Dear <<First Name>>,
I'm excited to say it has been a very busy and productive month. Here are just a few things my staff and I have been working on these last few weeks.
Expanding Tenant Relocation Asst. Program (Passed):
In November of last year, City Council approved a resolution calling for the creation of a Tenant Relocation Assistance Program meant to provide support for families and individuals who are at risk of being displaced from their homes. Due to several developing situations in District 3 and the rest of the City, I sponsored a resolution which was passed by Council last month, expanding the assistance program to include mobile home residents.
The intent of my original resolution, which spurred the formation of the proposed Tenant Relocation Ordinance, was to provide security, stability, and dignity for displaced families. By expanding the eligibility criteria for relocation services and financial assistance, we created policy that is more comprehensive and of greater utility to our community’s needs.
Historic Housing Survey:
Without the proper information about potentially historically significant homes and structures in East Austin, many buildings that are historically significant are at risk of being demolished. The City is currently working with a historic preservation firm to conduct a historic resource inventory in neighborhoods that are vulnerable to gentrification to better inform our community about properties that meet the criteria for historical significance.
The survey will involve researching and documenting residential and commercial structures and other historic resources in the area to determine the potential for historic landmark designation as well as potential boundaries for historic districts. The survey area will run from IH-35 to the west, Colorado River to the south, Pleasant Valley Rd to the east, and Manor Road to the north. Throughout survey process our city staff will hold public meetings to gather information from neighborhood residents and property owners within the survey area. Residents are encouraged to share their stories or any interesting facts about a home or a structure with the survey photographers or at any of the public meeting.
Our office has been working with city staff who have committed to referring every demolition permit application within the survey area for a structure older than 50 years to the Historic Landmark Commission for review. This is a major concern for many in District 3, so if you have any questions or would like to provide feedback to the historic preservation firm while they continue to conduct their research, please contact my office at 512.978.2103 and we will put you in touch with them.
Lonestar Rail (Update):
The Lone Star Rail District (LSRD) Board of Directors, on which I serve, voted overwhelmingly to endorse the completion of an environmental impact study that is already underway for a passenger rail line running through Austin and connecting San Antonio to Georgetown.
As Central and South Texas cities continue to experience tremendous growth which adds more and more traffic to the already congested I35 Corridor, we must take a deep and serious look at various long-term transportation alternatives. The environmental study LSRD has commissioned will provide invaluable information as we work toward these solutions. Sid Covington, Chair of the LSRD Board, published an article explaining why this plan so important.
"Lone Star Rail can deliver a critically needed transportation solution for our region and also spark increased economic vitality around its stations along the entire corridor. We intend to create investment-grade infrastructure, economic development and employment opportunities. The resulting incremental increases in tax base can generate funding to support this new transportation service."
...Click For Full Story
I believe Sid is right. That's why, as the appointed City of Austin LSRD Board Member, I fully support the completion of the study. This vote means, the District still holds the possibility for federal funding and demonstrates our commitment to continue this endeavor to provide reliable, predictable, and safe transportation options despite Union Pacific Railroad’s recent surprising decision to back away from the project.