The COVID-19 pandemic had a devastating impact on many downtown businesses, particularly in the hospitality and tourism industries. With vaccination rates climbing and Austin-Travis County moving to Stage 2 of the Austin Public Health Risk-Based Guidelines, the economic recovery is now in full swing. In an effort to welcome Austinites and visitors back to downtown, the Downtown Alliance and Visit Austin hosted a “front of house” (FOH) downtown cleanup with volunteers from the hospitality industry on May 25, 2021. The term “front of house” is the part of a restaurant or performing art venue which is open to the public. During the very successful ATX FOH event, 150 volunteers raked, weeded, removed litter and graffiti, wiped, polished, and painted, just in time for Memorial Day weekend, the unofficial start of summer. See all the event photos here.
Thanks to the work of our dedicated volunteers, we were able to complete projects across the downtown area, including in the Red River Cultural District, Austin Visitor Center and Convention Center district, Historic 6th Street, and 2nd St District, as well as in Republic Square, Waterloo Greenway, Shoal Creek and Brush Square. Additional volunteers worked on Brazos and Congress Avenues. Supporting organizations from the City of Austin included Austin Resource Recovery, Public Works Department, and the Art in Public Places Program. Participating organizations dedicating more than 600 volunteer hours to the effort included:
Waterloo Greenway Conservancy, Shoal Creek Conservancy, South Congress Public Improvement District, County Line BBQ, the Renaissance Hotel, the W Hotel, Aimbridge Hospitality, Alexa Management, the Archer Hotel, Austin Community College, Capital Metro, Carter Creek Winery & Resort, DoubleTree Suites by Hilton Austin, Embassy Suites Downtown South Congress, Eclipse Event Co., ExpoTex LLC, Fareground, Guild Travel, Happenings Events, Hilton Garden Inn Cedar Park, InnovATX, JH Limited, Levy Restaurants, Miles, Moxy Austin, Omni Hotel Downtown, Red Velvet Events, Remington Hotels, Thompson Hotel, TownePlace Suites Austin North Lakelike, Vista Host, Downtown Austin Alliance, and Visit Austin.
What was the result of these collective efforts? We’re thrilled to report that we had:
- 1,850 pounds of trash collected
- 12,600 pounds of hardwood mulch on spread in planters along Brazos
- 7,200 pounds of mulch spread in Republic Square
- 162 planters weeded
- 200 plants planted
- 584 fixtures cleaned (electrical boxes, benches, crosswalks, trashcan tops)
- 35 art installations cleaned
The Downtown Austin Alliance created a plan to address economic recovery needs and opportunities for downtown Austin called the Roadmap to Recovery and Resilience. The ATX FOH event is part of these ongoing efforts to promote ongoing growth and enhanced resilience. To learn more, click here.