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Happy Spring! 

Zilker Kite Festival on March 6, Source: Do512

Community News 

Council Member Pool stands with Council Member Casar, Mayor Pro Tem Tovo and County Commissioner Brigid Shea at a press conference in support of fair chance hiring. Council passed the Fair Chance Hiring ordinance at their meeting on March 24, which removes the criminal history question on job applications until after the initial stages of the hiring process.
CodeNEXT Update
CodeNEXT is an Imagine Austin initiative to modernize Austin’s outdated Land Development Code with a simpler, user-friendly code that creates and preserves people-friendly places. The City will be releasing the draft Code in January 2017, but prior to that will be releasing "prescription" papers offering a preview of the code's possible impact on future development (see the first paper here), as well as hosting various engagement opportunities for the community.

Stay engaged with CodeNEXT:
Neighbor of the Month: Jean Graham
Crestview and Brentwood residents are likely familiar with the “Wall of Welcome” that adjoins the two neighborhoods. This unique mosaic wall near the Crestview Shopping Center on Woodrow Avenue documents the cast of characters that have lived and worked in the neighborhoods since they were developed in the mid-20th century. As part of the first of a periodic series featuring a District 7 “Neighbor of the Month,” we talked to the artist behind the mural, Brentwood resident and newly retired City of Austin employee Jean Graham.
Trained as a visual artist, Jean worked for the City’s public art program over a span of 15 years. She was a project manager, which included selecting the artists and supervising the installations, as well as planning, writing, and publicizing the artwork. Her favorite pieces are interactive, and those that truly enliven public space. One important milestone she witnessed was in 2002 when the Art in Public Places ordinance was amended to increase public art funding from 1 to 2 percent of capital improvement project budgets.
“It’s been great to see the program develop. Art has become more technologically involved and more integrated into architecture.”
Beyond her service to the City of Austin, Jean took the lead on projects which seamlessly blended art and neighborhood engagement. She organized a project at Brentwood Elementary School in which each child made a bird out of clay for a 200-square-foot mural on the exterior of the school called “Flying Together.” And from 2003 through 2008, the “Wall of Welcome” project consumed her time and energy, involving an impressive and multi-layered effort of fundraising, researching, interviewing, teaching, and of course, mural-making.
Jean started Violet Crown Community Works, an organization that helped raise money for the project. She researched the history of the neighborhood at the Austin History Center, and interviewed older neighbors. In addition to bringing together Crestview and Brentwood, Jean facilitated diverse sections of the community coming together. An individual, family, or business could sign up to create their own tile for the mural, but were required to attend three sessions taught by Jean. This allowed residents to get to know one another, and to get to know more about their neighborhood’s colorful history. Jean also spent hundreds of hours at the mural site, which made it easy to gather insight from neighbors simply walking by. Unsurprisingly, the project had consistent neighborhood support throughout the five-year process, and this enthusiasm continues today as it serves as a point of neighborhood pride. 

 “Jean has been an incredible asset to neighborhoods in District 7 and to the City of Austin through her creativity, collaboration, and service to the community,” said Council Member Pool.

Thank you, Jean, for your energetic spirit and for your willingness to be our first featured Neighbor of the Month!

Do you have a neighbor you want to celebrate? Send information to District7@austintexas.gov, and they could be profiled in an upcoming “Neighbor of the Month” feature!

Community Events 

The Balcones Canyonlands Conservation Plan (BCCP) is celebrating 20 years as a leading example of balancing conservation and economic development with an event on Friday, May 6, from 2 to 4 p.m. Join BCCP staff and advocates for speakers, displays and guided hikes at Reicher Ranch (directions available here). Those interested can RSVP at this link and find more information on the BCCP at the City's website.
 
Spring has sprung, and it's time to get outside and ride bikes! Ensure yours is ready to ride by taking advantage of the free Fixit Clinic on Bike Repair. Bring your bicycle to Recycled Reads (5335 Burnet Road) on Saturday, April 2, from 12 to 3 p.m., and work with volunteer coaches to help repair it. (Fixit Clinics are all about do-it-together hands-on disassembly, troubleshooting and repair knowledge; see other clinics here.)
Mobility Talks
Whether you drive, walk, bike or take transit, the City of Austin is working on ways to make getting around safer and easier. But we need your help!
 
Through May 8, the City is hosting Mobility Talks to gather priorities online and in person for improving Austin's transportation network. At MobilityTalks.org, Austinites can take a survey and learn about other opportunities to give feedback, as well as learn about mobility-related projects and plans.
Austin Housing Plan
As housing prices continue to rise in Austin, the City needs a new strategic housing plan to meet the needs of all residents. Share your input on all things housing through a series of community meetings (locations available here), including a meeting in District 7 at Northwest Recreation Center on Tuesday, April 5, from 6 to 8 p.m. The plan will explore funding mechanisms, regulations and creative approaches Austin can use to achieve its housing goals.
Council Member Pool reads a proclamation to the crowd at the preview party for the Drawing Lines: Explorations of Place exhibit which runs from April 2-10, 12 to 5 p.m. daily, at the McKean-Eilers Building (323 Congress). The exhibit brings together 10 commissioned public art projects reflecting Austin's new 10-1 political structure (Photo source: City of Austin Cultural Arts Division). 
The Rosedale School is hosting their annual Rosedale Ride on Saturday, April 2, at 8:30 a.m. The Rosedale School is the only school in the Austin Independent School District that is exclusively for children with multiple disabilities and profound needs, and the ride raises money for the foundation that supports the school. Participants should meet at Samsung Austin Semiconductor (12100 Samsung Boulevard). Visit http://rosedaleproud.org/ for more information.
Short Term Rental Update

City Council approved significant changes to the Short Term Rental ordinance in February that includes new requirements for advertising, occupancy limits, and STR licenses. Find out more information on the changes here, and keep up to date with the implementation of these changes at http://austintexas.gov/str.
Connect with District 7 on Social Media!

Follow our staff on Twitter and Instagram for a behind-the-scenes look at our work. Visit our Google Map to access a useful map of the district, including neighborhood boundaries and voting precincts. 
Copyright © 2016 Council Member Leslie Pool, District 7, All rights reserved.


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