Friday, April 18, 2014

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Council: City approves $18M land deal, establishes new zero waste goals

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Council buys $18M of land to protect Barton Springs

The Austin City Council approved buying 606 acres of land in Hays County for a price tag of $18 million.

Concerns began when developers started planning a 1,000 home subdivision off of RM 967, just west of Buda. Their plan included a wastewater treatment plant that would dispose of treated wastewater by irrigation.

But the land lies over the critical Barton Springs recharge zone.

Rainwater falling there goes directly into the Aquifer and emerges at the ecologically sensitive Barton Springs.

Voters approved bond money for the $18 million purchase last year. Austin already owns nearly 30,000 acres of undeveloped land in that area to protect water quality in the Edwards Aquifer.

Waller Creek design tweaks

The design for the Waller Creek Tunnel is getting a bit of a rewrite.

The Austin City Council approved $600,000 to tweak plans to reflect input from the community.

Overall, the look will not change much from what architects showed the city last June.
However, the new plans will remove a couple walkways and a staircase closer to the creek.

They also include replacing the roof of the amphitheater with one that is environmentally friendly.

Construction continues on the tunnel, which will handle floodwaters through downtown Austin and allow for redevelopment along Red River Street.

New Zero Waste goals

Austin's Zero Waste goals are now also Travis County's goals.

The Austin City Council approved an agreement Thursday with Travis County that focuses on recycling 90 percent of trash by 2040.

Public education campaigns--including recycling initiatives at area schools--will be paid for by both the city and county.

By next year, Austin Resource Recovery officials hope to recycle 20 percent of what it collects curbside. By 2020, the goal is 75 percent.

Rundberg declared ‘Promise Zone’

The Rundberg area of North Austin is now considered a Promise Zone.

It is a federal program designed to help revitalize impoverished areas with high crime rates. Local and federal leaders hope the Promise Zone will attract investors and improve affordable housing in the area.

They program also aims to improve education in the area.

The Rundberg area is already part of another federal program called Restore Rundberg, which focuses on reducing crime.

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