PROJECT BACKGROUND & FACT SHEET
In 2004, a diverse group of citizens, businesses, and neighborhood leaders formed the I-35 Makeover Coalition to help transform this area into a public asset. They began working for a safe, clean and attractive gateway reconnecting downtown to East Austin. This area was a broad boulevard called Eastside Drive until postwar era, when IH-35 was built over it in a series of elevated and buried sections.
The Makeover Coalition provided the support necessary to improve this connection between downtown and the east side of Austin. The coalition obtained a grant of $250,000 from Keep Austin Beautiful (KAB) to help fund the landscape portion.
City Council approved two funding sources for this project. They first approved a resolution in March, 2005 explicitly supporting the use of parking revenue from the City-managed IH-35 parking lots for the IH-35 Makeover Project. In March of 2007, City Council passed a resolution setting aside $1.5 million to be provided by the future issuance of non-tax supported certificates of obligation.
These funding sources have allowed the City to move forward with the IH-35 Makeover Project, which will include reconstructing the parking lot areas, with curb and gutters to improve drainage in the area. The concrete will be cleaned, signs removed and replaced, and specialty lighting fixtures will enhance the safety, comfort, and aesthetics of the area.
The lighting project will be done through the City’s Art in Public Places Program and will be programmed LED lights in arches over the parking lots. A computer-generated illumination will create a show as well as create safe lighting.
The project is expected to start in June and take approximately seven months, at which time TXDot will begin the landscape improvements funded through the KAB grant.