We received the following update from the City of Austin about the Del Curto Storm Drain improvements. Visit this link for the background information about this project.
We are entering into the “Design Phase” for the Del Curto Storm Drain Project.
During design, our engineering consultant will be working out all the details of the proposed project. The design phase ends with a set of construction plans that will be used to permit, bid and construct the project. The project¹s goal is to allow storm water to flow safely to West Bouldin Creek through a combination of underground pipes and open channels. The water will enter West Bouldin Creek near Thornton.
The project will include the following components:
We will install curb and gutter along a short stretch of Bluebonnet Lane where there is currently none. The area is between Del Curto Road and South Lamar Boulevard. Curb and gutter can help keep storm water in the street.
Storm Drain Bypass
We will install an underground pipe and associated inlets on part of Bluebonnet Lane, Del Curto Road, Delcrest Drive and Kinney Road. The bypass pipe will capture rainwater and release it into the channel that runs between Kinney and Thornton.
We will increase the capacity of the channel between Kinney and Thornton. This could include making the channel wider or deeper or other options.
Storm Drain Conveyance from Thornton to West Bouldin Creek
After storm water flows through the channel between Kinney and Thornton, it crosses Thornton and flows overland into West Bouldin Creek. We will provide a path for the water to take across this area. It could take the form of a pipe or improvements to the channel or some combination.
We will acquire drainage easements at various locations in the project area. Drainage easements are a designated place for water to flow during storms. In some cases, they are also needed for access or maintenance of the drainage system.
Green Streets Component Dropped
During the internal review of this project, it was decided not to pursue the Green Streets initiative on Iva and Delcrest that was presented at the public meeting in September. This option would have improved water quality, but not the flooding.
The internal review took longer than we initially thought. We are currently expecting to start construction in the summer of 2017. This assumes that the easement acquisition process goes smoothly.
The Zika Virus is making the news as it is rapidly spreading throughout South, Central, and now into North America. Our IPM Program Specialist, Wizzie Brown, recently blogged about the virus in her “Urban IPM” blog: http://urban-ipm.blogspot.com/
IPM stands for “Integrated Pest Management”, and Wizzie’s job through the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension service is to help manage our urban insects – everything from ants, termites, and aphids to butterflies and honey bees … you name it. She helps us understand the beneficial insects and how to manage those that aren’t. Wizzie is a great resource for us.
We encourage everyone to read Wizzie’s blog and the references that she cites for more information about Zika.
As a neighborhood, we can do a lot to protect ourselves from this virus by being vigilant against standing water. Please empty any containers that collect water so mosquitoes don’t have a breeding ground. Look for anything in your yard that holds even the smallest amount of water such as buckets, flower pot trays, tarps, old tires, vehicles, boats, kayaks, etc. If you see standing water on city property, please call 311 to report it. Go on a mosquito safari in your own back yard with the folks at Texas A&M: http://mosquitosafari.tamu.edu/
Early last month the Lightsey home at 1805 Lightsey Road was torn down to make way for approximately 31 new homes to be built by PSW Real Estate. The Lightsey home was built in 1932 and sat prominently with a view of downtown at the highest point in the neighborhood. It was located near the intersection of Del Curto and Lightsey (also known as Dead Man’s Curve) which is very close to the geographic center of SLNA.
Over the past year the Lightsey home historic zoning case was heard many times including at the Historic Landmark Commission on March 23rd, the Planning Commission on June 23rd, and lastly at City Council on August 13. Despite the Historic Zoning Commission having voted 4-1 to initiate historic zoning, City Council voted 5-5-1 not to preserve the home. Council members Tovo, Pool, Garza, Casar and Kitchen voted for preserving the home; Houston, Zimmerman, Troxclair, Renteria, and Adler voted against; and Gallo abstained. The preservation of the Lightsey home was overwhelmingly supported by members of the neighborhood, and Council member Ann Kitchen (our District 5 representative) vigorously advocated saving the home. However, the arguments largely fell on deaf ears at City Council.
PSW has said numerous times that if given the demolition permit, they will reuse material from the Lightsey home as site features around some of the heritage trees and especially at the entry along Lightsey Road (http://austintx.swagit.com/play/06232015-880/2/ Item C7 @44:08). This diagram shows the location of some of these features:
Specifically PSW has said:
- We will fully document the existing home; Pictures of each façade and pertinent architectural details, dimensioned site plan existing structure, and historic narrative of the property and its residents
- We are willing to use materials/elements in a site feature that evokes the feeling of the architecture of the existing home
- Use stone from existing home in the tree wells and retaining walls along the Aldwyche Dr extension
We are very much looking forward to seeing the creative ways PSW fulfulls their promise of reusing the materials salvaged from the Lightsey home. We cannot overstate the importance of developers trying to preserve some of the original character of SLNA, so much of which has sadly been lost in recent years.
During the course of hearings defending the demolition of the historic home, PSW’s representative Glen Coleman said that while they appreciate wanting to honor history, “Think about the history we are making”. Making history? Time will tell, Mr. Coleman, time will tell.