A two-year construction project on MoPac Expressway is scheduled to begin next month. The project will stretch from Cesar Chavez to Parmer Lane with the objective of adding one tolled express lane in each direction. The director of community relations for the MoPac Improvement Project, Steve Pustelnyk, has ensured that they are “going to be doing an extensive outreach effort to try and make sure the drivers know what we’re doing and when so they can avoid any issues.” Lane closure times have been limited to the window of 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. to minimize resident’s increase in commute times. Construction will begin between RM 2222 and US 183, and all sections will be under construction by Summer 2014. The $200 million project’s purpose is to provide reliable routes for high priority travel. The project is being funded by the Texas Transportation Commission.
The 2013 Community Economic Development Award has been given to the Round Rock Chamber of Commerce and Economic Development Partnership to recognize their success in bringing Cornerstone Healthcare Group to the community. The discussion for this development began in April of 2012 to address the need for quicker access to hospital care for Round Rock residents, and they broke ground on December 4th. “This hospital will continue the Round Rock brand of being associated with high quality medical care. The project demonstrates Round Rock’s continued focus on quality development,” said Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw. The nearly $20 million investment will provide a two-story, 55,000 square foot facility with 54 patient rooms, 12 high intensive care rooms, and 6 high-observation rooms. A ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on November 21st to celebrate the grand opening of the hospital.
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.”