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Carol Barrett

Wednesday, July 5, 2000 by

City of Austin's leader of neighborhood planning

By Nancy Love

Carol Barrett is manager of communications and planning in the City of Austin's Planning, Environmental, and Conservation Services Department. She designs and implements, in collaboration with others, a neighborhood planning program oriented toward conserving and sustaining the city's neighborhoods.

Barrett says, "We attempt to develop creative, dynamic, effective, innovative ways to get communities excited about their future and the opportunities change can offer. For a lot of people, change is very scary, and in working with neighborhoods we think collaboratively about the strengths and assets of neighborhoods–what they would most like to conserve as well as what they would most like to change. What new land uses and activities would they like to have come into their neighborhood? Along with that, we determine regulatory mechanisms, such as land use and zoning, as well as design guidelines. All of this can help guide the type, timing and intensity of new development."

Barrett says that the aspect of her job she enjoys most is contact with the citizens of this community. Currently she is participating, with her departmental colleagues, in the full range of tasks involved in the development and implementation of a number of neighborhood plans, including rezoning of certain areas.

Barrett has led neighborhood planning since February 1997. She has been employed by the City of Austin "for ten glorious, challenging years." Barrett moved to Austin in 1987 because her spouse was transferred here, and says the thing she likes most about Austin is the friendliness of the people.

Asked Austin's greatest challenge, Barrett says, "I think this city is challenged to (find) creative ways to conserve the best of its assets while simultaneously accommodating reasonable growth and change. I think the mayor and city council have already set the city on a good path in terms of the kinds of opportunities that are before us with the Smart Growth program as well as their strong support for environmental protection and social equity."

In her free time Barrett enjoys working with children. Teaching Sunday school is one of her favorite activities. Barrett has a master's degree in city planning from the Georgia Institute of Technology and she performed additional graduate work in theology at Austin Presbyterian Seminary. She was born in Miami, Florida. Her husband, Gary, is an employee of the federal government. Her son Craig is a sophomore at the University of Texas at Austin and her son Andrew will be attending the University of California at Berkeley this autumn.

New park-and-ride sites…Beginning Monday, July 10, downtown workers who want to shuttle in on Capital Metro's Dillo have three choices. Dillo customers will be able to park at Austin High School, north of Town Lake under the MoPac Expressway Bridge; at the baseball fields on Toomey Road, south of Town Lake just west of South Lamar Boulevard, next to Zachary Scott Theater; and at Krieg Softball Complex, 517 S. Pleasant Valley Road. The three locations will provide parking space for more than 500 vehicles in all, about the number that have been parking at Palmer Auditorium daily. The Palmer lot will close Friday, July 7, to make way for construction of the new special events center. For more information, call Capital Metro's public relations manager, Ted Burton, at 389-7550 or visit the web site at www.capmetro.org.

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