Preserving Austin’s diverse history: City calls on community to draft equitable historic preservation plan

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The latest preservation plan for the City of Austin dates back 40 years to 1981. At the time, many of the buildings and developing city areas were “relatively young,” but, today, some of those areas are nearing their historic age.

Since the last historic preservation plan was developed, Austin has exploded. The population has nearly tripled, causing housing issues to become front and center from affordable housing to urban density concerns. The Austin Historic Preservation Office along with the Historic Landmark Commission is working to develop a draft of a new equitable historic preservation plan.

“Communities whose heritages has been underrepresented in Austin’s historic preservation program really should have a seat at the table in helping to craft this new preservation plan,” Elizabeth Brummett the Historic Preservation Office’s manager said. “This is important because the preservation plan should represent the heritage of all Austinites.”

Officials say “equity, sustainability, and cultural heritage are leading factors guiding planning and conversations around historic preservation.” In order to accomplish this, they are looking for 20 to 30 community members from all across the city to join a working group this summer.

(Source: Historic Preservation Office)

Preservation leaders say the goal is to have an “inclusive process with many voices.” The meetings will be held virtually and funding is available to compensate working group members — up to $25 an hour.

Those interested in participating can apply for the Preservation Plan Working Group by Monday, June 14, at 11:59 p.m.

Next week, the nonprofit Preservation Austin will host its virtual home tour featuring the Rogers-Washington-Holy Cross district in East Austin. The area located east of Interstate 35 near Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard dates back to the 1950s. The area served as a place for young Black professionals to gather. The neighborhood also features homes designed by John Chase.

Chase was the first Black graduate from the University of Texas at Austin School of Architecture and the first Black architect to receive their license in Texas.

The virtual tour takes place Thursday, June 17 at 7 p.m. Tickets for the virtual home tour are $20 per person for members and $25 per person for non-members. All proceeds support the nonprofit’s advocacy efforts and educational programming year-round.

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