In the last column, I previewed a few meetings coming up this week, so I’ll follow up with a quick recap this time around. The first came Tuesday’s update on the Capital Express Central plan to rebuild I-35 through Central Austin and in fact my fellow page Mike Clark-Madison has covered that in detail here. I will only note that while the TxDOT the presentation was pretty upbeat about all the improvements they made to the new plan in response to audience feedback – some of it quite stark – reviews from critics came out the next morning and they were, shall we say, mixed.
“Rethink35 slap without reserve [TxDOT]updated plans for I-35 and calls for an immediate halt to the Central I-35 Capital Express project,” read the statement from that coalition, while Reconnect Austin was considerably more measured: “Modified Alternative 3, shared today by TxDOT, reflects progress toward our shared goals. Reconnect Austin will continue to work with all stakeholders to design a project that will further contribute to these shared goals. We We encourage everyone to review these new plans for I-35 Central and provide feedback to TxDOT as soon as possible. Additional information on today’s significant changes will help refine this project further. So, all claps and shares around the world will affect any further course changes on this massive dreadnought heading our way down the highway?Find out by telling TxDOT what you think at my35capex.com.
On Wednesday, the Urban Land Institute of Austin’s Monthly Breakfast – to present and discuss the Austin Economic Development Corporationit is Austin Cultural Trust and its real estate-driven mission to preserve and create music venues and other creative arts spaces in the city — didn’t have the controversy or tell-all factor of the TxDOT meeting the night before. It’s easy to make the case for cultural community, especially in a city that hangs its hat on its creative class. And since the almost 2-year-old initiative hasn’t done anything yet, it hasn’t done anything wrong yet. The devil will surely be in the details, but everyone is sounding all the right notes, with the right tone of urgency, as they finally begin to review proposals for actual projects to be funded in the first round of investments. And for its real estate public, John Riedie of Austin Creative Alliance had the following pitch: “This is a long-term play. If your industry is going to thrive in 20 years, the culture in this city has to thrive in 20 years. We want to make sure that young artists still want to come here and create work. And that basic stuff…this three-person organization that’s doing crazy experimental theater right now, might one day produce HBO series here in town. If they have a place to do their job, well Learn more about the fund and how to apply for the RFP at austinedc.org/cultural-trust.
Register to vote: Next Monday, January 31, is the deadline to register to vote in the March primaries. If you do not have a valid voter registration card, you can check your status or register online at the Texas Secretary of State website. Or register in person at the County Clerk’s Voter Registration Division at 5501 Airport Blvd. (Monday-Friday, 7:30 a.m.-4 p.m.) or satellite locations (Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-4 p.m.): 4011 McKinney Falls Pkwy., 15822 Foothill Farms Loop in Pflugerville, or 8656 Hwy. 71 W. to Oak Hill.
And speaking of deadlines, 5 p.m. this Friday, January 28 is the deadline to apply for a Austin Music Disaster Relief Grant, a municipal program that provides one-time, unrestricted $2,000 grants to local musicians and music industry workers facing hardship due to COVID. Learn more and apply online at austintexas.gov/department/austin-music-disaster-relief-grant.
Send gossip, dirt, innuendo, rumors and other useful information to nbarbaro at austinchronicle.com.