AUSTIN (KXAN) - On Thursday Austin City Council will vote on the future of the city.
The Downtown Austin Plan will go up for a vote, and it has the potential to shape everything from transportation to development.
It's something city officials have worked on for the last two- to five years – depending on who you ask.
The plan encompasses a combination of public feedback and ideas from businesses on how the city can grow most effectively throughout the next two decades.
In all, there are 100 specific ideas for nine districts throughout the city.
Items include a regional rail system that would encompass transportation to and from San Antonio and routes that connect to an urban rail running through the city.
Another one includes open space, such as parks and the Waller Creek project, so as the city becomes denser there's a place for residents to play.
And finally, development. The idea is that by bringing in high-value real estate, it will boost the tax base.
"And so the taxes that are produced in downtown are very significant to everyone all over the city," said Charlie Betts, executive director of the Downtown Austin Alliance. "It's one of the major ways we try to keep our residential taxes at a responsible level."
According to city officials, the taxes currently generated from downtown pay for 80 percent of the amenities throughout the city.
But in order to put all of these plans into place, it could cost the city between $250- and $350 million throughout the next 10 years.
"No. 1, look for public/private partnerships. No. 2, you will have to have some items on a bond election. And No. 3, you are going to have to look for philanthropic interests like you see in other great cities," said Mayor Pro Tem Sheryl Cole.
On Thursday, city officials will also launch a new campaign for this plan called Downtown Austin Connects .
It combines the Downtown Austin Plan; the plan to redevelop the Seaholm Power plant; and plans for a medial school under one concept.
The goal is to bring these separate entities that focus on improving the city under one brand.
Prior to Thursday's vote on the Downtown Austin Plan, city council members will allow for public comment. They expect this item to happen in the evening hours.
By the end of the day Thursday, City Council voted and renamed the hike-and-bike trail around Lady Bird Lake. When Town Lake was renamed back in 2007, the hike-and-bike trail never had a name change. The Trail Foundation proposed to City Council it become the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail, after the couple who formed the Town Lake Beautification Committee nearly 40 years ago.
The goal then was to transform the area from weed-covered land near the lake to something the community could use daily.
"What we would like to do is honor Ann Butler while she is still a vibrant member of the community," said Susan Rankin, executive director of the Trail Foundation.
Several City Council members, including Mayor Lee Leffingwell, supported the name change.
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