Proposition B passes in Austin, authorizing initiation of city parkland swap

Photo of election signs outside Austin's Carver Branch Library
Austin voters headed to the polls Nov. 2. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Austin voters headed to the polls Nov. 2. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)

Update, Nov. 3, 2:28 p.m.

Austin voters have passed Proposition B with 73.27% of ballots cast in favor of the measure, according to results from all 140 of Travis County's precincts along with all Williamson County and Hays County precincts.

The proposition would authorize the city of Austin to initiate a possible swap of 9 acres of parkland on Lakeshore Drive with 48 acres contiguous to an existing city park.

As of 11:23 p.m. on Election Day, 151,240 votes had been counted in the Proposition B ballot measure. In Travis County, where most Austin voters reside, 106,795 approved the measure, and 38,116 voted against it.

“We knew going into this that parkland is sacred to Austinites, and that it’s something that they are not going to trade away or sell unless they were sure that they were going to get something of tremendous value in return. We’re excited Austin voters agreed with us that Proposition B was a good deal for Austin," said Mark Littlefield, a consultant for the Grow Austin Parks PAC, which supported the proposition.

The city's next steps will be to open an official bidding process for the property at 2525 Lakeshore Drive, which is Austin property. Tech giant Oracle, whose headquarters is adjacent to the site, is expected to bid and offer up for trade 48 acres connected to Austin's John Treviño Jr. Metropolitan Park, according to Grow Austin Parks and the property's owner, Bill Dollahite.

Following Election Day, Dollahite, who owns and operates the Driveway Austin track and racing center on the 48 acres, said he was excited to for the opportunity to have the property preserved as parkland after putting considerable restoration work into the land.

"This is a great resting place for what I consider a legacy project for me. And now everybody can enjoy it, including me," Dollahite said. "I don’t ever have to worry about this being desecrated. And that’s personal.”

All results are unofficial until canvassed.

Learn more about Proposition B here.

Original post, Nov. 2, 7:56 p.m.

Preliminary vote totals show strong support for the city of Austin's Proposition B, which would authorize the city to open a bid for a 9-acre property located off Lady Bird Lake in exchange for a 48-acre parcel connected to an existing city park.

A total of 73.38% of voters who cast early ballots for Proposition B in Travis County, Williamson County and Hays County voted in favor of the measure. In Travis County, 82,847 residents voted early on the proposition, along with 3,629 Williamson County residents and 27 Hays County residents.

As of 10 p.m., 73.35% of the 118,816 votes cast for Proposition B Austin have been for the measure. Some 26.65% of voters have voted against the measure.

Tech giant Oracle is expected to bid for the property in question, which is located at 2525 Lakeshore Blvd., Austin, and neighbors Oracle's headquarters.

Proposition B proposed to open a bid on the city's Central Maintenance Facility located at the Lakeshore Drive address, contingent on a swap for "at least 48 acres of waterfront parkland contiguous to an existing city park."

It is also stipulated the cost of construction for a new Central Maintenance Facility, the costs for the removal of the current facility and the restoration of the land acquired in the swap should be funded by the deal.

The company donated $650,000 to The Grow Austin Parks Political Action Committee, which supported Proposition B, campaign finance reports show. Mark Littlefield, a consultant for the PAC, confirmed the company's interest in the matter in early October.

“Oracle is interested in this, and they’ll have a bid for this, and they knew that if they wanted to try to do this, they’d have to come over-the-top big. And that’s why it’s a 48-acre for 9[-acre] trade plus the money," he said.

While the proposition's ballot language technically allows for any 48 acres to be part of the parkland swap, the property that is expected to come in exchange is located at 8400 Delwau Lane, currently home to the Driveway Austin track and racing center, according to the PAC. The Colorado River-adjacent parcel is owned by Bill Dollahite, who said he has received interest in the property from the city for years as it is contiguous to an existing city park and confirmed Oracle's interest in the property as well. As of Oct. 28, he said a deal for the property had not been finalized.

All results are unofficial until canvassed.

Visit our online Voter Guide for all local election results in your community.

Ben Thompson contributed to this report.
By Olivia Aldridge

Reporter, Central Austin

Olivia joined Community Impact Newspaper as a reporter in March 2019. She covers public health, business, development and Travis County government. A graduate of Presbyterian College in South Carolina, Olivia worked as a reporter and producer for South Carolina Public Radio before moving to Texas. Her work has appeared on NPR and in the New York Times.


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