City officials arrive in London for Formula One trip

A group of Austin city officials and staff arrived July 5 in London for a fact-finding trip in preparation for November's Formula One event.

Circuit of The Americas paid for Mayor Lee Leffingwell and City Manager Marc Ott to travel to London July 5–9 to tour the Formula One track at Silverstone—home to the British Grand Prix—while the city planned to cover flight costs for Austin Police Chief Art Acevado, Austin Fire Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr and two city staff members.

Austin Fire Department spokeswoman Michelle DeCrane said July 6 that Kerr did not attend due to the Fourth of July holiday and the risk of wildfire, but DeCrane clarified Chief Kerr supported the trip's purpose.

City spokeswoman Roxanne Evans said travel and meeting plans were going as scheduled.

"As far as I know, they are seeing a lot and learning a lot," she said.

Deputy City Manager Michael McDonald provided details of the trip during a June 28 news conference.

According to McDonald, Circuit of The Americas offered to pay for the mayor and city manager to attend the event, and the city would pay $5,556 for four additional staff members to attend.

"Within the last year, much has been learned, and much progress has been made," he said. "Yet we do not posses the firsthand knowledge and have not spoken directly with any other city that has hosted a Formula One event.

"The genesis of this research to Northampton/Silverstone originated from an offer by Circuit of The Americas to cover full costs of travel of two city officials for this purpose. Make no mistake, this is a working trip," McDonald said.

Austin will host the 2012 Formula One United States Grand Prix on Nov. 18, which is expected to draw 120,000 fans.

Tentative Itinerary

Fri., July 6:

  • 9 a.m.: Arrive at London Heathrow/travel to Silverstone
  • 11 a.m.–5 p.m.: Tour of 400-acre site–grandstands, public areas, emergency services, health and sanitation areas
  • 2–4:30 p.m. (concurrent meeting): Meet with Northampton political leaders, emergency service officials and British motorsport businesses to receive information on how the community engages Formula One, including the benefits and challenges

Sat., July 7:

  • 10 a.m.–noon: Review of traffic ingress, egress plan and Silverstone camping areas
  • 1–2 p.m.: Review of entrance areas and customer checks/regulations
  • 2–4 p.m.: Formula One qualifying/support races/Paddock tour of teams and sponsor areas

Sun., July 8:

  • 9 a.m.–noon: Meet with Northamptonshire police chief, constable and local officials
  • 1:30–5 p.m.: Meet with fire chief and inspector, other regulatory authorities


Franklin Barbecue in East Austin closed its dining room in March 2020. (Courtesy Franklin Barbecue)
Franklin Barbecue to reopen dining room on 11th Street in Austin

The dining room will reopen just before Thanksgiving.

Cumby Group is planning development for three adjacent multifamily projects on Manor Road in East Austin, including The Emma apartments. (Courtesy Cumby Group)
3 years in, Austin is falling behind on goals in affordable housing plan

From 2018-20, the city only reached 12% of its 10-year goal to build thousands of new homes and rental units.

Taco Palenque is now open as drive-thru only in Round Rock. (Brooke Sjoberg/Community Impact Newspaper)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Taco Palenque opens in Round Rock; Plano ISD considering two draft calendars for 2022-23 school year and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 21.

The Austin Transit Partnership is exploring above- and below-ground options for a transit center at the East Riverside Drive and South Pleasant Valley intersection. (Courtesy Austin Transit Partnership)
Project Connect plans to explore above-, below-ground options for East Riverside/Pleasant Valley Transit Center

After hosting a community design workshop, the group overseeing Project Connect designs is moving forward with options for both an underground and above-ground station at the intersection.

A calculator created by the Rocky Mountain Institute looks at the environmental impact of TxDOT's proposed designs for I-35 in Central Austin, one of the most congested roadways in the country. (Benton Graham/Community Impact Newspaper)
Nonprofit's tool says TxDOT I-35 expansion proposals would have profound environmental consequences

The tool says that the proposal would create between 255 and 382 million additional vehicle miles traveled per year.

Photo of the Travis County administration building and sign
Travis County hears update on process to reassess master plan for aging correctional facilities

The process comes after county commissioners opted to pause all activities of the master plan over the summer.

Photo of a row of houses, with one under construction
Central Austin home prices decline for second month but still tower over previous year

Homes prices in the Central Austin area are up 15.5% from September 2020.

Rodeo stock image
Inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo ready to open gates Oct. 21 after coronavirus delay

After the inaugural Williamson County Fair and Rodeo was postponed in 2020, county and fair officials said they are excited to kick off the agricultural celebration.

Renderings of the conceptual tower were shown depicting a roughly 100-foot tower, but the intent is to build a smaller tower. A total of $2.43 million was given as an estimated cost for a 100-foot gravity tower, but presenters said the cost would scale down with a smaller tower. (Courtesy city of Frisco)
CI NATION ROUNDUP: Early concept for Frisco’s Northwest Community Park includes biking tower for ‘gravity riding’; Perky Beans Cafe now open in Leander, and more top news

Take a look at the top five trending stories across all of Community Impact Newspaper’s coverage areas as of Oct. 20.

The future of West Austin's Lions Municipal Golf Course depends on the outcome of a city rezoning process and its landowner, The University of Texas. (Ben Thompson/Community Impact Newspaper)
As Austin's rezoning of UT lands continues, time could be running out for Muny course preservation

The historic golf course's future remains unclear amid a city zoning process that could ease the land's redevelopment.

Austin Cultural Arts Division staff provided an update on several funding opportunities for the creative sector Oct. 18. (Screenshot via city of Austin)
Austin's arts community could be in line for millions more in relief dollars this year

Additional relief for artists may be available in the coming months, while a broader review of the city's cultural funding opportunities continues.