Community members can stay informed, share ideas, and provide feedback from the project SpeakUp Austin webpage
Austin, TX – The City of Austin today announced the Palm District Planning Initiative, a planning process to guide the future of one of downtown Austin’s most iconic, and fastest-growing districts. Beginning today, community members may register for virtual meetings, complete surveys to share input and discover other ways to stay informed and engage to help develop a unified vision that will inform the final Palm District Small Area Plan.
The Palm District planning process will engage stakeholders to develop a comprehensive, focused small area plan for an area of downtown Austin which includes many attractions and points of interest such as Waller Creek, Red River Cultural District, Palm School, Rainey Street, the Emma S. Barrientos - Mexican American Cultural Center, and the Convention Center.
Visit the Palm District Planning Project Page for more information: SpeakUpAustin.org/palmdistrict
“The [Palm] area is a dynamic gateway for visitors, a cultural touchstone for Austin's Mexican American community, and a window into Austin’s past,” said Assistant City Manager Rodney Gonzales, Executive Lead for the project. “As Austin continues to rapidly evolve, our goal is to create a space where old memories are honored and new memories are made. We have a unique opportunity to responsibly and respectfully guide growth of such an iconic area for visitors and long-time Austinites alike.”
Through this process, the City will partner with district stakeholders and community members to develop and implement a shared vision for the Palm District, that has the potential to:
- Build on existing plans, initiatives, and strengths
- Create a safe place that is welcoming to all
- Honor and celebrate history
- Enhance educational and cultural assets
- Provide equitable economic benefits and opportunity
- Increase access to housing
- Improve mobility and access
- Improve access to nature, enhances natural systems, and support a sustainable, resilient future
- Pre-Planning Phase - Fall 2019- Winter 2020
The project team researched the planning area in preparation of developing the plan.
- Visioning Phase - Spring 2021 - Summer 2021
Community engagement activities begin. Community input will be used to develop a draft vision and outline for the plan.
- Active Planning - Summer 2021 - Fall 2021
Staff will use the draft vision and outline to develop several scenarios for the planning area.
- Draft Review - Fall 2021- Winter 2021
Staff will develop the draft plan and the plan will be available for public review and comments.
- Plan Adoption - Spring 2022
The Palm District Small Area Plan will be finalized. During this time staff will review the plan with City of Austin Boards and Commissions, set City Council Hearings, and seek adoption and implementation of the plan.
A key component of the project is community input. Through the Palm Project SpeakUp webpage, staff can keep the community informed as well as listen to and acknowledge concerns and aspirations for the planning area.
During the Visioning Stage (Spring 2021 - Summer 2021), community members will have several opportunities to share input and ideas - including virtual community meetings, surveys, and interactive exercises - resulting in the development of a draft vision and outline for the plan.
Additionally, the project timeline (listed above) can be viewed any time from the SpeakUp Austin webpage under "Project Timeline."
Two upcoming virtual public meetings will be held on June 15 and 16.
In the subsequent stages, staff will use the community-generated draft vision and plan outline to develop ideas and a detailed plan for the area. The public will have an opportunity to review the draft ideas and provide feedback, which will influence the final Palm District Small Area Plan.
About the Project
On May 23, 2019, Austin City Council voted to approve Resolution No. 20190523-029. The resolution covered many topics within the Palm District, including the Palm School, Rainey Street, the Fifth Street Mexican American Heritage Corridor, the Convention Center expansion, and a district planning process.
The Palm District Planning Initiative will build on existing plans and ongoing initiatives and include recommendations to support the development of a seamless, integrated, vibrant district with a unique sense of place grounded in its history. The planning process will:
- Honor and celebrate history, in particular, the Mexican American and African American heritage of the district;
- explore ways to preserve and enhance cultural and environmental resources, including Palm Park, Palm School, the Red River Cultural District, Brush Square, and the Waterloo Greenway;
- leverage future investments, including on-going development of the Innovation District around Dell Seton Medical Center, possible expansion of the Convention Center, and future private sector development;
- build on existing mobility infrastructure, and coordinate future multi-modal transportation investments to support connectivity, accessibility, and placemaking;
- explore redevelopment opportunities that could support the district’s sense of place as well as citywide policy goals including the provision of affordable housing and economic opportunity;
- foster a diverse economic development environment and utilize city-owned land to support the vision of the district;
- encourage physical connections to existing parks, open spaces, and public amenities within the district and surrounding areas; and
- develop leadership around the vision and ensure that champions exist for each aspect of implementation.
Ways to Get Involved
Austinites can explore the Palm District study area and use an interactive map to provide input on the current Palm District to help shape its future. Additionally, interested persons may provide input by completing a planning survey. Staff are available to provide clarity on any aspects of the plan, what the plan intends to accomplish, or where you might be able to learn more.
For more information, visit the Palm District Planning SpeakUp Austin webpage, contact staff via email at PalmDistrictPlanning@austintexas.gov, by phone at 311, or by sending postal mail to Attn: Palm District Plan, City of Austin Housing and Planning Department, P.O. Box 1088, Austin, TX 78767.