September 2013 - Don Quick & Associates
Preliminary discussions focused on bringing a public market to downtown Austin modeled after Seattle’s Pike Place have begun. Buzz about the topic continues among city leaders as possibilities are discussed. Pike Place, opened in 1907, is a Seattle attraction that brings a large downtown crowd equivalent to that of both entertainment events and sports events combined. Austin’s TXP Inc. has suggested that this could be of great benefit to both the local economy and the food industry. Advocates of the project also argue that an added benefit of bringing a market of this scale to the downtown Austin area is increased access to healthy food, which will cater to Austin’s prominently health-conscious residents. The current focus of these preliminary discussions is determining the best way to finance and operate a market that will be functional and profitable in the city.
A new mural featuring Hutto’s mascot, the hippo, is set to be installed in downtown Hutto by the end of this year. The purpose of the mural is to draw visitors to the city. The mural will be painted by Suzanna Huser, a local artist. It will be displayed at 101 East Street and will also feature the city’s flower, the orange crush lily. “This mural will be the first public art piece to have done there, and we hope to attract visitors from Hwy. 79 to visit downtown and explore Hutto,” Hutto Downtown Manager Kim McAuliffe said. The mural is set to be finished on October 19th, just in time for Hutto Old Tyme Days. Work will begin this month.
Photo from City of Hutto.
Public opinion is being sought by the city of Austin as land-use codes are being rewritten. “A new code would seek to maintain the character of existing neighborhoods, integrate nature, create and expand housing choices and ensure efficient city services.” It is expected to take three years and up to $2 million to rewrite the code that will set the foundation for the Imagine Austin plan passed in June of last year. The future of residential and commercial development will be determined by these changes.
Cedar Park is the fourth largest city in the Austin Metroplex with over 55,000 inhabitants. In the last 10 years, Cedar Park has grown over 400%. The city boasts a hill country view, family atmosphere, and less than a 20 mile commute to downtown Austin.
Currently, more than 12 projects are underway in Cedar Park. These include a new Wal-Mart Super Center and a Costco.
Local Austin businesses are also interested in opening new locations in the area.
Torchy’s Tacos opened a Cedar Park location in August 2013 and Alamo Drafthouse opened their Lakeline location in July 2013.
This economic growth is good news for both job seekers and employers. “Our employment has grown since 2005, it’s gone from about 5,000 employees in the city to about 15,000 now,” said Larry Holt with Cedar Park Economic Development.
The city has also briefly mentioned redeveloping some of the older parts of Cedar Park along HWY 183.
They have created an online dialogue about the overall growth of the city at www.imaginecedarpark.com, where locals are encouraged to contribute to the conversation about “how Cedar Park looks and feels in the next 20 years.”