The Trail Foundation, City of Austin explore expanding partnership of Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail

A group of nationally renowned urban planning experts representing the Urban Land Institute will make recommendations next week to The Trail Foundation and the Austin Parks and Recreation Department on the feasibility of transferring operation of the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail at Lady Bird Lake to The Trail Foundation. The Austin American-Statesman ran an exclusive front-page story on the topic. https://www.austin360.com/news/20190819/exclusive-trail-foundation-could-take-over-hike-amp-bike-trail-parkland-operations

In partnership with PARD, TTF applied and was selected in a competitive process to be part of the Urban Land Institute’s Advisory Services Program to have their experts’ opinions to help launch the exploration of TTF taking over operations of the Butler Trail.

“We are honored and excited to have been selected for this opportunity and grateful for the valuable input as we consider this option,” says Heidi Anderson, executive director of The Trail Foundation. “Taking this potential step would be a big commitment for TTF in terms of funding and organizational growth, and the ULI Advisory Service Program is one of the ways we will explore the feasibility of the potential transition.”

In recent years, the Foundation has doubled its amount of ecological restoration work on the Trail. In 2018, TTF invested more than $2.5 million into the Butler Trail, and in its 16-year history has invested more than $11,300,000 into the Trail. TTF is currently working on three major projects, with 15 more in the queue, and is committed to increasing the pace and breadth of its work to meet the needs of the Trail as its popularity and usage continue to grow along with Austin.

The ULI representatives will be visiting sites and neighborhoods in the city, and conducting interviews with key leaders and stakeholders arranged by TTF and PARD August 25-30. The Advisory Services panelists will consider:

  • How to determine the liability and authority over the space;
  • When to transfer operations over the trail, including prioritizing the transfer and phasing;
  • Funding recommendations, brand development and philanthropic growth and cultivation; and
  • How to prioritize the various projects involved with maintaining the trail.

In any scenario, the City would continue to own the public parkland that is the Trail.

According to Julie Underhal, chair of the Austin Advisory Service panel: “Our goal is to help the city and The Trail Foundation achieve their mutual goals of achieving the best possible operating relationship between the two entities so that the Trail can continue to be improved and maintained as an iconic place and economic, social, and natural resource for generations to come.”

About The Trail Foundation

The Trail Foundation’s mission is to protect, enhance, and connect the Butler Hike-and-Bike-Trail at Lady Bird Lake for the benefit of all. The Butler Trail is the 10-mile lush, urban path in the heart of Austin that gets more than 2.6 million visits every year. Since it was founded in 2003, The Trail Foundation has achieved restoration and beautification projects to the Trail’s infrastructure and environment, while honoring the original vision of the Trail’s founders and ensuring its vibrancy for generations to come. For more information, please visit www.thetrailfoundation.org.

The Trail Foundation - No electric scooters on the Trail

No electric scooters on the Trail! TTF spreads the word with new video, T-shirts

The Trail Foundation - No electric scooters on the TrailAUSTIN—Electric scooters are not allowed on the Butler Hike-and-Bike Trail, and The Trail Foundation wants everyone to know.

The Foundation is stepping up their public awareness campaign to spread the word. A humorous new video by Austin’s Beef and Pie Productions launched on social media and has been shared by thousands of fans, and new limited-edition “No scooters on the Trail” T-shirts are available on their website, www.thetrailfoundation.org

“We’re asking our friends to become walking billboards with the message that electric scooters are not allowed on the Butler Trail,” says Heidi Anderson, executive director of The Trail Foundation. Read more

Emancipet Spayathon trip to Puerto Rico

Emancipet breaks all the records on fourth Spayathon trip to Puerto Rico

Emancipet Spayathon trip to Puerto RicoAUSTIN — Emancipet recently returned from its most successful trip yet to care for pets and the people who love them in Puerto Rico. Emancipet is one of six organizations leading the surgical work in a historic initiative to spay/neuter and vaccinate more than 20,000 dogs and cats in Puerto Rico, which is still struggling to recover more than six months after the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

During Round 4 Emancipet safely spayed, neutered and vaccinated 1,562 pets in 7 days, the highest number. The combined total is 4,866 by the Emancipet team for all four rounds. The for the entire coalition across Puerto Rico is now more than 34,000 pets cared for. Read more

VOX Femina Los Angeles

VOX Femina Los Angeles presents Hearts of Courage, also featuring Trans Chorus of Los Angeles

VOX Femina Los AngelesLOS ANGELES—The city’s premier women’s chorus, VOX Femina Los Angeles, presents Hearts of Courage, a celebration of Pride and tribute to the LGBTQ community, on Saturday, June 8th at 8 p.m. at Zipper Concert Hall, The Colburn School.

Rounding off LA’s Pride week 2019, and the night before the traditional Pride Parade, VOX’s final concert of their 2018-2019 season presents a celebration of songs that honor the progress that has been made on behalf of the LGBTQ community, as well as the 50th anniversary of Stonewall.

The concert will feature the Trans Chorus of Los Angeles and a new commission by the award-winning transgender composer Mari Esabel Valverde. Read more

13 war veterans to have portraits presented at Belmont Village

Thirteen veterans of WWII and other historic wars will be presented with their portraits taken as part of the American Heroes: Portraits of Service project for Belmont Village Senior Living in West Lake Hills. Nationally recognized photographer and author Tom Sanders  took the portraits and collected the stories of these veteran residents last month, and will be on hand as the portraits are added to the permanent gallery at Belmont.

Dignitaries and community leaders will join veterans and their families on Thursday, January 24, from 4-6 p.m. at Belmont Village Senior Living, 4310 Bee Cave Road. Sanders will speak at the event, and veterans will also be available for interviews. A local high school color guard will help honor the vets. Read more

Merick Strategies’ Bernstein Mass included in Austin Chronicle Top 10 list

In another accolade for Merick Strategies’ unprecedented, beyond-expectations production of Bernstein100Austin—the groundbreaking Austin production of Leonard Bernstein’s MASS: A Theatre Piece for Singers, Players, and Dancers—Austin Chronicle arts critic Robert Faires has named the production one of his Top 10 Dance and Classical Joys of 2018. Read more

Turkey Trot - 2018

ThunderCloud Subs gives largest donation ever to Caritas of Austin from Turkey Trot proceeds

The owners of ThunderCloud Subs presented the largest single donation ever from the proceeds of the ThunderCloud Subs TurkeyTrot—$350,000—to Caritas of Austin just before Christmas. ThunderCloud has now raised nearly $3.8 million over the Trot’s 28-year history.

Austin’s favorite Thanksgiving Day tradition, the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot is the largest five-mile run in Texas. More than 20,000 people participated in the Trot this year, with all proceeds benefiting Caritas, a nonprofit that works to prevent and end homelessness in Austin. Read more

Freedom Solar launches Texas’ first solar financing vehicle

Freedom Solar Financial Services LLC, the first solar financial vehicle of its kind in Texas, has raised an initial round of $7.5 million in funding to finance commercial solar projects. Financing through Freedom allows companies to finance up to 70 percent of the cost of an entire solar installation and ensures that an investment in solar is cash-flow positive from day one. The company offers a simple one-page application and a rapid one-week underwriting process.

The Freedom Financing program is based on more than a decade of experience working with hundreds of business owners to make solar work for them. Securing financing for commercial solar projects, which can be key to creating an attractive investment profile for onsite solar generation, can be difficult and complicated. Read more

Emancipet returns from second Spayathon for Puerto Rico trip

Emancipet just returned from their second trip to Puerto Rico to provide much-needed medical care and spay/neuter services as part of #SpayathonforPR. The trip was a huge, record-breaking success; the team spayed/neutered 1,137 animals in just 7 days in challenging conditions.

They’re heading back in February for the third of what will be four trips, to continue spreading their mission of providing low cost, high-quality treatments, and spay/neuter services to pets and people who love them. Emancipet is one of 26 organizations working with #SpayathonforPR, organized by The Humane Society of the United States

To help support these trips, and Emancipet’s work around the country including in Austin, Houston, and Philadelphia, go this link to donate: https://bit.ly/2B4hsND.

Register for the ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot today

Registration for the 2018 ThunderCloud Subs Turkey Trot is available online at https://thundercloud.com/register/, and this year’s T-shirt design features artwork by local professional artist Mila Sketch.  Read more