Mayor Sandy Cox delivers first State of Lakeway address of 2020

Topics included transportation projects and the city's comprehensive plan. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)
Topics included transportation projects and the city's comprehensive plan. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Topics included transportation projects and the city's comprehensive plan. (Brian Rash/Community Impact Newspaper)

Since her election to office in May 2018, Mayor Sandy Cox has increased the number of "State of Lakeway" addresses she delivers each year, giving one in 2018 and four in 2019.

Cox appears primed to continue that trend, giving her first address only three weeks into 2020.

The Jan. 23 address centered on transportation, the city's comprehensive plan and a potential May bond request for several million dollars.

A transportation strategy

Regarding needed transportation projects for Lakeway, Cox said the short term plan has been to increase safety on the city's main thoroughfare, RM 620.


"We're going to be putting some of the slotted curbs all along the center of RM 620, and we're going to be doing it this summer," Cox said, adding that infrastructure improvement will also help with the massive RM 620 widening planned to begin by 2023.

The city is also working with the Texas Department of Transportation on that widening project that runs from where RM 620 begins at Hwy. 71 and ends well north of Lakeway.

For the long term, Cox stressed the importance of focusing on transportation projects leading up to 2045; he also said city officials are working with TxDOT to find feasible solutions for the area's growing population.

The city of Lakeway has spent the last five months working with an engineering firm and a transportation committee on a wide-ranging transportation study in order to determine projects the city could benefit from more immediately, Cox said.

"It was great data to understand our patterns," she said. "Main Street is a very important road for us to get finalized ... And then, we have a Lohmans Crossing Road connection, which Legend Communities is responsible for."

Cox said other important road projects include Medical Drive and Serene Hills Drive, and much of the data from the study will be used to work with the Capital Area Metropolitan Planning Organization to help complete projects not initiated through the citywide study.

The Comprehensive Plan

Cox also discussed the city's comprehensive plan, which looks 20 years into the future to determine the city's needs into 2040. She said the city should have a final report on the plan by Feb. 3 and noted that the city's Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee has been working on the document for the last 18 months.

"This Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee are rock stars," City Manager Julie Oakley said, adding the bulk of the plan is now under review with the Lakeway Planning and Zoning Commission.

Following the Feb. 3 review of the final draft, Oakley said, the city will hold an open house Feb. 5 for the public to weigh in on the plan, and final adoption will happen by March or April.

Cox said another key reason for the updated plan centers on the fact that Lakeway is close to being built-out, so it is crucial to reexamine what the city's needs might be as buildings and infrastructure age, ushering in redevelopment.

"It's really important to say now what we want," Cox said.

More Recreation square footage

Another big topic of discussion recently for Lakeway officials and citizens has been the city's need for a recreation center.

Parks and recreation are important to Lakeway residents, she said, and for the last two summers, council has been talking about the need for more capacity to fulfill recreational needs.

The city recently reached out to the YMCA, and officials are now amid discussions about the benefits of the public/private partnership that facility could bring.

"We have made zero decisions. I want to make that clear," Cox said. "We're in the early, early stages [of] looking at doing a facility. And this came out of feedback from our community."

Cox said there are other options, including expansions of Lakeway's existing recreational facilities, but the need is there.

A possible May bond

City Council continues to pursue the calling of a May bond to address improvements for roadways, infrastructure, facilities and recreational needs, and Cox said officials will see a list of projects Feb. 3.

Front-runners for a potential May bond include a renovation of the city's old Justice Center, roughly a $13 million asset; Cox said the renovation would constitute about a $2.5 million project.

"Ideally, if we have all the information we need [by Feb. 3], then, we could possibly make a decision in time for the Feb. 14 deadline for a May bond," Cox said.

Communications

Cox closed with a look at Lakeway's new communications strategy. The city hired Jarrod Wise to serve as its new communications director in 2019, and Cox said Wise is central to the city's evolving public outreach approach.

Lakeway has reinvigorated its focus on its website, news flashes, calendar alerts, weekly newsletter and social media, Cox said.

Wise discussed the city's new website during the State of Lakeway address, stating the new design is intended to be user-friendly and display the "lake community" brand of Lakeway.
By Brian Rash
Brian has been a reporter and editor since 2012. He wrote about the music scene in Dallas-Fort Worth before becoming managing editor for the Graham Leader in Graham, Texas, in 2013. He relocated to Austin, Texas, in 2015 to work for Gatehouse Media's large design hub. He became the editor for the Lake Travis-Westlake publication of Community Impact in August 2018.


MOST RECENT

Local health leaders are urging caution ahead of Thanksgiving. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Ahead of Thanksgiving, Travis County health officials urge caution

Austin Public Health leaders say gatherings with people outside one's household held indoors and without masks pose the greatest risk.

Harini Logan, 10, won the 66th annual Express-News Spelling Bee at the University of Texas at San Antonio downtown campus on March 17, 2019. For 2021, the event is slated to be held in March at the Brauntex Performing Arts Theatre in New Braunfels. (Photo by Jerry Lara, courtesy the San Antonio Express News)
New Braunfels to host regional spelling bee and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from Central Texas.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced a COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan for the state Nov. 23 for a vaccine he said could be available as soon as December. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announces COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan

The vaccine could start being distributed "as early as next month," according to a Nov. 23 news release.

P. Terry’s Burger Stand is expected to open its long-awaited Pflugerville location this January. (Courtesy P. Terry's Burger Stand)
P. Terry's to open in Pflugerville in January and more Central Texas news

Read the latest Central Texas business and community news.

Austin voters approved a $7.1 billion public transit expansion Nov. 3 that will add bus and rail in Austin. (Design by Miranda Baker/Community Impact Newspaper)
After historic public transportation vote, here is what's next for Project Connect in Austin

Shovels won't be hitting the ground on the light rail and downtown tunnel for years, but work is getting started now after Austinites approved the $7.1 billion plan Nov. 3.

Laura Colangelo
Q&A: Laura Colangelo discusses challenges facing private schools during pandemic

Colangelo said private schools have adapted to remote learning and other obstacles in 2020 despite less revenue and a 9% decline in enrollment statewide.

Hamilton Pool Road residents protest outside of Bee Cave City Council on Nov. 10. (Courtesy Nancy Hernandez)
West Travis County Public Utility Agency delays settlement decision on development off Hamilton Pool Road

A lawsuit between the West Travis County Public Utility Agency and the developers of a Provence, a subdivision off Hamilton Pool Road, will remain unresolved following a decision made during a Nov. 19 board meeting.

Festival attendees will have access to augmented reality artworks throughout the galleria. (Courtesy Bee Cave Arts Foundation)
Inaugural interactive light festival coming soon to Bee Cave and more Central Texas updates

Read the latest business and community news from the Austin area.

Schools now have the power to temporarily suspend on-campus instruction if “a significant number of the instructional staff at the campus is impacted due to a confirmed COVID-19 outbreak." (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Texas Education Agency authorizes schools to close doors for 14 days due to coronavirus-related staffing concerns

Campuses can now instate a hybrid or fully remote instruction model for up to 14 days if adequate instructional staffing is not possible due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases among employees.

Fluff Meringues & More will be featured at The Wayback Cafe & Cottages. (Courtesy Fluff Meringues & More)
Fluff Meringues & More opens pop-up at The Wayback and more Lake Travis-Westlake-area business news

Here is the most recent business news from the Lake Travis-Westlake area.

Kalahari Resorts & Conventions ended its grand opening event with a fireworks display Nov. 14. (Ali Linan/Community Impact Newspaper)
Kalahari Resorts & Conventions celebrates grand opening in Round Rock and more top Central Texas news

Read the most popular stories from the past week from the Austin area.

Festival attendees will have access to augmented reality artworks throughout the galleria. (Courtesy Bee Cave Arts Foundation)
New interactive light festival generates buzz in Bee Cave

Nonprofit arts organization, the Bee Cave Arts Foundation is gearing up for its first annual light festival, Buzzfest, which will take place at the Hill Country Galleria.