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MACC Board takes heat from constituents over pending land deal
Friday, September 6, 2013 by Charlotte Moore
The advisory board for the Emma S. Barrientos Mexican American Cultural Center received a slight verbal lashing from two community activists at its meeting Wednesday night, a result of rising frustration over the fate of a prime parcel of city-owned land at 64 Rainey Street.
But board members and supporters of the city-owned center have for months successfully blocked that plan. They want
“I think that this board needs to realize that it’s the board’s responsibility to take care of this issue,” said long-time
The area – at historic points predominately white, then predominately Mexican American – has in recent years become one a prime neighborhood for redevelopment. Trendy houses-turned-bars have sprung up on
The MACC Advisory Board has five times drafted and adopted resolutions stressing its commitment to fight to preserve the land for public use.
Local politico and MACC supporter Paul Saldaña had stern words for the board.
“Look what the electric utility commission just did,” he said, referring to the abrupt resignation of commission members. (See In Fact Daily, June 18) “You’ve adopted five resolutions and the Council’s not doing anything. If they’re not going to hear you, then walk off. Why are you here? Why are we all here, even having a meeting? If I were in your shoes, I would be pissed off. I would be furious.”
Saldaña finished his statement by explaining his frustration is not with the board, but with City Council.
Shelby Alexander, a recently hired executive assistant to Council Member Mike Martinez, attended the meeting and told the group she was there to listen and to relay concerns to her superior.
Saldaña later told In Fact Daily many MACC supporters were insulted that
“Our office has been nothing other than completely responsive to Paul and any other members of the community that have asked us about this issue,”
Since then, there has been no decision about what to do with the land. For the time being, it appears the lot is off limits to anyone.
“The property is currently being used for the construction of the Waller Creek tunnel,”
Saldaña said this is a “stalling tactic.”
“Many members of our Latino community remain very disappointed with
Meanwhile, the center’s board is expecting fiscal year 2014 funding from the city in the amount of $904,594. In addition, the board is asking for $243,198 to fund an after-school, culturally-based program for east Austin Latino youth.
Board Chair Juan Oyervides said he understands the frustration regarding the
“We are as frustrated,” he said. “But, we’re also optimistic that the city will recognize what we’ve been recommending for several months now. The most we can do is to make our recommendations to Council.”