The Red River Cultural District should be top on your Austin to-do list. With a variety of restaurants, bars, and live-music venues, the RRCD is gaining recognition not only for its live music and happy hours, but also for its distinctive business personality, which makes it unique from the rest of Austin’s business districts.
The City of Austin welcomed the RRCD to the Soul-y Austin program after businesses in the area expressed interest in forming a RRCD merchants association. With the recent rise in rents, unexpected venue closures, and the impacts of new development around the area, businesses on Red River have decided to take this first step towards building a unified vision for the district that will allow them to preserve and enhance the area they call home.
Red River businesses have been attending monthly meetings with the Soul-y ATX team since May 2015. The first meetings were primarily designed to have businesses interact and to educate them on Soul-y Austin – how the program works, what it seeks to accomplish, and how businesses can empower this effort for the well-being of their district. Furthermore, the initial gatherings also focused on educating one another on the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that businesses find within the district. Elements and areas of focus that contribute towards the vision and future of the Red River District were identified from the activities, fueling the discussion on the district’s development and contributing to the creation of the Red River Cultural District Plan.
Soul-y ATX and the Red River businesses met in mid-October to discuss the next steps in the formation of their merchants association, which includes drafting their bylaws. A volunteer attorney will assist the group with the significant decision making and will assist them in activities to formalize a merchants association. Decisions on board members, voting member eligibility, and member dues are a few of the discussion items in the hands of the group.
Aside from the business meetings to date, the Red River businesses will participate in a large district visioning and planning workshop. The workshop, which is expected to include city staff, area stakeholders and business and property owners in the district, will provide the opportunity for folks to express their interest and opinion on policy issues and activation projects including tactical urbanism ideas that will contribute to the enhancement and beautification of the Red River District. From discussions on noise regulations, to sidewalk trees, businesses will be able to interact and reveal the top physical and policy issues for the district, allowing the Soul-y ATX team to further understand the specific wants and needs of the area.
After determining Red River’s primary concerns and goals, the Soul-y Austin team will be able to successfully develop a district plan that will include the districts vision, mission, and short and long term goals; the plan will be a main element for the formation of the district’s merchants association and the businesses.
Follow our blog and watch for future posts as we introduce our team and the areas underway. If you have any questions or comments about this exciting opportunity, please contact Nicole Klepadlo, Program Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512-974-7739.