Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Friday, August 7, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Austin joins national pilot program exploring how to safely reopen music venues

Austin has signed up as a pilot city for a national effort to establish guidelines for music venues looking to reopen safely once the public health threats from the Covid-19 pandemic are lessened.Today the city will announce its partnership with…

Friday, August 7, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

UT incubator takes the lead in health care consortium targeting Covid-19 and future pandemics

The University of Texas’ Austin Technology Incubator is leading a new consortium of more than 50 health care organizations from around the state working to combat the Covid-19 pandemic and prepare for future widespread disease outbreaks.The Texas Global Health Security…

Tuesday, August 4, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Staff memo spells out options, tight time frame for Council’s push for active transit bond

City staff members have expressed concern to City Council over direction to put together a bond proposal for the November election that would look to generate $750 million to fund sidewalks, trails and other “active transportation” improvements.Last week Council approved…

Monday, August 3, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Study pushes city toward using data, results in plans to address homelessness

The city and organizations working to solve homelessness will adopt a more data-heavy approach to achieving the goals of the 2018 Action Plan to End Homelessness. The move to handle contracts for homeless services in a results-focused way is expected…

Friday, July 31, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

With stages silent, Austin’s music venues need help to stay open

In his role as spokesperson for the cluster of live music venues concentrated on Red River Street, Cody Cowan relies on a graphic visual to convey the reality of those businesses’ prospects of surviving the Covid-19 pandemic.Now fully closed since…

Tuesday, July 28, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City moving forward with plans for $12M to acquire space for artists, musicians

This week City Council is expected to consider an agreement with the Texas Facilities Commission that will begin the process of acquiring creative spaces around the city using a $12 million bond approved in 2018.The interlocal agreement would approve up…

Monday, July 27, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Music Commission eyes police dollars instead of hotel tax to support Black music fund

Included in the Music Commission’s request to create a Black Live Music Fund may be a suggestion that the city look for money outside of the Hotel Occupancy Tax – including funds intended for law enforcement – to rebuild the…

Thursday, July 23, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Austin music venues seek $20 million from city to prevent closures

Austin’s Music Venue Alliance plans to ask the city to provide $20 million in aid specifically for music venues that have been closed since mid-March due to the Covid-19 pandemic.The Music Venue Preservation Fund request was discussed at Wednesday’s Music…

Tuesday, July 21, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Push for 2021 charter amendments could make Austin a ‘strong mayor’ city

A new group of community activists and political insiders intends to push for amendments to the city charter that could bring about a change to a “strong mayor” form of government, along with other changes focused on increasing voter turnout…

Monday, July 20, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Housing department seeks to move unused home repair funds toward homelessness

The city will likely redirect a $2.6 million unused Community Development Block Grant intended for home repairs to create more housing for the homeless in the next budget year.Last week the Community Development Commission voted 9-2 to approve the 2020-21…

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Garza captures county attorney post, with plans to reform criminal cases

Mayor Pro Tem Delia Garza will take over the position of Travis County attorney after defeating longtime city and county attorney Laurie Eiserloh in Tuesday’s primary election. Garza captured 56.7 percent of the more than 113,000 votes cast and tabulated…

Tuesday, July 14, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Commission wants more detail and authority behind police oversight findings

The Mayor’s Committee for People with Disabilities has signed on to a resolution passed by the Human Rights Commission that asks the Austin Police Department to investigate all complaints recommended for investigation by the Office of Police Oversight.The committee voted…

Monday, July 13, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Music Commission looks at Black cultural district, music fund based on equity

Turning its attention to equity issues facing the city’s music and creative communities, the Music Commission plans to meet every two weeks for the foreseeable future to address those concerns.The commission voted unanimously at last week’s meeting to create a working…

Wednesday, July 8, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Survey predicts 90 percent of Austin live music venues to close by Halloween

A survey of Austin businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic finds that 90 percent of the city’s live music venues are likely to permanently close by this fall.That forecast was one of the conclusions of a June survey conducted by…

Tuesday, July 7, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Political vets line up to take on City Hall, educate Austinites on transit and other key issues

A new nonprofit group appears ready to oppose ongoing City Council actions concerning mass transit, public safety, land use and city finances, promising a targeted education campaign in the coming months.The group Voices of Austin, a 501(c)(4) organized earlier this…

Monday, July 6, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Parks advocates push $750M bond proposal to add sidewalks, trails throughout city

Parks and transportation advocates hope to put a $750 million bond proposal on the November ballot that would fund many construction projects centered around “active transportation” found in the Austin Strategic Mobility Plan.The effort, led by the group Austin Outside,…

Thursday, July 2, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

No ACL Fest means delays to parks projects, millions lost for parks foundation

Improvement projects at parks throughout the city will be delayed for up to 18 months as a result of the official cancellation of the Austin City Limits Festival.Organizers of the two-weekend event, which was set to take place in October…

Tuesday, June 30, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City moving forward with improvements to Red River district

The city’s long-planned improvements to the streetscape of the Red River Cultural District will move forward through the summer with planning and budgeting for construction projects to improve the sidewalks and other features of the area.A recent city memo outlines…

Monday, June 29, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Arts Commission shifts deepest funding cuts away from minority groups

Racial minority groups will be spared the deepest cuts in Cultural Arts contract funding in the next budget, if the recent recommendation of the Arts Commission is supported by City Council.On Friday the commission approved a funding matrix for the…

Thursday, June 25, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Arts Commission to decide on next year’s funding, with deep cuts for all

Arts groups that have received contracts from the city’s Cultural Arts office in recent years will likely see significant decreases next year, with some groups in line to lose more than half of the funding they received in their most…

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