Stories by Seth Smalley

Thursday, April 15, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Capital Metro shifts from ‘surviving to thriving’ in 2021

At the April 14 meeting of Capital Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board of Directors, members reviewed operations performance statistics over the last year, covering topics ranging from total ridership to vehicle collision rates to promptness of Capital Metro vehicles. (Performance metrics…

Wednesday, April 14, 2021 by Seth Smalley

County prepares to launch emergency rental assistance program

County Executive Sherri Fleming spoke to the Commissioners Court on Tuesday to provide an update on the county’s emergency rental assistance program. She said Health and Human Services intends to begin outreach for the program on April 15. “We have…

Monday, April 12, 2021 by Seth Smalley

TxDOT wants to add four lanes to I-35, but a citizen work group is pushing ‘BAC’

At the April 5 joint meeting of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory councils (BAC and PAC), members reviewed a Google doc detailing their recommendations to the Texas Department of Transportation regarding the I-35 Capital Express Project. The massive highway project proposes adding…

Wednesday, April 7, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Commissioners approve Road and Bridge Division’s 2021 work plan

Following a brief presentation from Assistant Public Works Director David P. Hunter, the Travis County Commissioners Court unanimously passed the request to approve the Road and Bridge Division’s work plan for the 2021 fiscal year. Hunter’s presentation detailed the wide…

Wednesday, March 31, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Community development grant administrators gear up for 2021 projects

Travis County has received Community Development Block Grant funding since 2006 for the purpose of improving affordability, community facilities and revitalizing county neighborhoods. Last Tuesday, the Commissioners Court reviewed the CDBG funding annual action plan. “This public hearing is to…

Thursday, March 25, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Travis County Parks looks to remove historic Manchaca Gardens structure

The Commissioners Court fielded discussion Tuesday on the planned removal of structures at Manchaca Gardens; specifically, a former fire hall adjacent to Ladybird Montessori School. Charles Bergh, director of Travis County Parks, gave an overview of the property’s history to…

Monday, March 22, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Downtown Commission hears plans for APD headquarters relocation

Alex Gale from the city’s Office of Real Estate Services and Darrell Alexander from the Building Services Department spoke to the Downtown Commission Wednesday on the relocation of the Austin Police Department headquarters. Gale explained that Council had given direction…

Friday, March 19, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Presentation on city’s racist history explores why Black Austinites are leaving

A joint commission consisting of the bicycle and pedestrian advisory councils fielded a presentation Tuesday from the Equity Office on the history of racism in Austin. Topics ranged from redlining and gentrification to the schism between Austin’s stated values and…

Monday, March 15, 2021 by Seth Smalley

City launches revamped version of rental assistance program

Today the Housing and Planning Department, in partnership with the city housing authority, will launch a revamped version of RENT, the Relief of Emergency Needs for Tenants Assistance Program. Nefertitti Jackmon, the city’s housing and policy planning manager, presented to…

Friday, March 12, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Project Connect, anti-displacement funding made available

The Housing and Planning Committee convened on March 11, fielding discussion about anti-displacement funding, including $300 million from Project Connect tax revenue. The anti-displacement strategies discussed mostly involved using the money to acquire and preserve property in key locations for…

Wednesday, March 10, 2021 by Seth Smalley

County approves millions toward emergency rental assistance

The county is receiving $10.7 million in federal relief funds from the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021, designated for an emergency rental assistance program, or ERAP. In January it was announced that the county would receive the…

Monday, March 8, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Environmental Commission considers green impact of Brodie Oaks development

A billion-dollar development deal is in the works to reimagine the Brodie Oaks shopping center with the spotlight on ecology, connectivity and performance. Kate Clark with the Housing and Planning Department briefed the Environmental Commission on March 3, while Rebecca Leonard, CEO…

Wednesday, March 3, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Travis County continues to address damage from Winter Storm Uri

The Commissioners Court fielded ongoing conversation Tuesday regarding the lasting impacts of Winter Storm Uri, with a particular focus on damage from burst pipes. “We continue to do winter weather operations at the operation center. We have shifted into what…

Friday, February 26, 2021 by Seth Smalley

County wants permanent supportive housing – but first, where’s the money?

The Commissioners Court fielded statements from county executives Tuesday regarding a negotiation to fund hundreds of units of permanent supportive housing. Justice and Public Safety Executive Roger Jefferies spoke, as well as Health and Human Services Executive Sherri Fleming. The proposal,…

Wednesday, February 24, 2021 by Seth Smalley

County rose to weather crisis challenge – but it’s not over yet

As the weather warmed and the snow and ice began to thaw, Austin Water and other utilities in Travis County began to discover breaks in water mains. On top of rolling blackouts, the depressurization of water lines created the need…

Tuesday, February 23, 2021 by Seth Smalley

County issues anti-price gouging order

Last Thursday, in partnership with the Office of the Travis County Judge, the Travis County Attorney’s Office drafted an order prohibiting price-gouging for the duration of the Texas energy crisis. At an emergency session of the Commissioners Court, County Attorney…

Friday, February 19, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Frigid temps put strain on wildlife and pets alike

As an energy crisis triggered by unusually frigid weather persists throughout the state, even our wild neighbors have struggled to adjust, Texas Parks and Wildlife Department reports. Mortality events have been observed in several bird species, including various species of…

Thursday, February 18, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Animal Advisory Commission fields outcry over Gracywoods guinea fowl

In Sub-Saharan Africa, where bloodthirsty predators abound, the guinea fowl’s large numbers, fast legs, and plucky dispositions help protect them from looming peril. But over 8,000 miles away, in the charming North Austin neighborhood of Gracywoods, the birds face a…

Thursday, February 11, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Commissioners Court endorses ESD-17 for May ballot

The Commissioners Court held a public hearing Tuesday on a contentious ballot initiative to create a new emergency services district overlay. After hearing from proponents and opponents alike, ultimately the commissioners unanimously endorsed the referendum, which will appear on ballots…

Tuesday, February 9, 2021 by Seth Smalley

Ellen Wyse house denied historic designation, after owners protest

A debate at the Jan. 26 meeting of the Planning Commission centered around the merits of historic preservation versus the potentially regressive effects of a historic landmark designation on cash-strapped property owners. The owners and developer of the Ellen Wyse…

Back to Top