10 stories to follow in Central Austin in 2018

The city of Austinu2019s population exceeded 950,000 residents in 2017.

The city of Austinu2019s population exceeded 950,000 residents in 2017.

2018 is shaping up to be a jam-packed year in Austin. Here are the top 10 stories we are following in Central Austin this year.

1. Austin leaders hopeful to finally adopt CodeNEXT in 2018 after 5 years of development

After almost five years of contentious CodeNEXT debates, two draft proposals and more than $8 million spent, the city heads into 2018 hoping it can do something it has not been able to do since the 1980s: adopt a new code.

2. Austin mulling 2018 bond to address drainage system, parks, affordable housing

Austinites in November could vote on whether the city government can borrow hundreds of millions of dollars—a debt which taxpayers would pay off—to fund high-priority projects throughout the city.

3. Austin on verge of hiring Spencer Cronk as city manager; police chief vacancy remains

In December, City Council voted unanimously to name Spencer Cronk, a city coordinator in Minneapolis, as its choice for city manager.

4. Major League Soccer stadium proposals come to the fore as Columbus Crew SC explores Austin move

The Major League Soccer team Columbus Crew SC is weighing a move from Ohio to Austin with ownership group Precourt Sports Ventures hinging the potential relocation of the team on securing a stadium site—preferably in the city’s urban core.

5. The Independent set to become Austin's tallest building in 2018

Expected to become Austin’s tallest building, The Independent will be 58 stories high when it is completed. Ground was broken on the building in 2016.

6. Central Austin schools set for facility upgrades; Austin ISD plans summer move to new headquarters

In November voters approved Austin ISD’s largest bond in district history. Totaling $1.05 billion, the bond includes several construction projects, but the overarching goal is to modernize learning spaces for AISD students.

7. Here are the 2016 mobility bond projects that around the corner this year

The city started construction last summer on the first projects funded through the 2016 mobility bond. These projects were mostly sidewalks and related to Safe Routes to School.

8. Will Amazon pick Austin for its HQ2 in 2018?

Austin, like 238 other North American cities, submitted a proposal to host  Amazon.com Inc.’s second headquarters, or HQ2.

9. New Austin Police Department contract set to be taken up in March after previous agreement expires

On Dec. 13, Austin City Council rejected a proposed five-year contract with the Austin Police Department, citing concerns about affordability and accountability.

10. Capital Metro to make major bus route changes throughout Austin area starting June 3

Transportation is the No. 2 expense for more Austin households, according to AAA, and city leaders face the challenge of offering meaningful alternatives to driving automobiles.

By JJ Velasquez
The Central Austin editor since 2016, JJ covers city government and other topics of community interest—when he's not editing the work of his prolific writers. He began his tenure at Community Impact Newspaper as the reporter for its San Marcos | Buda | Kyle edition covering local government and public education. The Laredo, Texas native is also a web developer whose mission is to make the internet a friendly place for finding objective and engaging news content.


Photo of new construction in process
South Austin developer sues city in ongoing saga to improve permitting process

An Austin developer alleged the city circumvented a state law that requires permitting to take place within 30 days.

Photo of boarded-up Sixth Street bars
With COVID-19 projections 'bleak' through Thanksgiving, Travis County keeps bars closed

Statistical models from the University of Texas show a 92% chance the pandemic is worsening, but the increase in cases and hospitalizations have leveled off in the last few days.

Movemint Bike Cab owner David Knipp said the loss of the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals during the spring festival season led to a 50% decline in revenue.  (Christopher Neely/Community Impact Newspaper)
'I just need to pay the rent:' Austin small businesses in survival mode are doing everything in their power to outlast the pandemic

From selling inventory to flipping their business models to changing a yoga studio into a coworking space, small business owners are trying to avoid adding their names to the growing list of locally owned Austin institutions that have shut down.

Customers can order Goodstock Angus and Goodstock Black Label beef, including ribeye steaks, strip steaks, filets and ground chuck. (Courtesy Nolan Ryan brands)
Nolan Ryan expands Round Rock-based butcher business and more Central Texas news

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

Burnet Road at West Braker Lane
Corridor projects along South Lamar Boulevard, Burnet Road will break ground by early 2021

Two corridor roadway projects approved in the city of Austin’s 2016 Mobility Bond are moving forward after recently receiving environmental clearances.

The Austin School of Fashion Design, or ASFD, relocated from North Austin to Georgetown in October. (Courtesy The Austin School of Fashion Design)
Austin School of Fashion Design moves to Georgetown

The school was previously located in Austin.

An "I Voted" sticker is left outside the Northwest Recreation Center in Austin, one of 37 early voting polling places open in Travis County. (Jack Flagler/Community Impact Newspaper)
More than half of all Travis County voters have cast their ballots, exceeding early voting turnout percentage in 2016

More than 448,000 votes have been cast in Travis County. Early voting closes on Oct. 30.

Austin ISD trustees met Oct. 26, discussing in-person learning during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. (Courtesy Austin ISD)
Twice as many Austin elementary students have returned to campus compared to first day of in-person instruction, district says

Austin ISD will open its campuses to accommodate all students who request in-person instruction beginning Nov. 2.

Capital Metro released new renderings Oct. 26 of its proposed Project Connect expansion, which voters will decide Nov. 3. This rendering shows a Blue Line light rail train at the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport. (Rendering courtesy Capital Metro)
In final week of early voting, here is what Austin residents should know about Project Connect

The proposition appears as a 237-word block of text near the end of the ballot but boils down to a simple question: Are voters for or against a significant expansion of local public transportation, paid for in part with property tax funds?

East West Manufacturing will retain 30 jobs and create an additional 30 new jobs for a total of 60 full-time jobs in Round Rock over five years, according to an economic incentive agreement signed Oct. 22. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Round Rock to add 60 jobs and more Central Texas news

Read the latest business and community news from the Central Texas area.

Gati, a new coconut milk ice cream shop run by Thai Fresh owner Jam Santichat, is now open in East Austin. (Courtesy Jam Santichat)
New Hopdoddy location, coconut milk ice cream and more East Austin business news

Several new businesses have opened in or are on their way to Central-East Austin.

Austin FC logo
Austin FC partners with Special Olympics Texas to field MLS Unified team

As Major League Soccer franchise Austin FC starts play in its upcoming season, the team will help to field a squad made up of Special Olympics Texas athletes for a series of matches.