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Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Friday, March 22, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

As hotel tax growth slows, Tourism Commission targets short-term rentals

The growth of short-term rental activity in the city and a possible saturation of the local hotel market are seen as the biggest causes behind a flattening of Austin’s once fast-growing Hotel Occupancy Tax revenue.That was the conclusion at this…

Thursday, March 21, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

With new hiring, city adds focus to issues of growing senior population

The city’s recent hiring of a program coordinator for issues related to the local senior population, and a community session next week on possible future budget needs for senior services, have elevated the attention paid to one of Austin’s fastest-growing…

Wednesday, March 20, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Cronk announces final assistant managers, filling safety and mobility posts

A current assistant city manager and a newcomer to City Hall have been selected as the newest assistant city managers as part of a realignment of top city staff under City Manager Spencer Cronk.On Tuesday, the city announced the selection…

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

After music think tank, Austin eyeing new music census, programming

A group of leaders from prominent music cities across North America spent two days in Austin last week brainstorming the issues that have become a regular part of the economic dialogue in Austin: affordability, compatibility and sustainability.The Sound Music Cities…

Monday, March 18, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Discussing the opportunities and challenges of smart city accessibility

At a high-minded talk about the impacts of smart city technology speeding ahead without including input from disabled communities, a stark example from the city of Toronto hammered the point home during last week’s South by Southwest conference.The anecdote came…

Friday, March 15, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Open data movement brings tough questions for city-led panel

With Austin chock-full of forward-thinking tech professionals and ideologues from a variety of industries attending South by Southwest, the city and several leaders behind the movement for open data gathered this week to examine where that cause is headed.The March…

Thursday, March 14, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Communication and expectations seen as key in move to smart cities

The term “smart cities” has a variety of roles in present-day civic planning discourse. It’s certainly a buzzword – “smart” as a descriptor appears 16 times in the titles of panels and sessions at this year’s South by Southwest conference –…

Wednesday, March 13, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Lessons for Austin abound in cities where crises produced affordable housing

The good news about Austin’s growing housing affordability crisis – if there can be such a thing – is that the city hasn’t suffered a natural disaster or a financial meltdown that would serve as the impetus to build new…

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Europe offers a road map for moving from cars to bikes and scooters

As Austin continues to grapple with managing the growing commercial fleets of electric scooters available on its streets, other questions about urban mobility multiplied at this year’s South by Southwest Conference.In a pair of short talks on March 9 from…

Monday, March 11, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Council OKs full $12M for creative space preservation, creation

The city’s creative leaders will have a full $12 million in bond money as their conceptual modeling clay later this month when the community begins to consider how best to protect Austin’s shrinking stock of arts spaces and music venues.City…

Thursday, March 7, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

City expands money, eligibility for creative space assistance

The city has nearly quadrupled its funding and expanded accessibility for a 2017 pilot program to assist creative spaces at risk of closing due to rising rents or maintenance issues.The Creative Space Assistance Program has more than $750,000 available to…

Monday, March 4, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Real estate group hears tough talk from homeless advocates

As one of the city’s leading advocates for the homeless, Ann Howard knows not to waste an opportunity when she gets in front of a room full of people who can help her cause. So she didn’t mince words last…

Thursday, February 28, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

South station closure marks start of municipal court facilities shuffle

A significant shuffling of operations is in store for Austin Municipal Court in the coming months, thanks in large part to Friday’s permanent closure of the court’s south substation on Manchaca Road.The closure will leave South Austin residents with two…

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Groups eyeing $12M for creative spaces learn ‘process is complicated’

Organizations with designs on how best to use the $12 million the city has pledged to preserve creative spaces will likely have to clear a complicated set of legal requirements before any of the money is released this fall.That was…

Tuesday, February 26, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Venues face tough realities in city’s active shooter training

“Remember that the intent of this person is to end your life.”Those sobering words, delivered last Wednesday by Austin Police Department Officer Josh Visi, came as something of a wake-up call for the 40 or so concert venue owners and…

Friday, February 22, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Petition drive to stall stadium will likely head to voters, after construction start

The petition drive started last year in an attempt to stall or prevent the construction of a soccer stadium on city property could go before voters in November, roughly two months after construction of the 20,000-seat facility is expected to…

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Council wants more cooperation, action at watershed homeless sites

City Council members sitting on the Health and Human Services Committee told city staff last week they want more urgency and cross-department team work in the execution of a new pilot program to clean up homeless encampments located in the…

Tuesday, February 19, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Medical school seeking ideas that think outside the doc’s office

The Dell Medical School at the University of Texas is looking for local organizations with ideas on how to improve the health of Austin-area residents away from the doctor’s office.In partnership with the Houston-based Episcopal Health Foundation, the medical school…

Friday, February 15, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Incentives or no, Amazon growing in Austin after nixing New York

The announcement Thursday that Amazon is canceling its planned HQ2 facility in Queens, New York, confirmed what many business and policy watchers in Austin have predicted: In the coming years Austin will see a slice of the 25,000 planned jobs…

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 by Chad Swiatecki

Certified petition brings more questions on soccer stadium

The city of Austin has certified the petition circulated by residents opposed to a planned soccer stadium that would be built on city-owned property.The petition drive began last year and was pushed by a group known as Friends of McKalla…

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