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We bring downtown’s stakeholders, policymakers and property owners together to collaborate on solutions to our most pressing issues. We ensure the downtown community’s voice is heard when important decisions are being made. We invest in and promote our partners’ innovations. And we are transparent in communicating our actions and progress.

Advocacy

Advocacy is at the core of everything we do. We give voice to the downtown community’s priorities, from infrastructure to ordinances. And we connect partners from across the region to drive positive change for our district.

State Legislative Advocacy

We support legislation that reflects the strategic priorities in our Downtown Austin Vision. We developed an agenda for the 87th Texas Legislative Session with four key priorities. This includes, but isn't limited to, improved public safety; mobility and I-35; increased funding for social services and behavioral health services for people experiencing homelessness; and land use and economic development.

Downtown Density Bonus

In May 2021, the Austin City Council voted to change the downtown density bonus program, which provides a way for developers to obtain much-needed density in exchange for providing fees and community benefits. The temporary fees are substantially higher than previous fees, and were created without stakeholder input. City staff is expected to release recalibrated fees in September 2021. Once we receive these fees, we will communicate our expert feedback to the City Council and other City departments.

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Austin Convention Center Expansion

The Downtown Austin Alliance supports the expansion of the Convention Center and has communicated to the City Council our critical and desired outcomes for the solicitation, procurement and project delivery processes of the Convention Center Expansion.

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I-35 Cap and Stitch

As the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) considers changes to this major north-south thoroughfare that has divided our community for decades, the Downtown Austin Alliance is partnering with the City of Austin and a diverse group of Austin leaders to co-create a shared vision that builds on this investment to ensure the best outcomes for all Austinites.

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Homelessness Initiatives

The Downtown Austin Alliance is committed to reducing unsheltered homelessness downtown and citywide and to keeping downtown public spaces safe and welcoming for everyone’s use and enjoyment. We advocate for research-based policy and planning, lead and participate in collaborative efforts and directly fund programs and projects ranging from outreach and access to behavioral health care and housing.

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Downtown Squares

Over the last decade we championed downtown’s historic squares, successfully advocating to renew their leases and make improvements. We participated in master planning for downtown’s historic squares: Brush, Wooldridge and Republic. We also added signage to educate visitors about Wooldridge’s history and led the transformation of Old Bakery Park into an accessible and enjoyable public space. The Downtown Austin Alliance is responsible for keeping Republic Square active and welcoming, with the Downtown Austin Alliance Foundation overseeing all of the park’s operations, maintenance, programming, events and fundraising.

Organizational & Project Support

The Downtown Alliance makes strategic investments to preserve and enhance the value and vitality of downtown Austin. Here are some of the initiatives and organizations that we are proud to support.

Community First! Village

The Downtown Alliance pledged $2M over 10 years toward the development of Community First! Village, an internationally recognized community that provides formerly homeless people with housing, services, income-generating opportunities and the ability to build fulfilling lives.

This funding will enable the community to build its second, third and fourth phases, which, upon completion, will house an estimated 1,500 people. Phase II opened in August 2020 and now has 47 residents, bringing the community’s total population to 213 people—36% of whom were previously located in downtown Austin.

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Movability

The Downtown Alliance was instrumental in the creation of Movability, Central Texas’ first and only transportation management association, in its work to connect commuters with mobility options. We continue to support the organization by connecting downtown employers to the organization to improve the region through commuter options that save time and money.

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Waterloo Greenway Conservancy

The Downtown Alliance started advocating for funding for the Waller Creek tunnel in the 90s, with the long-term vision of parks and neighborhoods lining the eastern edge of downtown. In addition, we formed an operations and management partnership with Waterloo Greenway Conservancy for these parks and are contributing funding and Ambassador services to the new Waterloo Park.

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DivInc Austin

DivInc transforms the existing entrepreneur tech ecosystem into a more authentically inclusive environment. The organization works to inspire, empower and enable underrepresented founders to build successful high growth businesses. Through the programs, DivInc aims to unleash the untapped and hidden innovative talent within our communities and generate an entrepreneur mindset shift for generations to come.

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Health Alliance for Austin Musicians

By resolving challenges such as long-neglected dental work to hearing loss, heart problems and depression, the Health Alliance for Austin Musicians (HAAM) and its partners improve and save musicians’ lives and enhance Austin’s economy and quality of life. Austin is the "Live Music Capital of the World," and HAAM aims to keep it that way.

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LBJ Future Forum

The Downtown Alliance also supports the LBJ Future Forum, a vibrant public policy discussion forum that provides thought leadership through compelling programs and activities, inspiring the doers of today and the builders of tomorrow.

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Opportunity Austin

Opportunity Austin is the Greater Austin Chamber of Commerce’s economic development initiative to foster sustainable growth through the creation of new jobs and increased payroll in the Central Texas region. The Downtown Alliance was a Lead Investor in Opportunity Austin and involved in all phases of the initiative.

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Preservation Austin

Preservation Austin exists to empower Austinites to shape a more inclusive, resilient, and meaningful community culture through preservation. When Preservation Austin delivers on its strategy, the organization will create a future where historic places play a meaningful role in everyone’ s life, inspiring all Austinites to become advocates for preservation. The Downtown Alliance has sponsored the Preservation Merit Awards.

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Red River Cultural District (RRCD)

The RRCD is the home of Austin’s single largest concentration of live music venues, which in turn provides a source of consistent creative and financial support and employment for local workers and touring musicians alike. The area also consistently serves as an incubator for the local music industry. The Downtown Alliance sponsors Hot Summer Nights, a free annual music festival in August in downtown Austin.

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Shoal Creek Conservancy

The Shoal Creek Conservancy is a proud steward of the 13-square-mile Shoal Creek watershed in Austin, Texas. The organization champions the Shoal Creek watershed in order to create a healthy and vibrant community. In addition to partnering on the Cypress & Shoal Public Space Strategy, the Downtown Alliance was a sponsor for the Shoal Creek Social.

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Sustainable Food Center Downtown Farmers' Market

The Downtown Alliance partnered with the Sustainable Food Center to create a weekly farmers' market in Republic Square in 2003. Now, the Downtown Farmers' Market is a major weekend destination for Austinites, with 75 vendors representing local farms and ranches, as well as live music.

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Milestones

Sobering Center

The Downtown Alliance was a key stakeholder in the planning, approval, and creation of the Sobering Center. The Center provides an appropriate place for people who are publicly intoxicated to become sober. This is a cost-effective alternative to jail or hospital emergency rooms. It also requires significantly less time, which frees up police and EMS resources to address more serious issues.

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Camping Ban

We successfully advocated for the statewide camping ban, which passed the 87th Texas Legislature, to strike a balance between protecting public spaces in Austin and providing resources for the homeless population. The state budget now authorizes up to $10 million in additional funding for the Healthy Community Collaboratives program.

Great Streets

Our successful advocacy for bond funding and private sector participation has enabled the transformation of several major downtown corridors. Widening sidewalks and adding shade made these more appealing to pedestrians and more inviting for sidewalk dining and retail patrons.

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