Thanks to the leadership of the Friends of Shipe Park, It’s My Park Day 2015 was a rousing success. Between 200 and 300 people attended and participated. The day’s tasks—aerating and mulching the tree roots, cleaning out the pools, spreading the Dillo Dirt, painting the tables and benches, and all the rest—were completed before schedule, while participants enjoyed the bluegrass music of The Lost Pines. Thanks to the Friends of Shipe Park and all participants! Events like this underline the value of community effort in maintaining the livability of a neighborhood.
A Thank You also goes to Alison Young for her gift of 100 No Dog Poop stickers to Hyde Park. The Steering Committee will take up this challenge and make sure that, when Alison’s stickers run out, more will be available, courtesy of the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association.
Residents of Hyde Park have certainly had their share of problems with inefficient service from the City of Austin Planning and Development Review Department and even more with the inaccurate application of city code by that department. Hyde Park residents are not alone. Zucker Systems, an independent company that has reviewed planning departments across the country, recently reviewed Austin’s Planning Department and included a survey of Austin customers as part of its review. According to Zucker Systems, “The negative responses we received in this survey are the worst we have seen in our national studies including many Texas communities.”
Austin had planned to release the survey in April, but released a draft version during March. The report contains 464 recommendations, 121 of which are considered high priority. If your next encounter with the Planning and Development Review Department is better than your last one, perhaps the Zucker Report will be the reason.
–Kevin Heyburn & Lorre Weidlich