City officials are working together on this year’s Texas Relays to improve how visitors are welcomed to Austin. The track and field event is held on the University of Texas campus and attracts high school and college athletes from throughout Texas and across the country.
Austin's African-American community has become more involved with the strategy of how the event is planned, with better communication since the negative events surrounding Texas Relays in 2009. Nelson Linder, president of the Austin NAACP, says that the city and UT have improved their community outreach.
“We had a very good year last year,” Linder said. “And I suspect that this year we’re going to have a good event as well because I think people are eager to work together and ensure we don’t make the mistakes that were made in the past.”
One of the ways the city is working with UT is through sponsoring an honorary reception for people to meet at the George Washington Carver Museum and Culture Center this Friday. Council Member Sheryl Cole says she sees encouraging signs with the city’s collaboration in handling the increased traffic around the downtown area.
“We are working to become a great international city that embraces multicultural events,” Cole said.
In conjunction with the Texas Relays, Saturday’s all-day Urban Music Festival at Auditorium Shores will provide a music alternative for the city and visitors of Texas Relays. Event Organizer Homer Hill plans to take advantage of the influx of African-American tourists.
“[The festival] creates a more social environment for the relay attendees and the local population that embrace R&B and the sub-genres,” Hill said.
The Texas Relays will run Wednesday through Sunday at the Mike A. Myers Track and Soccer Stadium on the UT Campus.