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What’s in the City’s $650 Million Bond Proposal?

New fire engine bays are among the items suggested for funding in a November bond election.
Callie Hernandez for KUT News
New fire engine bays are among the items suggested for funding in a November bond election.

A few million dollars here, a few million there, and pretty soon, you’re talking real money.

The Bond Election Advisory Task Force is currently soliciting input on a bond package to send to voters this November. In February, city departments presented lists of projects and programs they would like to see funded. Since then, the committee has narrowed down an initial $1.49 billion of funding requests to just $650 million. (You can view the recommendations here.)

Tonight, May 2nd, and tomorrow, May 3rd, the task force is holding public forums it will use to further narrow its $650 million list. Here’s a look at what’s made the cut so far. 

City Facilities: About $117 million

Big Ticket Items: Fire Department– Fire Maintenance & Breathing Air Shops ($14,852,000)

This nearly $15 million would go towards “relocation of fire department fleet maintenance and breathing air shops from their 2011 E. 51st Street location.”

Austin Police Department – Northwest Substation ($15,733,000)

APD says construction of a new northwest substation “will eliminate severe overcrowding at the North substation and will proactively impact response time.”

General Facilities – 911 Dispatch Center Expansion at the Combined Transportation Emergency and Communications Center ($9,200,000)

An expansion to the 911 Dispatch Center at CTECC includes 86,000 more square feet to the facility located at 5010 Old Manor Road.

Public Works – Harold Court Facility ($16,125,000)

Design and construction of a new Public Works facility at Harold Court

Austin Public Library – Library Renovations (About $6,000,000)

Various renovations to the Cepeda, Millwood, Pleasant Hill, Will Hampton, University Hills, Windsor Park, and Yarborough Branch Public Libraries.

EMS – Ambulance Truck Bay Expansion ($3,788,000)

Expansion of ambulance truck bays and crew quarters at three EMS stations: Station 2 (6601 Manchaca Rd.), Station 8 (5211 Balcones Dr.), and Station 11 (5401 McCarty Ln).

Health and Human Services – Women & Children's Shelter Repairs ($1,841,000)  

 “Improvements to Women & Children's Shelter, a 13,328 square-foot facility which provides continuous emergency shelter, basic needs, specialized counseling, child care, and educational services for single women and women with dependent children."

Affordable Housing: About$111 million

Big Ticket Items : Neighborhood Housing and Community Development – Funds for Housing Affordability ($110,000,000)

All but $1 million of these funds are earmarked for creation of a program to “preserve, maintain housing affordability for low and moderate income individuals and families. ”

Parks and Open Spaces: About$178,200,000

Big Ticket Item: Parks and Recreation Community Building at Montopolis Neighborhood Park ($15.5 million)

The funds would go toward removal and replacement of the existing recreation center in Montopolis Park with a new community center.

Big Ticket Item: Watershed Protection DepartmentOpen Space Acquisition ($57,000,000)

Open space dollars would allow Austin to “acquire properties to protect water quality and quantity for maintenance of recreational quality, endangered species habitat, and light recreational activities.”

Big Ticket Items: Community Based Projects Mexic-Ate Museum ($10 million), Austin Studios expansion ($9.5 million)

You can read more about these arts projects here. Another community project recommended for further discussion is the Austin Planetarium ($3 million). “The Austin Planetarium has submitted an application to the State of Texas to develop a planetarium as part of a mixed use development on a piece of property across the street from the Bob Bullock Museum. ”

Transportation and Mobility: About $252,650,000

Big Ticket Item: Public WorksStreet Reconstruction Program ($46,500,000)

Funding for this project would provide “Street Reconstruction and Rehabilitation of Arterial, Residential, and Neighborhood Streets throughout the City.”

Big Ticket Item: Austin Transportation DepartmentIH-35 Improvements ($40,000,000)

“The project focuses on operational improvements that address traffic issues created from vehicles leaving IH-35 and entering into the City street network or affect traffic flow through the City corridors.”

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