Homelessness, housing prices, new development: The top 10 most read Central Austin stories in 2019
A look at Community Impact Newspaper’s most-read stories through 2019 reveal that homelessness was the dominant political issue of the year. After Austin City Council voted in June to loosen its laws against public camping, solicitation, sitting and lying down, the conversation around the growing issue of homelessness was ever present in Austin. Community Impact Newspaper ran a special report in August, and three of our top ten most read stories of the year centered on homelessness.
Other familiar themes were represented in the list of most-read stories, including new development. Our readers showed interest in the new University of Texas basketball arena requiring a deal between UT and the city to realign Red River Street, as well as Dell Medical School’s plans to replace the Austin State Hospital.
Weather and housing prices are also frequent topics of conversations among Austinites—when flooding hit Travis County in May, readers were searching for updates, and the median housing price hitting new records in June also made the top ten list, reflecting significant reader interest in the tightening housing market and the city’s process to create a new land development code.
Originally posted June 14
The city later abandoned plans to build a new homeless shelter on Ben White Boulevard, opting instead to convert a South Central Austin motel to a shelter.
Originally posted Jan. 29
State and local officials broke ground on the new Austin State Hospital campus, now estimated to cost $305 million, on Oct. 3.
Originally posted June 21
Before the vote, Austin City Council listened to more than three hours of public testimony from those supporting and opposing the issue.
Originally posted Oct. 23
Austin voters on Nov. 5 rejected two citizen-initiated propositions related to athletic stadium deals and convention center funding while passing a measure that would allow Travis County to put hotel occupancy taxes toward the renovation of the Travis County Exposition Center.
Originally posted Sept. 27
Texas backed an appeal in the Martin vs. City of Boise case challenging a court ruling that said city rules are unconstitutional if they criminalize involuntary actions derived from a person's status—such as sleeping or sitting on public property if someone is homeless. The U.S. Supreme Court announced Dec. 16 it would not hear the appeal of the Ninth Circuit ruling.
Originally posted June 21
According to the Austin Board of Realtors, the median sale price of a home in Central Austin from January-November 2019 was $490,000.
Originally posted Sept. 26
The University of Texas broke ground on its new basketball arena, the Moody Center, on Nov. 14. Before it could do so, UT had to strike a deal with the city of Austin to realign Red River Street, and some City Council members thought the city should have received more out of the deal.
Originally posted April 26
Mayors from around the state decried many of the bills filed in the 86th legislative session as undermining local control, with Austin Mayor Steve Adler saying the 2019 session was "more focused on attacking cities than any session I can remember."
Originally posted Aug. 7
The airport's Easy Mile EZ10 driverless shuttle transports passengers going between the Barbara Jordan Terminal and the rental car and ground transportation facilities.
Originally posted May 3
Another spring brought another heavy rain season, with hundreds of road closures across Austin and Travis County due to flash floods.
By Jack Flagler
Community Impact Newspaper