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City council unanimously approves Imagine Austin plan

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TWC News: City council unanimously approves Imagine Austin plan
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Colored dots on Imagine Austin’s “Growth Concept Map” illustrate anticipated growth over the next 30 years.

Imagine Austin is a plan that's been in the works the last four years. Mary Ingle with the Austin Neighborhoods Council says while participation was encouraged, public input was not.

"If you wanted to add input that wasn't on the multiple choice, you could fill out a sticky note and put it on a blackboard,” she said. “That is no way to give input to a process."

The city's last plan, called Austin Tomorrow, was adopted in 1978, long before most of Austin's current skyline existed when MoPac was an expressway during rush hour instead of a parking lot.

City council members admit, back then, city leaders abandoned the plan within five years.

"I'm concerned that this plan is not going to be shelved because there's too much at stake for too many greedy people," Ingle said.

She said she’s worried current plans threaten established neighborhoods.

Garner Stoll has worked on Imagine Austin from the beginning. He says the plan is meant as a framework for growth rather than a doctrine.

"We do need more specific plans, but we need to make sure we keep a citywide perspective and see how the parts fit," Stoll said.

Critics say the plan will make Austin a place only for the economic elite. They also feel it could kill Austin's individuality and its live music scene.

Stoll admits music won't pay the bills in the future, but says it's part of a creative economy which will continue to thrive.

"It kind of came out of that sector, but I think it's taken a much broader view in the future," he said.

A future that is hard to imagine now, but has room to be modified as Austin morphs into its next generation.

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