Need to catch up on local news? Here are 5 stories impacting all Austin metro residents.

1. July data shows high interest rates not slowing Austin metro housing market

While homes in cities across the Austin-Round Rock metropolitan statistical area have been hit with high interest rates in recent months, data from the Austin Board of Realtors shows that the market is continuing to stabilize.

According to July ABoR data for the metro, closed listings increased 0.6% year over year to 2,815 sales. Homes spent an average of 59 days on the market—37 more days compared to last year—and the number of new listings on the market also fell, but active listings and overall home inventory increased. Additionally, median home prices across the metro are down 10% for an average of $462,000.

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2. Zilker Eagle back on track after 4 years of being out of commission

The Zilker Eagle mini train is expected to reopen later this year after over four years of being defunct, Austin Parks Foundation announced in an Aug. 18 post on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Crews are working on track adjustments, new electrical wiring for lights, retrofitting the train with air brakes and adding a new public-address system.

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3. Austin searches for ways to boost consistency, openness with records requests

Austin doesn't make it easy for community members to review public information or have a standard approach for providing such materials, a new internal audit found, potentially curbing legally required government disclosures and damaging impressions of city transparency.

The new review of Austin's management of public information requests comes soon after a separate audit of the city's online public data portal—another key resource for Austinites seeking to learn more about government operations—detailing reliability problems in that system.

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4. TxDOT clears last major hurdle for I-35 widening plan

A roughly 8-mile stretch of I-35 that runs through downtown Austin is on track to be widened and reconstructed after the Texas Department of Transportation issued its Environmental Impact Statement and record of decision Aug. 21.

“The EIS process is very, very rigorous,” TxDOT Austin District Engineer Tucker Ferguson said. “It’s not just the TxDOT Austin district putting together an analysis. It's reviewed by environmental experts, attorneys, experts outside of TxDOT, in addition to several rounds of public comments we've received over the years in the publication of the draft and individual meetings.”

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5. Austin officials extend disaster declaration in ‘critical and dangerous time’ for wildfire risk

Austin's local disaster declaration in the face of extreme wildfire risk has been extended as city officials and first responders continue to urge residents to ready themselves for potential fire incidents.

“While we’ve done more than most communities to prepare, the risk is also extremely high. And when there is a wildfire that’s larger, we will be tested,” Council Member Alison Alter said. “We want to be ready when that test comes.”

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