All preparations for ACL a go

Jody Serrano

The Austin City Limits festival this weekend not only includes world-famous musical performances but also features an influx of people from all over the world and is expected to boost the local economy.

Matt Curtis, spokesman for the Office of the Mayor, said ACL is an incredible asset for the Austin community and that the Mayor’s Office has worked very hard to harness the opportunities offered by the festival and to accommodate it. Austin is ready, he said.

“We [speak] with mayor’s offices around the country who want to know how they can replicate what we’ve done here,” Curtis said. “[Which means] coordinating public safety and communications among city departments and communication outreach to all the neighbors and businesses affected by ACL.”

Curtis said ACL brings around $100 million into the local economy and stimulates the city’s tourism industry. He said the mayor’s office threw an emergency preparedness summit in February for Travis, Williamson, Bastrop, Hays and Caldwell counties to give public responders an opportunity to review their safety procedures for their event.

“Emergency preparedness is very important to the mayor because of his background as a pilot and his experience in the military,” Curtis said. “Safety has to be the most important thing worked on to make it the best experience for concert goers.”

Todd Smith, Austin Police Department Lieutenant for Special Events and Patrol, said APD will have extra police officers on duty outside of ACL. Smith said the festival is generally very calm, and the main issue for APD will be parking. He also said there will be APD officers inside Zilker Park to keep the peace and handle everything from fighting to drunkenness.

“Usually people tend to behave better when they see officers at every corner,” Smith said.
Smith said APD will also have specialized patrols on the hiking and bike trails and around the festival grounds to watch out for fires.

Patrick Dougan, manager and key holder of Tyler’s on Guadalupe Street, said the store has already seen sales of its official Austin City Limits shirts increase during the week. Despite the influx of people, Dougan said Tyler’s on the Drag isn’t expecting an increase in business this weekend because of how far it is from Zilker Park.

Finance sophomore John Connell said he expected ACL to bring a big boost to the local economy. Connell will be volunteering at ACL and introducing acts on stage.

“ACL provides a great outlet for the local consumer and the local businesses to have the opportunity to help stimulate the local economy,” Connell said.

Printed on Friday, September 16, 2011 as: ACL expected to aid Austin economy.