AUSTIN (KXAN) - A new business in East Austin is getting some rave reviews, but not from all of the neighbors who live around it. You've probably heard about tubing along the Colorado River, just off East Cesar Chavez Street and Springdale Road.
East Side Tubes has been open for two months, and there's now backlash from people who don't want the people in their backyard or along the river.
When Dan Walker started East Side Tubes out of his kayaking and fishing business, he knew the concept of "floating the river" would come with challenges.
"We brought on this tubing thing as a risky type thing," he said.
But he never imagined how tough the opposition would be.
"Those people in the tubing business cannot control their crowds," said Daniel Llanes.
Llanes is the chair of the River Bluff Neighborhood Association. He says the business attracts more people and trouble to his neighborhood.
"They've been out in the sun, and they've been drinking, and then they come out and they get in their cars and they drive drunk through our neighborhood," Llanes said. "[The business is] promoting it and they're capitalizing on a drunken frat party."
"That's what's down south," said Walker, "that's not what's here in Austin. My Sundays are 200 people of families, usually."
Another concern is protecting the park on the south shore of the river and a nature preserve on the north.
Llanes says tubing, and what people leave behind, is harmful to the environment. But Walker says East Side Tubes takes part in regular river clean-ups. They also offer an incentive: $5 off for tubers who pick up and bring back river trash while they're out.
"It's cleaner now than it was, and people need to come see that," Walker said. "All the tubers that come and see that go, 'Wow, this is the cleanest place we've ever been.'"
Those efforts don't keep the critics at bay.
"People in this part of town do not want Lady Bird Lake on the east side commercialized the way Lady Bird Lake is on the west side," Llanes said.
The neighborhood association has met with the city's parks and recreation department, legal department, and code enforcement to express their concerns.
East Side Tubes says they have their commercial operating license. They're waiting for a final certificate of occupancy from the city. They think the opposition from some neighbors is delaying the process.
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