Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Friday, March 27, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council wants ‘bridge aid’ for residents, businesses ahead of federal COVID-19 help

City Council directed staff to move quickly in the coming weeks to allocate direct payments and other forms of aid to residents and small businesses that have taken a severe financial hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.A wide-reaching item passed on…

Thursday, March 26, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council vote could allow online board and commission meetings during COVID-19 quarantine

The city’s boards and commissions, which have been sidelined since mid-March because of bans on large gatherings linked to the spread of COVID-19, could get the green light to hold virtual meetings.Today City Council is expected to vote on temporarily…

Wednesday, March 25, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Latest Zandan poll shows more Austinites see city on ‘wrong track’

The latest edition of Austin pollster Peter Zandan’s survey of Austin residents’ attitudes on city issues shows that a growing number think the city is headed in the wrong direction.The responses, which were gathered in the first months of 2020,…

Tuesday, March 24, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Continued restaurant closures could mean 21,000 lost jobs by summer

A prolonged shutdown of area restaurants into the late spring and summer months is projected to result in 21,000 lost jobs throughout Travis County, with $738 million in total lost wages. Those figures come from an analysis of restaurant industry…

Monday, March 23, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council widens scope of how to lessen COVID-19’s economic impact

A City Council resolution intended to assist small businesses and employees impacted by the cancellation of South by Southwest has been expanded in recent days to include aid for child care services and health care providers for senior citizens, with…

Friday, March 20, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City looks for funds, including hotel tax, to cushion COVID-19 economic impact

City staff and members of City Council have fine-tuned their plans for assisting small businesses and employees facing financial difficulties from the cancellation of South by Southwest and other fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.Council Member Jimmy Flannigan posted a draft…

Wednesday, March 18, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Homeless advocates organize against petition to reinstate anti-camping laws

The coalition of community groups that pushed for the city to decriminalize homelessness last summer has organized opposition to a petition drive that seeks to reverse the ordinance change via referendum.The Homes Not Handcuffs Coalition, which includes the Texas ACLU,…

Monday, March 16, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Virus impact grabs attention from transit, land use at panel for NW Austin Council members

Even with long-term issues such as local transit and the city’s proposed new Land Development Code up for debate, three City Council members representing the Northwest Austin area couldn’t get away from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic during a…

Thursday, March 12, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Council to examine aid for ‘SXSW resilience’ after festival’s cancellation

City Council and staffers will spend much of next week looking at how to provide assistance to small businesses and workers who stand to be severely impacted by last week’s decision to cancel the South by Southwest festival.In a post…

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City offers info sessions for next round of historic preservation grants

The city has opened the application process for the latest round of grants to aid in the preservation of historic structures that can promote cultural tourism throughout Austin.With a May 1 deadline looming, the Heritage Tourism Division has scheduled the…

Monday, March 9, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City, businesses work to offset economic impacts of SXSW cancellation

With the cancellation of this year’s South By Southwest festival, some local businesses and charitable organizations have launched fundraising drives in an effort to provide support to businesses and employees impacted by the loss of 10 days of high-volume tourist…

Thursday, March 5, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City adds funding and transparency to program helping endangered creative spaces

The city is making changes to a program created to assist music venues and creative spaces facing displacement, with the primary goal of making the selection process for grant recipients more transparent.The Creative Space Assistance Program, which was fully launched…

Wednesday, March 4, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Public health experts address state of COVID-19, with no plans to scrap SXSW

Tuesday’s Travis County Commissioners Court meeting was virtually a preview of a news conference scheduled for today regarding the region’s response to the ongoing spread of COVID-19, more commonly known as the coronavirus.During a presentation to the five-member board, Dr.…

Monday, March 2, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Parks board asks Council to add commercial projects to parkland dedication ordinance

The Parks and Recreation Board has asked for a change to the city’s parkland dedication ordinance that would require commercial developments to set aside parkland or make a fee-in-lieu payment to the city.The resolution unanimously approved at last week’s parks…

Friday, February 28, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Hey, small businesses: The city wants to give you money

The city is seeking small businesses of all kinds that want to learn how to take home some of the tens of millions of dollars in city contracts for goods and services each year.Wednesday marks the second annual Small Business…

Thursday, February 27, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Parks board does deep dive on Austin City Limits Fest contract for Zilker Park

The city’s contract with Austin City Limits promoter C3 Presents was put under the microscope at Tuesday’s meeting of the Parks and Recreation Board, as part of an overall look at how the Parks and Recreation Department can generate more…

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

City looks to hike fees on downtown developers opting out of affordability requirements

The city has proposed increasing the fees paid by downtown developers looking to add density to their construction projects but opting not to include affordable units in the buildings.At last week’s Downtown Commission meeting, a presentation on the plan to…

Monday, February 24, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Seeking increased safety, Downtown Commission asks city to fully staff APD

The Downtown Commission has asked City Council to increase staffing levels for the Austin Police Department in the next budget year, while adding more public video cameras and lighting to busy pedestrian areas.The unanimously approved resolution came at last week’s…

Friday, February 21, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Eckhardt talks revenue caps, Palm School negotiation in State of the County address

At several turns during her State of the County address Thursday, Travis County Judge Sarah Eckhardt reminded listeners that in many respects, the county operates as an extension of Texas’ state government. The pluses and minuses of that framework, she…

Thursday, February 20, 2020 by Chad Swiatecki

Activists push to protect Palm School, eyeing property’s role in proposed cultural district

With Travis County moving ahead with action that could lead to development of the historic Palm School site downtown, local activists are hoping the city can find a way to preserve the property and make it a major part of…

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