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June 2009

Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association Newsletter

June 2009

Vol. 3, Issue 6



Thursday, June 11, 2009
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
El Sol y La Luna @ 600 E. 6th St. (map) (transit)

DANA Members, please join us at El Sol y La Luna for this month’s Urban Core Happy Hour. El Sol y La Luna has relocated from its long time home on South Congress to Austin’s Historic Sixth Street. Please join us for some great food, drinks and live music provided by Timba Rain.

DANA is joining the East César Chávez Neighborhood in an East-West combined event, Saturday, July 4th, from 4 PM to 8 PM in Palm Park (transit). Bring your picnic basket, lawn chairs, and bathing suits for the pool. Old-fashioned family games such as egg toss, wheelbarrow and sack races, 4 square, tetherball, dominoes and many more activities will be available. After the games and swimming, the party will move to the waterfront to view the City Fireworks display. Details are still being worked out. For more information, contact Michael McGill.



The new and improved DANA website is now available for your use. Many further improvements and enhancements are coming in the near future, so check back frequently. Access the new site with our same address www.DowntownAustin.org.

The 2009 Downtown Living Tour (DLT) Planning Committee is pleased to announce Gables Residential as the Title Sponsor! We still need tour homes, sponsors and volunteers. Remember, if your business is a sponsor, your volunteers will be able to wear your company’s “logo gear” and expose participants from across the city to your “brand”. To participate in any of these areas, please contact Lindsay Wiebrand. And remember, the tour date is Sunday, October 11th.

The next meeting of the DLT Planning Committee will be held Monday, June 15 from 6 PM to 7 PM, at the offices of Independence Title, located at 300 W. 6th St., Ste. 120. (map)(transit)

We are proud to announce DANA’s sponsorship of the Austin Parks Foundation and the Centennial Celebration of Wooldridge Square Park (transit)- a year long celebration that will kick off with an event on Saturday, June 20th at 1 PM.  Come out for a very special event featuring giant chess, cupcakes, family-friendly live music, a dance performance, and the taking of a panoramic photo, similar to one taken at the park’s dedication in 1909.  The photo will be presented to the Austin History Center next door, which will be opening an exhibit that day chronicling the storied history of Downtown Austin’s first park and its longtime speaker’s corner. For more information on the park’s interesting past, download the Downtown Austin Alliance’s Historical Study. We hope to see DANA Members out in the park on June 20th! 




Board member Bill McCann has been actively keeping abreast of developments regarding the Downtown Austin Plan (DAP), and has provided to DANA Members the following brief summary regarding current progress with the plan:

Last month, Roma Design Group and its’ consultant team members presented their DAP preliminary recommendations regarding the Density Bonus Program and the Affordable Housing Strategy. Click on the linked topic names to download a copy of these reports. These and other important documents related to the DAP may be found on the City’s DAP webpage.

The next step in the process, prior to City Council briefing scheduled for July 23rd, is to solicit and incorporate public feedback. Feedback should be provided by e-mailing comments to Erica Leak in the Neighborhood Planning and Zoning Depart

I strongly encourage you to take the time to carefully read through these two documents. The Affordable Housing Strategy recommendation incorporates the recommendations presented in the Density Bonus Program. As such, you would be well served to read the Density Bonus Program document first. If you are not familiar with the basic concept of a development density bonus, I suggest you postpone reading the Executive Summary, at the beginning of this document until after you read the other sections so as not to be confused by terms and concepts which are fully developed in the body of the document.

Please note, the Density Bonus Program document contains 29 pages and the Affordable Housing Strategy document contains 59 pages. My reading and comprehension of these two documents took approximately 2 hours.

The DANA Board, through its’ Urban Living Team, is undertaking a careful review of these documents and will be meeting to develop a consensus response that will be forwarded to the Roma Design Team. We strongly encourage all interested DANA members to also speak out individually and identify yourself as a DANA Member in your correspondence with Ms. Leak.

The Urban Core Friendly Neighborhood Can Food Competition is underway! Food collection bins are in place and ready to receive your generous contributions. On Tuesday, June 9th, the bins will be collected, items will be measured and a winner will be announced at the Urban Core Happy Hour at La Sol y La Luna. Don’t delay – make your contribution count.

If you are interested in making a cash donation, which Caritas can always use, please contact Lindsay Wiebrand for specific instructions.

Many thanks to the following buildings for their participation: 100 Congress, 1005 Congress, The 5 Fifty Five, AMLI Downtown, AMLI on 2nd, Brazos Place, Milago Condominiums (sponsored in part by The Boutique Real Estate), Plaza Lofts, Sabine on 5th and The Villas on Town Lake.


The Austin City Council recently approved a new ordinance governing permits for closing streets, after a Street Closures Task Force met for several months.  DANA President, Jamie Lagarde, played a pivotal role in ensuring that downtown residents will be able to move in, out, and around the neighborhood continuously even during special events. In general, the new ordinance and rules will allow DANA Members to better co-exist with events like races and festivals. Thanks to Jamie for his hard work on this important project.

If you would like to learn more about rules changes, access the interactive map of street closures or view the calendar of future street closures, visit the new City of Austin website dedicated to Special Event-Street Closures. For those interested, the next Urban Transportation Commission meeting is scheduled at City Hall on Tuesday, June 9th at 6 PM.


Why Downtown?

Why do you live, work, play or love downtown? Doug Laford answers our question this month. Doug grew up in San Diego, and was an expert boggie boarder in his early years. Doug currently works as a consultant for ADP. In his free time, Doug serves on the DANA Social Team. He was last seen at a DANA event serving DANA-tinis. Make a point of saying hello to Doug at our next event.

As a technical consultant working from home, I found myself faced with an opportunity to live anywhere in the United States. I chose Austin for its reputation as a great place to live and warm weather. I found myself downtown on my second day in Austin, and it was then I knew where I would stay.

It’s difficult to capture the last 9 months of living here into a few words. Live music and the downtown city lights provided the backdrop for my first walk home. Within the first week, before I even had furniture, I had new friends. My brand new car has gathered a light coat of dust in the garage, maybe seeing the road for 10 miles a week. EVERYTHING is within walking distance. My “back yard”, once a rural landscape in Oregon, is now alive with people of all kinds. It includes a wide variety of restaurants, shopping, live music and more bars and clubs than most cities have. The bright shiny center of Austin is where I live, work and play.


Special Thanks
This month’s contributors were Ruth Framel, Doug Laford, Jamie Lagarde, Bill McCann, Michael McGill, Larry Schooler, and Lindsay Wiebrand.

DANA’s mission is to improve the quality of life for those who live, work, and play downtown. DANA influences decisions that affect downtown, educates and listens to residents and stakeholders about downtown and issues that affect them, and fosters a downtown community through social events.

Downtown Austin Neighborhood Association, P.O. Box 997, Austin, TX 78767


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