At the DAA’s Annual Luncheon & Mayor’s State of Downtown Address yesterday, Mayor Leffingwell gave a bullish speech about downtown Austin growth.
I sat at the DANA table and observed Mayor Leffingwell as I’ve never seen nor heard him before. A Mayor who recognizes that growing Austin’s downtown is not at odds with preserving Austin’s character, and that growing downtown is in fact complementary and necessary to smart growth for the entire city. This is what we heard yesterday.
PRO downtown Austin growth
PRO urban rail system
PRO getting the bums out and dealing with crime*
PRO hotel and convention center growth
*I’m paraphrasing, he was much more diplomatic.
You don’t have to take my word for it. There was a quorum of City Council members in attendance, including City Manager Marc Ott, who can provide their own testimony. The Mayor provided some genuinely funny jokes, too. The best one [kindheartedly] jibbed former Mayor Will Wynn, a downtown resident, about how much he enjoys greeting construction workers in the morning. 🙂
Jude Galligan says
Here is a link to the transcript of his speech.
That’s right; those sound strong. But they’re also easy to throw away when Morrison wants to protect her view from a building like 7Rio, in the name of ‘compatibility’. Or when Judges’ Hill irresponsibly attempts to opt out of VMU on MLK.
It’s very easy to say that you’re pro downtown Austin growth. I bet even Morrison would say that. You have to get much more specific before you start getting anything relevant out of those people.
Jude Galligan says
I agree that it’s easy to pay lip service, but I used to place Leffingwell in the same anti-density/downtown crowd as Morrison. Yesterday, I was listening to a speech that at least gave me pause about continuing to place him in that category
Laura Morrison was the only council member not in attendance.
True. To be fair, I never meant that Leffingwell was in Morrison’s category; he’s more of a moderate on density; but I don’t think we can afford to have a moderate in the mayor’s chair given the economy we have now and the fact that downtown development drives the fiscal picture for the whole city. I suppose any indicators that he may be moving away from the center in the direction of more density are positive ones.