May 15, 2017 - 03:13 pm CDT

In November 2016, Mayor Steve Adler announced the formation of a task force comprised of several local representatives from business, education, and criminal justice to address institutional racism in Austin. The task force members formed five working groups to focus in key areas: Education; Real Estate & Housing; Health; Finance, Banking, & Industry; and Civil & Criminal Justice.

Mayor Adler asked Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, Huston-Tillotson University President, and Dr. Paul Cruz, Austin ISD Superintendent, to lead the effort in collaboration with over 200 community members.  Collectively, the task force developed more than 200 recommendations that would attempt to create transparency in law enforcement, provide funding for housing inequalities, and provide a path to review Austin’s governmental policies that may perpetuate the systemic inequities.

Their mission involved work at three levels—individual, organizational and structural; and they maintain that progress must include a commitment from all other elected officials, along with CEO’s, executive directors, and other inhabitants of the C-Suite.

Initially their recommendation is for a commitment to collectively make the personal investment to:

  • Engage in personal soul searching;
  • Commit to life-long intensive training;
  • Learn how to have courageous conversations about race;
  • Develop a deeper consciousness and more expansive literacy about the impact of race in personal life;
  • Commit to act as agent of change to de-institutionalize racism and eliminate racial disparities in Austin; and
  • Build on the work of previous and current courageous activists.

Dr. Pierce Burnette and Dr. Cruz submitted the final report to the full council on April 6, 2017.  They have acknowledged that this report is not the end, but rather continuing the community effort.  The next phase of building on the great and sacrificial history of work led by many talented others, some of whom contributed to this current report, begins now.

The following is a link to the report presentation to Council, links some to news stories about the task’s force work, and a link to the website that houses the report:  

  • Mayor’s Task Force on Institutional Racism and Systemic Inequities: Council Work Session presentation & Report
  • KXAN: “City unveils report on racism in housing, health and education”
  • KEYE: “New report claims Austin suffers from 'systemic and institutional racism”
  • KUT: “Here's How Austin Wants To Solve Institutional Racism”
  • Statesman: “Racism task force seeks return of displaced people to gentrified areas”
  • Chronicle: “City's Racism Task Force Unveils Report: Group focuses on five issues to combat institutional racism”

Feb 22, 2017 - 07:11 pm CST

While I may be new to the City Manager’s seat here, I’m certainly not new to Austin. Like many of you, I’ve seen this city grow and transform over the past two decades. I’ve also seen many of the unintended consequences of that growth – including the growing disparities within our city and our residents.

The Spirit of East Austin initiative was one of the first items I took up with Mayor Adler when I started as interim City Manager. That’s because it was important to me, and I know it’s important to him, to the entire Council and – perhaps most notably – to you.

Having spent most of my time on the financial side of the City, I know how much work is being done. I help get the projects funded, and help get the bills paid. It’s clear to me, though, that sometimes we don’t do a great job of sharing what’s been done, or what we have planned.

So I’m excited to share with you some of the achievements our staff has led over the past year, and take a look ahead. Not all of it will grab headlines, but I believe every investment in East Austin is a meaningful one. It represents the nuts and bolts vital to build East Austin’s success and future. 

Believe it or not, there were 89 projects started or completed in the “Eastern Crescent” last year. That included building new playscapes, installing public art, replacing old water pipes and establishing mother-friendly worksites. 

View a list of all of the Spirit of East Austin projects the City completed in 2016

Notably, we updated the amenities in some of our key public spaces – Colony District Park, Norman School Park and Dove Springs District Park – to make them safer and more accessible for nearby residents. That included new trails and new playscapes – including a pioneering “treehouse” playscape in Dove Springs that enables families with children to better connect to the natural environment.

We continue to address vital infrastructure needs by rebuilding roads and upgrading infrastructure.  You’ll see that commitment reflected in our list of current and planned projects – projects like the Howard Lane water line extension, which brought water service further into East Austin.

We know that there’s a need to help develop 21st Century skills that will help lift up those who grow up in Austin. Our Connected Youth Centers project brought dedicated computers and printers for youth ages 10 to 18 to more than a half dozen East Austin libraries, along with the staff to support them.

These successes are just a part of the pledge we made when we kicked off the initiative in September 2015. We said we would do things, and we said we would continue to listen. In this next phase, we will do just that.

We officially launched this website, spiritofeastaustin.org, to continue collecting feedback and reporting back to you. I hope you take the time to click on the Initiatives tab to comment on proposed policies that could stimulate economic opportunities in East Austin.

        Creating opportunities in East Austin and addressing historical inequities is a shared responsibility for both our policymakers and our staff. I can tell you that we’re all determined to continue our momentum.

Feb 09, 2017 - 01:10 pm CST

City hosts Colony Park development update and healthy hearts fair, February 14

The City of Austin and its community partners will host a health fair and community meeting on the implementation of the Colony Park Master Plan from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on February 14 at the Turner-Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Drive.

Community members will learn more about the process of securing a master developer for the Colony Park Master Plan, approved by Austin City Council in December 2014. The Plan focuses on 208 acres of publicly owned land off Loyola Lane that is adjacent to the 93-acre Colony Park District Park. Attendees will gain project updates and next steps for implementing the plan.

The Healthy Hearts Fair event will include free food, health service provider booths, and an opportunity for residents to purchase fresh foods from local farmers.

For more information about the initiative visit www.colonyparkatx.org.

 

La Ciudad de Austin llevará a cabo una feria de actualizaciones del desarrollo comunitario de Colony Park y de corazones saludables el 14 de febrero

La Ciudad de Austin y sus colaboradores comunitarios llevaran a cabo una feria de salud y junta comunitaria en la implementación del Plan Maestro de Colony Park de 5:30 pm a 8:00 pm el 14 de febrero en el Centro Recreativo Turner Roberts ubicado en la 7201 Colony Loop Drive.

Los miembros de la comunidad conocerán más sobre el proceso de asegurar al desarrollador principal para el Plan Maestro de Colony Park que se aprobó por el Concilio de la Ciudad de Austin en diciembre del 2014. El plan se enfoca en 208 acres de tierra, que son propiedad pública, ubicados sobre Loyola Lane y que están adyacentes al Parque del Distrito Colony Park. Los participantes de la feria escucharan las novedades del proyecto y los próximos pasos para implementar este plan.

La Feria de Corazones Saludables también ofrecerá comida gratis, mesas de proveedores de salud y también la oportunidad de aprender más sobre las frutas y verduras que se cosechan localmente.

Para más información sobre esta iniciativa visite www.colonyparkatx.org.

Jun 29, 2016 - 09:39 am CDT

The Sept. 12, 2015, launch event had approximately 500 participants. Relive that event in pictures.

Spirit of East Austin: Community Forum

The Spirit of East Austin segment on ATXN’s “CityView,” a news and features program of the City of Austin.

Mayor Steve Adler and City Manager Marc A. Ott discuss their commitment to the Spirit of East Austin.

Jun 29, 2016 - 09:38 am CDT

Thank you again for your engaged patience as we move the Spirit of East Austin Initiative forward.  Since our last email, we have worked with community leaders to identify ideas that can create equitable, sustainable, and transformative development in Austin’s “Eastern Crescent.” We’d like to thank the working group - City Council Members Houston, Renteria, Troxclair, and Pool – and all of the community members who attended the initial community forum on September 12. 

The Spirit of East Austin is about building holistic communities, focused on jobs and workforce development, health and wellness, education, mixed-income housing, and mobility in the “Eastern Crescent.”  We’re prepared to demonstrate new creativity, risk-taking, hard work, patience and strategic partnerships to reverse the damages caused by historic inequity and benign neglect.

We have continued to meet with stakeholder groups from Central East Austin, Colony Park, Del Valle, Dove Springs, Montopolis, and Rundberg. Those groups include the Colony Park, Dove Springs, and Montopolis neighborhood groups; La Raza Roundtable; Six Square; Go! Austin/Vamos! Austin (GAVA); Community Advancement Network (CAN) Board Members; Asian, Black, and Hispanic chambers of commerce; and the Del Valle ISD. We have presented and received ideas at those meetings that have the potential to move us closer toward our goals for the project.

A major emphasis of our efforts has been on “collective impact.” The ”collective impact model” helps to ensure that we collaborate with different sectors (public, private and non-profit), align our efforts with our community partners, and identify measures for success that reflect our goal of equitable economic development.  We have sought out and talked with Purpose Built Communities, a nonprofit organization, as a potential partner to help build a coordinated, holistic approach to break intergenerational poverty in the “Eastern Crescent.” 

We understand that you are hungry for substantive change in our communities. So are we. It’s important that we do it right this time, and doing so requires that we be strategic, intentional and deliberate.

We will continue to meet and work with all of our community partners - from grassroots advocates to business leaders - on our way to achieving equitable, transformative and sustainable development in the “Eastern Crescent.” As we have promised, we plan to have a list of big ideas for community input in the near future. As we did in our initial meeting, we will continue to seek out innovative ways to keep everyone informed and involved. The Spirit of East Austin Initiative, done right, can fix what has been wrong for too long. We’re not looking for a quick fix.

We’re working to get the job done right, and we appreciate your support in achieving this common goal.
 

Feb 22, 2017 - 07:11 pm CST

While I may be new to the City Manager’s seat here, I’m certainly not new to Austin. Like many of you, I’ve seen this city grow and transform over the past two decades. I’ve also seen many of the unintended consequences of that growth – including the growing disparities within our city and our residents.

The Spirit of East Austin initiative was one of the first items I took up with Mayor Adler when I started as interim City Manager. That’s because it was important to me, and I know it’s important to him, to the entire Council and – perhaps most notably – to you.

Having spent most of my time on the financial side of the City, I know how much work is being done. I help get the projects funded, and help get the bills paid. It’s clear to me, though, that sometimes we don’t do a great job of sharing what’s been done, or what we have planned.

So I’m excited to share with you some of the achievements our staff has led over the past year, and take a look ahead. Not all of it will grab headlines, but I believe every investment in East Austin is a meaningful one. It represents the nuts and bolts vital to build East Austin’s success and future. 

Believe it or not, there were 89 projects started or completed in the “Eastern Crescent” last year. That included building new playscapes, installing public art, replacing old water pipes and establishing mother-friendly worksites. 

View a list of all of the Spirit of East Austin projects the City completed in 2016

Notably, we updated the amenities in some of our key public spaces – Colony District Park, Norman School Park and Dove Springs District Park – to make them safer and more accessible for nearby residents. That included new trails and new playscapes – including a pioneering “treehouse” playscape in Dove Springs that enables families with children to better connect to the natural environment.

We continue to address vital infrastructure needs by rebuilding roads and upgrading infrastructure.  You’ll see that commitment reflected in our list of current and planned projects – projects like the Howard Lane water line extension, which brought water service further into East Austin.

We know that there’s a need to help develop 21st Century skills that will help lift up those who grow up in Austin. Our Connected Youth Centers project brought dedicated computers and printers for youth ages 10 to 18 to more than a half dozen East Austin libraries, along with the staff to support them.

These successes are just a part of the pledge we made when we kicked off the initiative in September 2015. We said we would do things, and we said we would continue to listen. In this next phase, we will do just that.

We officially launched this website, spiritofeastaustin.org, to continue collecting feedback and reporting back to you. I hope you take the time to click on the Initiatives tab to comment on proposed policies that could stimulate economic opportunities in East Austin.

        Creating opportunities in East Austin and addressing historical inequities is a shared responsibility for both our policymakers and our staff. I can tell you that we’re all determined to continue our momentum.

Spirit of East Austin News & Updates
Feb 09, 2017 - 01:10 pm CST

City hosts Colony Park development update and healthy hearts fair, February 14

The City of Austin and its community partners will host a health fair and community meeting on the implementation of the Colony Park Master Plan from 5:30 to 7 p.m. on February 14 at the Turner-Roberts Recreation Center, 7201 Colony Loop Drive.

Community members will learn more about the process of securing a master developer for the Colony Park Master Plan, approved by Austin City Council in December 2014. The Plan focuses on 208 acres of publicly owned land off Loyola Lane that is adjacent to the 93-acre Colony Park District Park. Attendees will gain project updates and next steps for implementing the plan.

The Healthy Hearts Fair event will include free food, health service provider booths, and an opportunity for residents to purchase fresh foods from local farmers.

For more information about the initiative visit www.colonyparkatx.org.

 

La Ciudad de Austin llevará a cabo una feria de actualizaciones del desarrollo comunitario de Colony Park y de corazones saludables el 14 de febrero

La Ciudad de Austin y sus colaboradores comunitarios llevaran a cabo una feria de salud y junta comunitaria en la implementación del Plan Maestro de Colony Park de 5:30 pm a 8:00 pm el 14 de febrero en el Centro Recreativo Turner Roberts ubicado en la 7201 Colony Loop Drive.

Los miembros de la comunidad conocerán más sobre el proceso de asegurar al desarrollador principal para el Plan Maestro de Colony Park que se aprobó por el Concilio de la Ciudad de Austin en diciembre del 2014. El plan se enfoca en 208 acres de tierra, que son propiedad pública, ubicados sobre Loyola Lane y que están adyacentes al Parque del Distrito Colony Park. Los participantes de la feria escucharan las novedades del proyecto y los próximos pasos para implementar este plan.

La Feria de Corazones Saludables también ofrecerá comida gratis, mesas de proveedores de salud y también la oportunidad de aprender más sobre las frutas y verduras que se cosechan localmente.

Para más información sobre esta iniciativa visite www.colonyparkatx.org.

Spirit of East Austin News & Updates
Jun 29, 2016 - 09:39 am CDT

The Sept. 12, 2015, launch event had approximately 500 participants. Relive that event in pictures.

Spirit of East Austin: Community Forum

The Spirit of East Austin segment on ATXN’s “CityView,” a news and features program of the City of Austin.

Mayor Steve Adler and City Manager Marc A. Ott discuss their commitment to the Spirit of East Austin.

Spirit of East Austin News & Updates
Jun 29, 2016 - 09:38 am CDT

Thank you again for your engaged patience as we move the Spirit of East Austin Initiative forward.  Since our last email, we have worked with community leaders to identify ideas that can create equitable, sustainable, and transformative development in Austin’s “Eastern Crescent.” We’d like to thank the working group - City Council Members Houston, Renteria, Troxclair, and Pool – and all of the community members who attended the initial community forum on September 12. 

The Spirit of East Austin is about building holistic communities, focused on jobs and workforce development, health and wellness, education, mixed-income housing, and mobility in the “Eastern Crescent.”  We’re prepared to demonstrate new creativity, risk-taking, hard work, patience and strategic partnerships to reverse the damages caused by historic inequity and benign neglect.

We have continued to meet with stakeholder groups from Central East Austin, Colony Park, Del Valle, Dove Springs, Montopolis, and Rundberg. Those groups include the Colony Park, Dove Springs, and Montopolis neighborhood groups; La Raza Roundtable; Six Square; Go! Austin/Vamos! Austin (GAVA); Community Advancement Network (CAN) Board Members; Asian, Black, and Hispanic chambers of commerce; and the Del Valle ISD. We have presented and received ideas at those meetings that have the potential to move us closer toward our goals for the project.

A major emphasis of our efforts has been on “collective impact.” The ”collective impact model” helps to ensure that we collaborate with different sectors (public, private and non-profit), align our efforts with our community partners, and identify measures for success that reflect our goal of equitable economic development.  We have sought out and talked with Purpose Built Communities, a nonprofit organization, as a potential partner to help build a coordinated, holistic approach to break intergenerational poverty in the “Eastern Crescent.” 

We understand that you are hungry for substantive change in our communities. So are we. It’s important that we do it right this time, and doing so requires that we be strategic, intentional and deliberate.

We will continue to meet and work with all of our community partners - from grassroots advocates to business leaders - on our way to achieving equitable, transformative and sustainable development in the “Eastern Crescent.” As we have promised, we plan to have a list of big ideas for community input in the near future. As we did in our initial meeting, we will continue to seek out innovative ways to keep everyone informed and involved. The Spirit of East Austin Initiative, done right, can fix what has been wrong for too long. We’re not looking for a quick fix.

We’re working to get the job done right, and we appreciate your support in achieving this common goal.
 

Spirit of East Austin News & Updates