Austin City Council approves housing contracts, Colony Park developments

Austin
Austin City Council met in person for a hearing on the city's proposed 2021-22 budget. A combination of virtual and in-person speakers addressed council members, many of whom said Austin's attempts at reimagining public safety don't go far enough. (KXAN Photo/Tim Holcomb)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Here’s what we’re following ahead of the Austin City Council meeting Thursday.

Housing and support services contracts: approved

Council is expected to amend an agreement with Foundation for the Homeless to provide housing for families with children for an additional 12 months, an extension worth $264,519. A separate contract extension with LifeWorks would allow the continuation of support services for young people like food, clothing, health and shelter.

Latest Colony Park developments: approved

Council will take up several actions related to the city-owned Colony Park Sustainable Community. The city supports the development of a Health and Wellness Center there to serve the community by providing health, library and childcare services. One item would allow the city to sell the land for the center to Central Health. Another item would reimburse Central Health for services related to long-term lease space analysis. A third item would execute an agreement with a developer to provide subdivision, platting, and entitlement services.

Improvements to African American Cultural District: approved

Council will direct the City Manager to determine strategies benefitting the African American Cultural District and explore ways of using the Live Music Fund to support projects within this District. The resolution also calls for a plan to develop the 1100 Block of East Eleventh Street.

The boundaries of the African American Cultural District are:

  1. West boundary: Interstate 35 east frontage road
  2. East boundary: Airport Boulevard
  3. North boundary: Manor Road
  4. South boundary: Beginning on East Eleventh Street, then South on Chalmers Avenue, then East on East Seventh Street, then north on Chicon Street, then East on Rosewood Avenue, then merge into Oak Springs Drive until connection with Airport Boulevard

Reducing bird-building collisions: approved

The City of Austin is joining the effort to try and reduce the number of birds colliding with buildings. A resolution would call on City Manager Spencer Cronk to initiate a program to turn off nonessential lighting in city buildings during peak-fall and spring bird migration periods.

“Birds must contend with a rapidly increasing but still under-recognized threat of light pollution, which attracts and disorients these migrating birds, confusing them and making them vulnerable to collisions with buildings and other urban threats,” reads the resolution to be heard by Council.

More than one billion birds die in collisions with buildings in the United States annually, according to the group Lights Out Texas, which is dedicated to the conservation of birds.

Other items

  • APPROVED: Council will vote on a multi-term contract with Building Promise USA to provide re-entry services for formerly incarcerated individuals. The initial contract is for one year, with the possibility of two additional years, for a total agreement of $600,000. City staff say Building Promise USA would provide all the necessary services and support for formerly incarcerated individuals as they work to achieve stability and wellness.
  • APPROVED: Council approval would provide an additional $513,000 in grant funds for health screening, assessment, referral services, and follow-up for Refugees, including trafficking victims and certain Iraqis and Afghans granted special immigrant status by the United States. The money would also add one-full time position within Austin Public Health. This funding is from the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) and runs Oct. 1 through Sept. 30, 2022.

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