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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.

Photo by Robert Banh http://www.flickr.com/photos/robertbanh/

There are plenty of art studios in East Austin, but not all of them comply with city, state or federal building codes. A local non-profit, the Austin Creative Alliance, says is launching a resource center and low-interest loan program to help artists on the East Austin Studio Tour (E.A.S.T.) bring their workspace up to code in time for the tour in November.

Photo by Diana Parkhouse http://www.flickr.com/photos/digallagher/

A group of East Austin activists have a plan to slow gentrification in their neighborhood: pay the property tax of people who would otherwise be forced out.

A campaign launched today by former Austin City Council member Raul Alvarez aims to raise $50,000 to help about 20 homeowners, mostly retired people living on fixed incomes, get up to date on their tax bills.

AIPP site for public art project at AACHF
Diagram courtesy of the City of Austin.

The City of Austin is accepting proposals from artists interested in creating public art at the future African-American Culture and Heritage Facility.  The complex will be located on East 11th Street off of Branch Street.

Download the Request for Proposals (pdf) from the City of Austin's Art In Public Places (AIPP) program here.  The deadline to pitch your public art project is midnight, January 10.

The ninth annual East Austin Studio Tour (also known as E.A.S.T.) kicks off tomorrow. It's a free, self-guided tour of more than 150 artist studios east of I-35. E.A.S.T. runs from Saturday, November 13 until Sunday, November 21.

LifeWorks East Austin Youth and Family Resource Center
Image courtesy LifeWorks

The Austin non-profit LifeWorks broke ground today on a new East Austin family resource center. The social services organization says it will increase its ability to serve young people and families in crisis by 25 percent.

LifeWorks already helps about 10,000 families a year through housing programs, counseling and education. They have surpassed their capacity to serve more people, so this will allow them to expand in a community with increasing need.

Austin police badge
Image courtesy APD

Austin police are dealing with their 30th homicide case of the year. This time last year, there had been 19 recorded murders in Austin.

Someone called police at 10:11 p.m. yesterday to report two men fighting at Pleasant Valley Road and East Riverside Drive. By the time officers arrived, they found a 50-year-old man in the street bleeding from a stab wound. He was rushed to Brackenridge Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police got a description of the alleged attacker from witnesses and arrested him a short while later. Charges are pending.

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