Buda wins Urban Land Institute Best Public Place Award for new municipal complex

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The Urban Land Institute announced Aug. 28 that this year’s Best Public Place award would go to the city of Buda’s municipal complex, which opened to the public in July 2018.

With its Best Public Place category, the ULI considers any public building that ”provides the public with enhanced civic, open or public space access or experiences,” according to a news release from the city.

The 55,000-square-foot municipal complex includes the city’s library, City Council chambers, administrative offices, multipurpose space and an emergency operations center, in addition to the Buda Economic Development Corp. offices, which have a separate entrance.

The building was funded by a $21 million allocation from the 2014 bond.

A new public safety building was also constructed at the same time on the same property, but it is a separate structure that was built with a separate $6.75 million allocation from the same bond.

Over the course of construction, which began in 2016, the city was compelled to release additional funds to upgrade the drainage system and also allocated money to move a 260-year-old heritage tree, which was just officially named the Guardian Oak.

The municipal complex took the place of the downtown former City Hall in addition to several other older buildings. After a lengthy process that included both asking for public opinion on future use of the old City Hall and reviewing a number of proposals, Buda City Council recently voted to start negotiations with an arts center that will provide art education and theater to the community.

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Katharine Jose has written about politics, infrastructure, environment, development, natural disasters and other subjects for The New York Observer, Capital New York, and The New York Times, among other publications. She was an editor for several publications in New York City before she moved to Texas, and has a master's degree in urban planning from the University of Texas-Austin.
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