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Council renames water treatment facility for Berl Handcox

Friday, August 4, 2017 by Nina Hernandez

Yesterday, City Council honored one of its own by renaming the Austin Water Treatment Plant 4 for Berl Handcox, the first African-American elected to Council under the Manager-Council form of government. During his tenure, the former Council member championed the Community Improvement Program and the Handcox Paving Policy, and was known as an advocate for water and wastewater facilities. Handcox, who served on Council from 1971 until 1975, told the Austin Monitor he was honored by the resolution, which was sponsored by Council Member Jimmy Flannigan. “I appreciate Council Member Flannigan and the mayor for that recognition,” he said. Referring to the difficulty local leaders have in pulling together the political will to pay for big infrastructure needs, he added, “I feel some empathy for the Council people, because those problems will never go away. The city’s growing, a lot of people want to move here to live in this community, which is a very special community for most of us. We want it to be acceptable to everyone, but it costs.” Handcox has been a resident of District 6, which Flannigan represents, for more than four decades. “To get to name such a substantial piece of city infrastructure, that’s also in District 6, is really the perfect way (to recognize him), and I’m very honored to get to do it.” Flannigan said he can learn from Handcox’s legacy as an advocate for equitable infrastructure as he serves his time on the dais, noting that District 6 is the most remote part of the city. “When we talk about geographic representation and equitable distribution of resources and infrastructure, that is a mandate from my voters and my constituents that we look at the entire city and ensure that every part of it is being treated fairly.”

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