Stories by Chad Swiatecki

Wednesday, April 21, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Questions abound with convention center’s future up in the air

With up being the only viable direction in which to significantly expand the Austin Convention Center, the deal structure and timeline for such a project appears to have gotten far more complicated. Former City Council Member Jimmy Flannigan is now…

Monday, April 19, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Music supporters’ budget proposals seek $20M+ for pandemic recovery

Advocates for Austin’s music community have come forward with a pair of budget proposals urging the city to earmark roughly $20 million in its next budget specifically for music-related purposes to help the creative economy recover from the pandemic. On…

Friday, April 16, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City names anti-displacement officer as real estate prices climb

As Austin’s real estate prices continue to soar, the city has named a new point person in charge of reducing the displacement of residents from affordable housing units. Nefertitti Jackmon recently started her new role as the community displacement prevention…

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Prop H gets support from community leaders pushing ‘democracy dollars’

Leaders from a variety of community and political advocacy groups voiced their support Tuesday for Proposition H, the ballot proposal popularly known as “democracy dollars” that is intended to bring public financing into local elections. Members of Austinites for Progressive…

Tuesday, April 13, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City sizes up options for creative space purchases with 2018 bonds

The city’s new economic development corporation will likely be able to purchase two music venue spaces and create a handful of shared facilities for creative arts groups using much of the $12 million voters approved in 2018 for creative space…

Friday, April 9, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City awards second round of SAVES funds to closed music venues

The city has begun awarding grants to 28 music venues selected to receive assistance from a $5 million program created to help preserve businesses that have been largely closed since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic last spring. The grants…

Thursday, April 8, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City seeks input on post-Covid economic recovery plan

The city is taking feedback from residents on a wide-reaching plan to restructure how many departments operate, and how economic development is handled in the post-pandemic world. The Economic Recovery and Resiliency Framework is a list of 45 ways the…

Tuesday, April 6, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City, live music advocates decry legislation that would limit noise regulations

City leaders and live music advocates spoke out Monday against a bill in the Texas Legislature that would limit the ability of cities to regulate amplified sound from bars and music venues. The press conference at downtown club 3Ten was…

Monday, April 5, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Panel weighs future potential of city’s health care innovation district

The battle over reconstructing Interstate 35, and the stalled Land Development Code update, are factors that continue to influence the shape and scope of the developing health care innovation district in the eastern section of downtown Austin. Those larger civic…

Friday, April 2, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Ranked-choice voting proposal faces legal, legislative questions after May election

There are two questions at play for Proposition E, which would seek to create ranked-choice voting in city elections. One of those questions will be decided by voters in May, while a larger one will likely play out between city…

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Prop H critics want more inclusivity in ‘democracy dollars’ program

Advocates for local immigrant workers have come out against the “democracy dollars” ballot proposal set to go before voters in May, and are pushing City Council to pass an ordinance expanding its eligibility if the initiative succeeds. Proposition H would create…

Tuesday, March 30, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Prop G’s extra Council seat could mean gridlock if strong-mayor proposal fails

As voters ponder the eight ballot proposals they will see at the ballot box in May, City Council’s move to split the question of installing a strong mayor from the addition of a Council seat appears to have opened up…

Monday, March 29, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

‘Democracy dollars’ proposal looks to spread influence, participation in elections

Opinions are mixed about the potential impact of a ballot proposal that would provide city dollars to residents to fund local political campaigns, but proponents agree the intention is clear: to bring more people from throughout Austin into the political process.…

Wednesday, March 24, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Eckhardt, activists target ballot access bills in play for state lawmakers

Voters in Texas face the prospect of restricted access to the ballot box in coming years, with a group of Republican-proposed bills in the state Legislature drawing heavy criticism from Democrats and others concerned about increased obstacles to voting. The…

Tuesday, March 23, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

City offers guidelines for events to reopen safely amid pandemic concerns

The city has released a new set of guidelines for event safety that looks to provide some clarity and help a critical piece of the local economy recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. On Friday the Austin Center…

Monday, March 22, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Post-storm plumber shortage produces demand for rapid training programs

Motivated by the high demand for plumbers brought on by last month’s severe winter storms, local job training organizations have increased their push to enroll students in a variety of skilled trades programs, including electrical and heating/ventilation/air conditioning. Skilled plumbers were…

Wednesday, March 17, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Sendero survey finds demographic gaps in willingness to get Covid vaccines

A study of at-risk residents in the Austin area shows large numbers of respondents willing to take a Covid-19 vaccine, with African American and Latino populations showing much more vaccine hesitancy. The survey was conducted in November and December last…

Tuesday, March 16, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Music, Downtown commissions explore options for preserving downtown venues

With music venues and creative spaces becoming more endangered as real estate prices continue to climb, members of the Downtown Commission and Music Commission are looking to enlist other groups in an effort to include those spaces in new developments.…

Monday, March 15, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Equity proponents push developers for better feedback in housing projects

As Austin continues to rapidly grow, developers and community advocates from across the city see a need for more engagement with marginalized communities when planning housing projects intended to reduce gentrification. The need for door knocking and face-to-face involvement was…

Monday, February 22, 2021 by Chad Swiatecki

Council members criticize Cronk’s silence on call for food assistance

Members of City Council have criticized City Manager Spencer Cronk for what they characterize as a poor response to their call last week to have the city set up a food assistance program for residents without food or water in…

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