On Dec. 5, 2019, the Austin City Council passed Resolution No. 20191205-117, initiating the process for renaming Metz Recreation Center to Rodolfo “Rudy” Mendez Recreation Center. Community members are invited to provide input during the 90-day comment period, which begins today and concludes May 2, 2020. In addition, community members can participate at two opportunities at Metz Recreation Center, 2407 Canterbury St., Austin, TX 78702:
Community Gatherings at Metz Recreation Center Feb. 29, 2020, 10 to 11:30 a.m. March 3, 2020, 6:30 to 8 p.m.
Employees from the Austin History Center will provide provide insight into the lives of Hamilton M. Metz and Rudy Mendez. Austin Parks and Recreation Department's staff members will facilitate community conversation.
Input and comments can be given online at https://publicinput.com/G212, provided by texting “MRC” to 512-580-8850, or shared in person at Metz Recreation Center. The deadline for submitting input will be May 2, 2020.
Brief biographical backgrounds of Metz and Mendez
Background of Hamilton M. Metz
H. M. Metz was born in 1840 in South Carolina before moving to Austin in 1845. Metz served Austin before and after the Civil War as a firefighter. During the Civil War, he was one of an estimated 100 firefighters who volunteered to the Confederate army, becoming Captain of Company E of the 33rd Texas Cavalry. Later, Metz was elected as tax assessor for Travis County from 1879 to 1900. Metz then served the Austin school board as member and then president from 1902 until his death in 1915. Shortly after his death, Metz Elementary School was opened and named after him. Metz is buried at Oakwood Cemetery.
Background of Rodolfo "Rudy" Mendez
Rudy Mendez, born in Austin in 1944, studied dance and performing arts in New York and Spain. He also served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Chile and Costa Rica, touring with each country's national ballet company and developing performing arts curriculum and programs for youth. In 1978, he returned to Austin and founded the Ballet East Dance Company to provide a platform for young choreographers and dancers and to develop vigorous outreach to Black and Hispanic communities in East Austin. From 1978 to 2000, Mr. Mendez worked for the Parks and Recreation Department as a program specialist at Metz Recreation Center. In 1989, he developed the nationally recognized "Dare to Dance" program. Mendez also created the Folkloric Dance and Mentoring Program to encourage students living in East Austin to graduate high school. Rudy Mendez died in 2019.
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