this engagement and ongoing initiative is to identify stakeholder priorities that can inform actions by the City of Austin. Panelists will speak to actions including technological and programmatic intervention to address sound compatibility.

Participants can also tune in via Facebook Live at Facebook.com/ATXMusicOffice.

Free parking is available with ticket validation. For more information, project stakeholder sign up, and a tentative timeline, please visit www.austintexas.gov/soundcheck.

Upcoming Entertainment + Sound Compatibility Engagement Meetings:

Wed, November 28, (3:00 pm): Austin City Hall Council Chambers, 301 W 2nd St
Free parking with ticket validation.

Wed, December 5, (3:00 pm): George Washington Carver Museum & Cultural Center –
Boyd Vance Theatre, 1165 Angelina
Free parking available.

 

About The City of Austin Music & Entertainment Division: The City of Austin Economic Development Department’s Music & Entertainment Division is highly engaged in developing and executing initiatives that help accelerate the growth of the music industry infrastructure by focusing on job creation, talent export, trade development, and industry revenue growth. The Entertainment Services Group creates and manages policies, tools, and partnerships that promote a unique, vibrant, safe and well-planned live music, entertainment, and nightlife infrastructure in Austin, while promoting venue preservation and residential quality of life. For more information: www.atxmusic.org

APD tips to keep your vehicle and property safe this holiday season

Review these car and home theft prevention tips.

Thieves are looking to window shop this holiday season at your expense. The Austin Police Department urges you to protect your vehicle and property.
 
AUTO THEFT PREVENTION

  • Never leave your car running while unattended. It takes seconds to steal a car when it is left running. Always roll up the windows, turn off your car, lock the doors and take the keys with you.
  • Take valuables out of your vehicle. Leaving valuables visible in your car is an open invitation for a holiday Grinch eager to steal from you. Take your belongings or place them in the trunk before arriving at your final destination.
  • Record serial numbers. This makes it easier to recover property in the event it is found or turned in. 
  • See something, say something. If you notice suspicious activity, call 9-1-1.

HOME BURGLARY PREVENTION

  • Lock doors and windows. Secure your home, lock all doors and windows and set the alarm.
  • Mail. Ask a trusted neighbor or family member to watch your home and pick up your mail if you’re going to be away for an extended period of time.
  • Lighting. Place indoor and outdoor lights on an automatic timer.
  • Audio. Leave a radio or television on so the house looks and sounds occupied.
  • Close the blinds and curtains. Make a family game and look through the windows and doors of your home. If you can see your gifts under the tree, so can the would-be thieves.

Package safety. Leave a note on your door asking package carriers (UPS, Fed Ex, USPS, etc.) not to leave packages on your doorstep. Request that they leave a notice so you can pick up packages from their facility.

City of Austin first in Texas to test traffic signal technology for “connected” vehicles

Austin assists with U.S. DOT testing, joins national “SPaT” Challenge

The City of Austin is the first city in Texas to enter the U.S. Department of Transportation’s SPaT (Signal Phasing and Timing) Challenge through the National Operations Center of Excellence (NOCoE).

The City has completed one deployment of dedicated short-range communication (DSRC) technology at five City of Austin intersections, with two more projects planned for completion in 2019.  This technology would allow connected cars to communicate in real time with the traffic signal controller, increasing pedestrian and vehicle safety as part of the operations of the signalized intersection.

From the NOCoE website, the SPaT Challenge is:

“A challenge to state and local public sector transportation infrastructure owners and operators to cooperate together to achieve deployment of DSRC infrastructure with SPaT broadcasts in at least one corridor or network (approximately 20 signalized intersections) in each of the 50 states by January 2020. SPaT broadcasts are expected to be accompanied by MAP and (Radio Technical Commission for Maritime Services) broadcasts.”

The map display below illustrates the active and planned deployments in the City of Austin as part of the SPaT Challenge.


Click the map for a full-size image.

The SPaT Challenge is an initiative of the V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) Deployment Coalition, led by the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials, the Institute of Transportation Engineers, and ITS (Intelligent Transportation Systems) America.

The City of Austin was chosen by the U.S. Department of Transportation as the deployment site for the V2I portion of the federal Connected Vehicle Reference Implementation Architecture, commonly known as the V2I Hub. Successful implementation of this guiding architecture was the chief enabler to getting Austin and Texas on the SPaT map.

More information about the SPaT Challenge can be found here.
 
The small test devices, as shown below, can broadcast industry standard Basic Safety Messages in the immediate vicinity of the intersection to surrounding vehicles equipped with on-board units. The Basic Safety Messages indicate vehicle position, motion, brake system status and size, and provide vehicles with SPaT information as well as MAP data, which is used to illustrate intersection geometry using high-resolution formatting. This type of information will help future connected traffic signals and equipped vehicles communicate about pedestrian or bicyclist presence in the intersection, improve vehicle performance, and provide engineers with traffic data that can be used to improve safety and operations.


Click the photo for a full-size image.

External News Link: City of Austin first in Texas to test traffic signal technology for “connected” vehicles

Mandatory Boil Water Notice Issued

- - THIS NOTIFICATION IS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW - -

Mandatory Boil Water Notice Issued   - - THIS NOTIFICATION IS REQUIRED BY STATE LAW - - Austin Water is now issuing an official Boil Water notice as required by The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality. 

On the morning of Monday, October 22, as a precautionary measure, Austin Water issued a system-wide boil water notice -- alerting the public that all customers should boil water to prevent any potential health issues. At that point, Austin Water had not exceeded regulatory turbidity standards.

As of October 23, the turbidity standard has been exceeded and Austin Water is officially required by TCEQ regulatory requirements to issue a boil water notice.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality 
(TCEQ) sets minimum water quality standards for public drinking water. One of these standards is a turbidity limit. Turbidity by itself has no health effects. However, turbidity can interfere with disinfection and provide a medium for microbial growth. Turbidity may also indicate the presence of disease-causing organisms. These organisms include bacteria, viruses, and parasites that can cause symptoms such as nausea, cramps, diarrhea, and associated headaches. These symptoms can be particularly severe in people who are not as resistant to infections as most of the population. If you experience severe symptoms, please consult with your doctor to determine what actions you should take.

Austin Water failed to meet the minimum treatment technique requirements for turbidity on Tuesday, October 23, 2018. Specifically, the turbidity level of 5.0 Nephelometric Turbidity Units.

At this point, the TCEQ requires utilities to issue this public notice and to tell all customers that they should boil their water prior to consumption – the step Austin Water took as a precaution earlier.

So, to ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, any water that you use for drinking, cooking, or ice making should be boiled prior to consumption. The water should be brought to a vigorous rolling boil and then boiled for three minutes. (Be sure to let it cool before drinking it.) In lieu of boiling, bottled water may be used. When it is no longer necessary to boil the water, we will notify you.

Austin Water has taken the following corrective actions to prevent a recurrence of the violations:

  • All customers are asked to continue to reduce their water use to meet basic needs.
  • Prohibited outdoor water use.
  • Continue to optimize our treatment process for turbidity removal and ensure there are good disinfection levels.

If you want more information about the nature and significance of this violation, you may contact 3-1-1.

Please share this information with all the other people who drink this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (for example, people in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). You can do this by posting this notice in a public place or distributing copies by hand or mail.

The boil water notice will be lifted once Austin Water can stabilize the treatment systems. Austin Water will notify residents when the water is safe for consumption and it is no longer necessary to boil the water.

For more information, boil water notice updates, frequently asked questions about boil water notices and additional resources, visit http://www.austintexas.gov/boilH2O

 

Officials urge residents to follow emergency usage restrictions

The Boil Water Notice remains in effect.

La información está disponible en español a continuación

As the City enters its third day of a city-wide boil water notice, the Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center remains activated and continues to work with staff from Austin Water, the Lower Colorado River Authority, the National Weather Service and the State of Texas to monitor water conditions and the situation at the Highland Lakes.
 
Officials recognize the public’s cooperation and efforts in limiting their water use and urge residents to continue to do so as much as possible. Emergency water use restrictions are still in place to ensure water is available for firefighting and basic needs.

“We understand that this has had a significant impact on the community," said City Manager Spencer Cronk. "As a result, we want to ensure that the basic needs of residents are being met. The most important thing for the community to do is to conserve water and to boil water for drinking and cooking.”

The public is still being asked to avoid water usage that is not completely necessary:

  • Avoid all outdoor water use and minimize indoor use immediately.
  • Don’t use water for irrigation or testing of irrigation equipment
  • Don’t wash vehicles, including at commercial car wash facilities
  • Don’t wash pavement or other surfaces
  • Don’t add water to a pool or spa
  • Don’t conduct foundation watering
  • Don’t operate an ornamental fountain or pond, other than aeration necessary to support aquatic life

The Boil Water Notice remains in effect. Water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil for three minutes. In lieu of boiling water, residents may use bottled water.

City and County officials have made arrangements to provide extra water for those with special needs, who are unable to boil water, or need bottled water for work. Distribution sites have been established throughout Austin for residents in need of water for use outside the home/at work. Schools are providing water on site for students to use.

The distribution sites will operate from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and are located at:

  • Walnut Creek Park (12138 N Lamar Blvd)
  • City of Austin Warehouse, formerly Home Depot (7211 N IH 35 SVRD NB)
  • Roy G. Guerrero Park (400 Grove Blvd)
  • Onion Creek Soccer Complex (5600 E William Cannon Dr)
  • Dick Nichols Park (8011 Beckett Rd)
  • Kelley Reeves Athletic Complex (10211 W Parmer Ln)
  • Circuit of the Americas (9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd)

Supplies are limited to one gallon of water per person and up to four gallons for a family of four. City of Austin volunteers will be staffing the water distribution sites. Pick up will be located at the driveway entrance of the sites.

As a preemptive measure, Austin Water issued a self-imposed, city-wide boil water notice on the morning of Monday, Oct. 22, advising customers to boil water before use. On Tuesday, Oct. 23, Austin Water experienced a brief spike in turbidity levels which triggered an official mandatory boil water notification, as required by state law, and has notified its customers. The spike in turbidity does not require any change to precautionary measures already in place and does not put the public at additional risk.

For the latest information, call 3-1-1, visit austintexas.gov/BoilH2O or follow @austintexasgov on social media.

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Autoridades continúan con respuesta a la situación del agua, insisten que residentes sigan restricciones de urgencia sobre uso de agua

Al seguir la Cuidad de Austin el tercer día de alerta de hervor de agua, el Centro de Operaciones de Emergencia de Austin y del Condado Travis permanece activado y sigue funcionando con el personal de Austin Water, del Lower Colorado River Authority, del National Weather Service y del estado de Texas para monitorear las condiciones de agua ya la situación en los Lagos Highland.

 

Las autoridades agradecen la cooperación y esfuerzos del público para limitar su uso de agua e insisten a los residentes que sigan haciendo lo más que puedan. Las restricciones de emergencia para el uso de agua siguen en efecto para garantizar la disponibilidad de agua para combatir incendios y para cubrir necesidades básicas.

“Reconocemos que esto tiene un gran impacto en la comunidad,” dijo el Administrador de Austin Spencer Cronk. “Por lo tanto, queremos asegurar el cumplimiento de las necesidades básicas de los residentes. Lo más importante que la comunidad puede hacer es conservar agua y hervirla para su consumo y para cocinar.”

Se pide al público que evite el uso de agua que no sea completamente necesario:

  • Evite todo uso de agua en exteriores y minimice el uso en interiores inmediatamente.
  • No use agua para riego o para hacer pruebas de equipo de riego.
  • No lave vehículos, incluso en instalaciones comerciales de lavado de autos.
  • No lave pavimento u otras superficies.
  • No agregue agua a piscinas o jacuzzis.
  • No riegue cimientos.
  • No opere fuentes ornamentales o estanques de jardín, excepto para proveer la aireación necesaria para sostener vida acuática.

El aviso de hervor de agua sigue en efecto. Los residentes deben seguir hirviendo el agua. El agua debe hervir vigorosamente por tres minutos. En lugar de agua hervida se puede usar agua embotellada. 

Las autoridades de la Ciudad y del Condado han hecho arreglos para proveer agua adicional para la gente con necesidades especiales, que no pueda hervir agua o que necesite agua embotellada para su trabajo. Se han establecido siete sitios de distribución de agua en Austin para los residentes que necesiten agua para trabajo o uso no-doméstico. Las escuelas están proveyendo agua a los estudiantes.

Los sitios de distribución están ubicados en:

  • Walnut Creek Park (12138 N Lamar Blvd)
  • Bodega de la Ciudad de Austin, previamente el sitio de Home Depot (7211 N IH 35 SVRD NB)
  • Roy G. Guerrero Park (400 Grove Blvd)
  • Onion Creek Soccer Complex (5600 E William Cannon Dr)
  • Dick Nichols Park (8011 Beckett Rd)
  • Kelley Reeves Athletic Complex (10211 W. Parmer Ln)
  • Circuit of the Americas (9201 Circuit of the Americas Blvd)

Los suministros se limitan a un galón de agua por persona o hasta cuatro galones para una familia de cuatro. Habrá voluntarios de la Ciudad de Austin prestando asistencia en los sitios de distribución de agua para facilitar el proceso. El agua se podrá recoger en las entradas de estos sitios.

Como medida de prevención, Austin Water emitió una alerta autoimpuesta para hervir el agua en toda la ciudad de Austin este lunes, 22 de octubre, por la mañana, advirtiendo a los clientes que hirvieran el agua antes de usarla. El martes, 23 de octubre, Austin Water experimentó brevemente un alto nivel de turbiedad, lo cual inició una alerta obligatoria de hervor de agua, de acuerdo con leyes estatales, y notificó a sus clientes. El alto nivel de turbiedad no requiere cambios adicionales a las medidas preventivas que ya están en efecto y no pone al público a más riesgo.

Para recibir la información más reciente llame al 3-1-1, visite austintexas.gov/Boilh2o o siga @austintexasgov en las redes sociales.

 

Emergency Water Use Restrictions Issued

Restrictions due to high level of silt and debris in our water supply lakes.

Austin Water Director Greg Meszaros has issued emergency water use restrictions, effective at 10 a.m., Monday, October 22, 2018. 

Austin City Code Chapter 6-4-20 allows the Director to enact emergency restrictions to protect public health during an unusual operations event. Due to the high level of silt and debris in our water supply lakes as a result of recent flooding, there is an urgent need to reduce water demand to allow treatment plant operations to stabilize.

During this period and until further notice, all outdoor water use is prohibited. Customers may not:

  • Use water for irrigation or testing of irrigation equipment
  • Wash vehicles, including at commercial car wash facilities
  • Wash pavement or other surfaces
  • Add water to a pool or spa
  • Conduct foundation watering, or
  • Operate an ornamental fountain or pond, other than aeration necessary to support aquatic life 

Violations of these restrictions should be reported to Austin 3-1-1. Austin Water appreciates your support in reducing water use to help stabilize Austin’s water treatment plants.
 
The emergency water use restrictions are necessary to ensure water is available for firefighting and basic needs. Historic flood waters flowing into our region’s water supply lakes, the Highland Lakes, contain much higher levels of debris, silt, and mud. As a result, Austin water is experiencing reduced water treatment capacity.
 
Austin Water has issued a city-wide boil water notice for all customers. To ensure that water is safe, customers are asked to boil water that is used for drinking, cooking or ice for three minutes.
 
The city-wide boil water notice is in addition to actions taken by the City over the last week to ensure the health and safety of our community during this flood event. These have included activating the Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center to closely monitor the evolving conditions, closing the City’s waterway, closing Parks and Recreation facilities along City waterways, monitoring and managing low-water crossings, and working with our neighbors to the west of Austin to respond to their own flood emergencies.

The Austin-Travis County Emergency Operations Center will remain active through the remainder of this situation and will be providing updates as conditions change.
 
For more information visit austintexas.gov/boilh2o.

Austin Water Issues City-wide Boil Water Notice

Customers asked to boil water used for drinking, cooking or ice until further notice.

(Austin)— Austin Water has issued a city-wide boil water notice for all customers of Austin Water. The notice is being issued as the utility works to stabilize the water treatment system. 

Historic flood waters flowing into our water supply lakes contain very high levels of silt that makes it challenging for the water plants to produce the volume of water needed to supply customers at this time. The high level of debris, silt and mud requires extended filtration that slows the process of getting treated water in to the system. To provide necessary water pressure for fire protection, plants must distribute water at treatment levels not typical of the utility’s high standards for consumption.

To ensure that water is safe, customers are asked to boil water used for drinking, cooking or ice until further notice. It’s important to note that there have been no positive tests for bacterial infiltration of the system at this time. 

“Anyone who’s seen the water running through Ladybird Lake can see how muddy it is. The unprecedented rain and runoff through our entire lake system has simply overwhelmed our treatment capacity,” said Austin Mayor Steve Adler. “The good thing is that we can continue with most of our daily routines – like showering, hand washing and laundry – but we all need to do our part to conserve where we can, and boil the tap water we consume. We’re working with our partners in the school systems, health care, food service and neighboring cities to make sure we’re all working together.”

What can customers do?

  • Reduce water use as much as possible to ensure adequate supply is available for basic needs, fire protection, public health and safety.
  • Boil water intended for consumption. To ensure destruction of all harmful bacteria and other microbes, water for drinking, cooking and for making ice should be boiled and cooled prior to consumption. The water should be brought to a vigorous, rolling boil for three minutes. In lieu of boiling water, you may use bottled water.
  • Businesses should not use drinking fountains or soda fountains that rely on tap water.

The boil water notice will be lifted once Austin Water can stabilize the treatment systems. Austin Water will notify residents when the water is safe for consumption and it is no longer necessary to boil the water.

City of Austin and Austin Water are working in coordination with public health and safety partners in the region to keep the public informed.

For more information, boil water notice updates (updates will be posted daily by 4 p.m.) and frequently asked questions about boil water notices visit http://www.austintexas.gov/boilH2O

For questions or concerns, please contact 3-1-1.

MAP OF AUSTIN WATER’S SERVICE AREA

Austin’s Anti-Displacement Task Force Seeks Feedback October 23

Give input on recommendations to address gentrification and displacement.

Versión en español a continuación

Austin’s Anti-Displacement Task Force is seeking public comment on draft recommendations to address gentrification and displacement at a community forum at Widen Elementary, 5605 Nuckols Crossing Road, on Tuesday, Oct. 23 at 6 p.m.  The event is free and open to the public.

Austin City Council created the Task Force earlier this year to explore how displacement affects Austin and to develop strategies for preserving and expanding the supply of affordable housing, supporting small businesses, and preserving the city’s cultural assets. The Task Force drafted a series of recommendations that need public input before being finalized and submitted to City Council in November.

The draft Anti-Displacement Task Force recommendations are grouped into four areas:

  • Financing strategies;
  • Opportunities to increase affordable housing for homeowners;
  • Methods to increase affordable housing for renters; and,
  • Ways to preserve small businesses and cultural assets.

The Task Force also incorporated some of the policy recommendations from a gentrification study conducted by the University of Texas Center for Sustainable Development in the School of Architecture and the Entrepreneurship and Community Development Clinic of the School of Law, as well as the People’s Plan which recommends strategies to minimize displacement.

Translation services will be available. 

For more information, view the flyers in English and Spanish, or email NHCD@austintexas.gov.

View Please help spread the word about this event.

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El Grupo de trabajo contra el desplazamiento de Austin busca retroalimentación el 23 de octubre

La Fuerza de Tareas contra el Desplazamiento de Austin está buscando comentarios públicos sobre recomendaciones preliminares para abordar la gentrificación y el desplazamiento en un foro comunitario en Widen Elementary, 5605 Nuckols Crossing Road el martes, 23 de octubre a las 6 p.m. El evento es gratuito y abierto al público.

El Consejo de la Ciudad de Austin creó el Grupo de Trabajo a principios de este año para explorar cómo afecta el desplazamiento a Austin y para desarrollar estrategias para preservar y ampliar la oferta de viviendas asequibles, apoyar a las pequeñas empresas y preservar los bienes culturales de la ciudad. El Grupo de trabajo elaboró una serie de recomendaciones que necesitan la opinión del público antes de que se finalicen y se presenten al Concejo Municipal en noviembre.

El borrador de la recomendación del Grupo de trabajo contra el desplazamiento se agrupa en cuatro áreas:

• Estrategias de financiamiento;
• Oportunidades para aumentar la vivienda asequible para los propietarios de viviendas;
• Métodos para aumentar la vivienda asequible para inquilinos; y,
• Formas de preservar las pequeñas empresas y los bienes culturales.

El Grupo de trabajo también incorporó algunas de las recomendaciones de políticas de un estudio de gentrificación realizado por el Centro para el Desarrollo Sostenible de la Universidad de Texas en la Escuela de Arquitectura y la Clínica de Desarrollo Empresarial y Comunitario de la Escuela de Derecho, así como el Plan del Pueblo recomienda estrategias para minimizar el desplazamiento..

Habrá servicios de traducción lingüísticos y para personas con problemas de audición.

Para obtener más información, envíe un correo electrónico a NHCD@austintexas.gov o ver los folletos en inglés y español

Rating agencies reaffirm highest bond rating for Austin

City receives an ‘AAA’ bond rating.

The City of Austin has received an ‘AAA’ bond rating and a stable outlook on its ability to repay debt for long-term capital improvement projects for the eighth consecutive year. The ‘AAA’ rating is the highest attainable bond rating that a city can achieve and allows the City to borrow money at a lower cost.
 
Austin has maintained its ‘AAA’ bond rating for general obligation debt from all three major U.S. financial rating agencies – Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service, and Fitch Ratings - since Fiscal Year 2010.
 
“I am very pleased that all three rating agencies reaffirmed our ‘AAA’ credit rating,” said City Manager Spencer Cronk.  “Austin has maintained its strong financial position thanks to a strong economy fueled by steady population and employment growth, a diverse employment base, our conservative financial and budget practices, and proven history of balancing needs with available resources.”
 
A bond rating is a measure of a city’s ability to repay its debt.  Several factors are considered when assigning a rating, including the local economy, strength of the City’s financial and administrative management, how well the budget is managed, as well as debt ratios.  The ‘AAA’ bond ratings signal high credit quality, allowing the City to issue debt at the lowest interest rates, thus reducing future debt service costs.
 
Last week, the City completed a sale of its 2018 general obligation debt including tax-exempt public improvement bonds, certificates of obligation, public property finance contractual obligations, as well as taxable public improvement bonds, which are used to fund affordable housing. The tax-exempt public improvement bonds, which have a 20-year term, were sold at a true interest cost of 2.77%. 
 
The City of Austin regularly undertakes capital improvement projects to improve public facilities and infrastructure assets for the benefit of its citizens. Capital improvement projects include, for example, new construction or renovation of recreation centers and libraries, parkland acquisition, street repaving, urban trails, creek restoration, mobility projects, and the purchase of new fleet vehicles and information technology networks. 
 
The City sells general obligation debt to finance a significant portion of its long-term capital improvement projects. General obligation debt is secured by the full faith and credit of the City of Austin and a levy of taxes based on the assessed value of property. General obligation debt includes public improvement bonds (voter-approved General Obligation bond programs), certificates of obligation, and public property finance contractual obligations. 

 

Cultural Arts Division Announces Call for Short Films for Faces of Austin Program

Submissions are due no later than Friday, January 11, 2019 at 5 PM.

The City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division, part of the Economic Development Department, is seeking submissions of short films for its 2019 Faces of Austin program. Established in 2005, Faces of Austin showcases shorts by local filmmakers that reflect the diverse faces, voices, and experiences of our City. Selected films will be screened during the SXSW Film Festival as part of the SXSW Community Programming in March, and will also be shown on the City of Austin’s channel, ATXN, and via the City’s website. One film will also receive a “Judge’s Choice” designation from a celebrity guest judge. All films selected will receive a cash award.

Submissions are due no later than Friday, January 11, 2019 at 5 PM.

Faces of Austin has enabled us to spotlight the vast array of talent within our local filmmaking community,” remarked Cultural Arts Division Manager Meghan Wells. “From light-hearted profiles of Austin locales to moving tributes of individuals who have shaped the fabric of our city, this program serves as an important outlet for Austin’s creative community. We look forward to sharing a new selection of compelling shorts soon.”

Faces of Austin submissions must meet these criteria:

  • 10 minute maximum length
  • By an Austin-area filmmaker or commissioned through an Austin organization
  • Original non-fiction or fiction work no older than 3 years old
  • Filmed in Austin or highlights Austin-area topics or organizations
  • Does not violate copyright law by using copy written work, including music, without permission
  • Does not solicit funds or a particular political call to action
  • Must be appropriate to show in a public setting to an audience of all ages
  • May not be also selected by SXSW as part of its SXSW Shorts Competition
  • Applicants must be 18 and older
  • Applications from filmmakers with diverse cultural backgrounds and/or stories that highlight the diversity of Austin’s identity are encouraged
  • Preference will be given to filmmakers who have not been selected in previous years

Selection Process
A selection panel comprising project advisors, media experts, and City staff will review each artist’s materials submitted by the project deadline. Selected submissions must meet all of the requirements and demonstrate a high quality. The City of Austin reserves the right to disqualify materials deemed offensive or inappropriate to show in a public setting. The “Judge’s Choice” will be selected from among the selection panel’s top 5 rated submissions.

Schedule
October 1, 2018: Call for Entries Issued
Jan. 11, 2019 (5 pm): Entries Due
Feb. 2019: Selection and notification selected films              
March 2019: Public screening during SXSW Film Festival as part of the Community Programming

March 2019 ‐ March 2020             
Films to be shown on ATXN and via City’s website, and at Community Screenings around town.
 
For complete guidelines, visit www.austintexas.gov/facesofaustin

Apply here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/2019FacesofAustin

For additional information please contact:
Laura Odegaard /512-974-6345 or laura.odegaard@gmail.com
 
City of Austin Cultural Arts Division
The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin.  For more information, visit www.austincreates.com.

 

 

 

City of Austin to Reinstate Creative Ambassadors Program

Applications will be accepted Oct. 1 - Dec. 1, 2018.

The City of Austin Cultural Arts and Music and Entertainment Divisions, part of the Economic Development Department, will reinstate the City’s Creative Ambassadors Program. Open to creative professionals across disciplines, the program provides official City designations and small stipends to Austin artists traveling outside of Texas in promotion of their creative projects. First launched in 2014, the program was temporarily suspended as the City explored how best to incorporate it into its larger cultural tourism strategy. The retooled program, which launches October 1, will run on an annual (versus monthly) cycle and will now provide $1,000 grants for ten artist recipients.

“We are pleased to reinstate the Creative Ambassadors Program,” said Meghan Wells, Manager of the Cultural Arts Division. “This initiative opens new avenues of dialogue between Austin and markets worldwide, and increases the international presence and reputation of our local artists.”

“The Music Office is excited to work with the Cultural Arts Division on this collaboration providing capacity for our artists to share their art with the widest audience possible, while fostering new networks with other cities around the world,“ adds Eric Shamaly, Manager of the Music and Entertainment Division. 

The Creative Ambassadors program is open to artists of all disciplines, including, but not limited to: musicians, visual artists, filmmakers, and performing artists. Austin-based individual artists and arts organizations who have confirmed plans to travel nationally or internationally to present or promote their work. Applicants will be evaluated on their level of expertise in their chosen discipline, including the number of years they have been working in their artistic area and any prior awards or recognition they have received for their work. The selection panel will also consider how the artists and their proposed project will support the Creative Ambassador Program goals of enhancing Austin’s global profile as center of creativity; supporting the local creative community; and facilitating dialogue between other regional, national and international arts agencies and their communities. The Panel will select a diverse cohort, reflective of many artistic disciplines by artists from all cultural communities, including ALAANA (African American, Latinx, Asian American, Arab American, Native American) artists and arts organizations, plus applicants who identify as members of the LGBTQIA community or the differently-abled community.

Selected ambassadors must fulfill the following requirements:

  • Attend a training session with City of Austin staff before travel 
  • Represent Austin in at least one meeting with a government, arts agency or anchor creative organization in the destination city, as approved by the City of Austin
  • Meet with national and international delegations visiting Austin, as needed 
  • Forward any press coverage related to the project/travel/ambassadorship to the City of Austin
  • Submit a post‐trip report to the City of Austin

Applications for the Creative Ambassador Program will be accepted from October 1- December 1, 2018. Complete program guidelines and a link to the application system may be found at www.austintexas.gov/department/creative-ambassadors

Selected applicants will be announced in January 2019. The Creative Ambassador designation is valid for one year and all required activities and reports are due at the end of the year-long cycle.

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City of Austin Cultural Arts Division

The Cultural Arts Division of the Economic Development Department provides leadership and management for the City’s cultural arts programs and for the development of arts and cultural industries. The Cultural Arts Division is responsible for the Cultural Arts Funding Programs, Art in Public Places Program, community-based arts development, and programs to assist the development of film and creative industries in Austin. More at www.austincreates.com.

City of Austin Music and Entertainment Division

The City's Music & Entertainment Division is an economic development accelerator and centralized resource center for Austin’s music industry, and an active community partner for Austin’s citizens, community groups, and neighborhoods. For a full list of our programs and services, visit www.atxmusic.org.

 

 

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