In its final meeting of the year, the Austin City Council approved a full slate of items.
Among the measures passed was a decision restricting where dogs are permitted at Auditorium Shores. More than a dozen speakers took to the council floor to argue against the change, which would prohibit dogs from lingering on the so-called "Event Lawn" on the east end of Auditorium Shores.
Parks and Recreation Director Sara Hensely said the department took community suggestions under advisement when revising the $3.5 million plan for the parkland. But under a new amendment, dogs are only allowed on the event lawn when traveling from a parking lot to the neighboring areas where dogs are allowed. (No one on Parks staff or the City Council bothered to explain just how that would be enforced.)
While dogs are prohibited on the event lawn, on-leash dogs are allowed in the "Middle Lawn," while off-leash dogs are restricted to a portion on the west end of the park. The area is under construction throughout 2014, financed via a donation from Austin concert promoters C3 Presents.
Here's a look at other items the council acted on:
- Parking meters are being added to the Butler Shores Ball Fields.
The Parks and Recreation Department expects the six parking meters to cost a total of $60,000, which will be paid by the department over a five-year period. The parking meter rate is going to be $1 an hour, which should net the department an expected $16,000 annually.
- The council named nearly 100 free Google Fiber "Community Connections."
The council approved recommending 99 public and nonprofit organizations for free access to Google Fiber. The much-anticipated high-speed internet service will include 23 public libraries.
The one difference between the approved list and a preliminary list of 100 locations (which you can see mapped here): The Andy Roddick Foundation. (In what we're sure is pure coincidence, Roddick appears in a commercial for AT&T's new Fiber rival, U-verse with GigaPower.) The 99 organizations will be provided the free service through 2023.
- The City Council approved Project Connect’s plan to run a commuter rail to Highland Mall and along East Riverside. Read more about that here.