east austin

Richard Reddick

Austin has its own convoluted history when it comes to school integration – one involving multiple federal lawsuits and many different strategies to desegregate schools.

Busing was one of those strategies. Many students were bused across the city to schools on the other side of town. West Austin residents went to East Austin schools and visa versa. 

Saturday, May 17, marks 60 years since the Supreme Court struck down the concept of "separate but equal" in Brown v. Board of Education. It's a decision that affected students across the country. But for two Austin teenagers in the late 1980s, it also sparked a life-long friendship.

If you think about it, it’s a miracle Richard Reddick and Ryan Scarborough ever met. Scarborough, a white student from Austin’s Northwest Hills neighborhood, was bused to Johnston High School on Austin's east side, starting in 1986.

Jon Shapley for KUT News

Members of the Bad Boyz and Girlz 4 Ever motorcycle club gathered in East Austin Saturday for their fourth annual Easter celebration.

The motorcycle club, with the help of Boys and Girls Club of Austin, put on a family-friendly celebration including an Easter egg hunt, an Easter bunny, and a toy and bicycle give-away. Almost 70 children, most from nearby neighborhoods, came to participate.

facebook.com/LearningSecrets

When you think of Austin’s "Live Music Capital of the World" status, what kind of music do you think of? Lots of genres may come to mind, but possibly not its thriving underground electronic and dance music scene. Tonight Learning Secrets – one of Austin’s longest running dance parties – celebrates their 10-year anniversary.

OK. But what is Learning Secrets?
 

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez, KUT

The Tejano Trails in East Austin are meant to highlight landmarks and legends of the area, but they’re not easy to find. Groups are now working to make the history of this neighborhood more visible under the guidance of a National Parks Service program. 

Last fall, the Scoot Inn, the oldest continuing running bar in Central Texas, made for a fitting location for an event promoting the next phase of Austin’s Tejano Trails

Veronica Zaragovia, KUT

Almost 120,000 Texans signed up for health insurance through the federally run marketplace through the end of last month, but it’s only a small fraction of the state’s total uninsured population.

And enrollment of Latinos, a group targeted by the Obama administration has had its challenges.

Phoebe Ann Flanigan for KUT News

Debate over whether urban farms contribute to the gentrification of Austin’s eastside was prolonged last month, when the Austin City Council decided to postpone a decision on changes to the city's urban farm rules. The council is slated to take action on that matter today.

Before their decision, a look at the issue from two standpoints: an examination of the gentrification debate, and a look at one urban farm in action.

Walk down the gravel path at 3300 Govalle Road and you’ll feel as though you’ve stepped into the middle of the countryside. “It doesn’t even feel like you’re in the city of Austin,” says Dorsey Barger.

She would know: as a co-owner of HausBar Farms, she gets to live there.

flickr.com/bookgrl

After dishing the dirt for months, new regulations are in the offing for Austin's urban farms.

Last week, Austin’s Planning Commission recommended a set of revisions to the city’s urban farm ordinance. And while the proposed changes would establish stricter criteria on raising some livestock, some East Austin residents say the proposals don’t go far enough.

courtesy flickr.com/stephendepolo/

A local mobile app development company is trying to fill 1,000 backpacks for poor kids in the Austin school district. The company, Headspring, is accepting money and backpacks filled with supplies, which will be distributed across five schools on Austin’s east side.

An East Austin church is evolving to match the way Austin worships.

Vox Veniae, which is affiliated with the Evangelical Covenant Church, began as part of the Austin Chinese Church for Asian Americans and Asian immigrants to worship. But it has since grown into a very diverse environment. It now has worshipers come to its Sunday service that are white, Latino and African American.

Courtesy of the City of Austin

The University of Texas and the city are looking to change the way we use alleys in Austin, by possibly adding affordable housing in some Austin alleyways. 

Today, the Austin City Council approved an $18,000 grant to fund the Green Alley Demonstration Project, which could also add other amenities to spruce up alleys in the East Austin Guadalupe neighborhood.

facebook.com/HOPEMarketATX

HOPE Farmers Market is hoping to become a more central part of the East Austin Community.

It's holding a Grand Opening on Sunday at it's new location—at Plaza Saltillo on East 5th Street and Comal Street.

For the past three years or so, the farmers market has been at Pine Street Station. Organizers say they believe their new spot will give them more visibility and help make the farmers market a more integral part of the community.

courtesy Austin Energy

City officials are looking for the public's help in deciding what to do with the land around the Holly Power Plant in East Austin, which is scheduled to be fully decommissioned by later this year.

Currently, plans have designated the 9.3 acres of surrounding land to be handed over to the Austin Parks & Recreation Department for development into a park.

Tyler Pratt for KUT News

The East Austin Studio Tour (EAST) returns this weekend.  So grab a bicycle, some friends and (maybe) some cash, then head over to the east side to see work showcased by hundreds of Austin artists.

The tour runs Nov. 8-18, but is free and open to the public this weekend (Nov. 10-11) and next (Nov. 17-18), from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Since the tour will be taking place over the crowded Formula 1 weekend, it is possible the EAST tour may be a great recreation alternative for locals looking to avoid to the congestion and traffic the festival will bring in downtown.

Photo by Kelly Connelly, KUT News

The intersection of 12th and Chicon streets is associated with the sale and use of drugs, but soon it could be home to a different kind of retail altogether.

The Chestnut Neighborhood Revitalization Corporation (CNRC) is a nonprofit affiliated with the area's neighborhood association. Today, it began the demolition of a building just steps away from the corner to make way for mixed-use structures that will house stores on the ground floor and residential units above.

Two other buildings between 12th and 14th streets are slated for the same makeover. The developments will make up a project called the Chicon Corridor.

Reshma Kirpalani/KUT News

Tamara Hoover describes her East Austin establishment, Cheer Up Charlie's, as more than just a bar. 

"It's actually a community project," Hoover says. "People from the community coming in, bringing their acts, bringing their music, bringing their charities, and it's everybody's home." 

But recently, the bar has received complaints from another nearby community, the Guadalupe Association for Improved an Neighborhood. 

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The City of Austin wants to return about $200,000 back to the federal government, to free up two East Austin properties for sale. 

If the proposal is approved, the money will go back to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development by the end of September. Doing so will fulfill requirements currently preventing the city’s Urban Renewal Agency, which is now in charge of the properties, from taking other actions on them.

The properties include one located at 1120 East 12th Street, and a series of plots on the same street. As KUT News reported previously, critics have accused the board and other agencies of taking too long to turn over the properties.

Filipa Rodrigues, KUT News

The City of Austin’s Public Safety Commission could take action today on a proposal to extend the anti-loitering “No Sit, No Lie”  ordinance to the 12th and Chicon area – an area often reputed for drugs and prostitution.

The ordinance bans anyone from sitting or sleeping on streets near businesses, banks, and ATMs. It’s mostly in effect in downtown Austin, but some are urging it expand to the Eastside.

Members of the Blackshear and Prospect Hill Neighborhood Association has been trying to bring No Sit, No Lie east of I-35 since 2005. But neighbors are split on whether it’s the best solution.

Filipa Rodrigues for KUT News

Thousands of residents lined Chicon Street this morning to celebrate Juneteenth, when the Emancipation Proclamation freeing slaves came to be enforced in Texas.

Nathan Robertson was one participant. He’s lived in East Austin all his life. Robertson says it’s important for him to acknowledge the historical importance of the day, and that the parade offers a chance to catch up with old friends.

“We see people we haven’t seen in a while because of work and church and school,” Robertson says. “You know, you get in your routine and don’t see people. But we come out here and we can see people we haven’t seen in a year.”

Photo courtesy flickr.com/allaboutgeorge

In East Austin, there’s a sight more common than new condos, food trailers and Tejano bars repurposed into young, hip "dives:" It's the poster seen above.

“Artists & Hipsters: How are you helping to gentrify East Austin? What are you doing to fight it?,” the poster reads. The earliest date we can find for a photo of the poster on Flickr goes back to 2008, but longtime Austinites (including this author) remember seeing the poster even before then.

The poster has captured the attention of one eastside artist, who’s looking to create a dialogue around its message.

For the past sixteen months, a project to beautify East 7th Street has plagued local businesses.  Construction to improve safety and utilities limited access to restaurants, tax consultants, and convenience stores.  Now that the streets look nicer with fresh paint and new plants, some business owners are wondering if it was all worth it.

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