Public-based growth plan to be voted on by city council

Allie Kolechta

Austin’s next 30 years could be decided at tomorrow’s City Council meeting, when council members look at whether or not to endorse a plan for the future of the city.

City Council will hold a public hearing Thursday to decide if they should support Imagine Austin, a comprehensive plan for the city’s future. The plan details how the city can accommodate new residents, jobs, mixed-use areas, open space, transit and transportation for the next 30 years. It will also address many of the challenges the city will face as it continues to grow.

The Imagine Austin Commission will present the Imagine Austin Plan Framework, which deals with challenges, and the Preferred Growth Scenario, which deals with accommodations required. The plan suggests building safer routes to schools, developing accessible community gathering places and constructing a variety of new housing throughout the city.

The entire plan is based on public input and community decisions, said Imagine Austin spokesman Matt Dugan. Council members will look at the Preferred Growth Scenario and the Plan Framework while making the decision, he said.

The plan establishes directions to address environmental, social and economic challenges the city faces, Dugan said. According to the plan, one of the main goals is to integrate all three elements to create communities with improved air quality, better access to quality schools and health services, and more diverse, neighborhood-serving businesses.

“I hope that City Council tells us that we’re heading in the right direction and to keep going,” he said.

Imagine Austin advocates and City Council should focus on not getting ahead of themselves because it’s hard to predict what will happen 30 years into the future, said broadcast journalism senior Bridget Green. Green said she plans to stay in Austin after she graduates in May.

“After living in other cities, I can say that Austin is by far the best one,” she said. “It’s hard to find something bad about it. My only concern would be, how are we going to accommodate people when more and more of them start moving here?”

The city should be thinking about planning the future of Austin as it grows and maintaining the city’s atmosphere, she said.