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Planning for tomorrow in the heart of Dripping Springs

Innovative Sustainable Places Project kicks off local efforts with Sept. 27 workshop

September 6, 2012

DRIPPING SPRINGS, Texas — Dripping Springs area residents are invited to take part in an innovative planning effort to help shape the future of Dripping Springs. The Sustainable Places Project (SPP) will host a public visioning workshop on Thursday, September 27 at 6:30 pm at Dripping Springs Middle School, located at 111 Tiger Lane.

As the region continues its rapid growth and change, an SPP has been developed as an ambitious regional initiative to help Dripping Springs and other Central Texas cities create thriving and livable places that reflect community goals and values. The Visioning Workshop will feature lively, interactive conversations about the choices faced by Dripping Springs and Central Texas — about housing, transportation, economic development, community health and vitality, the natural and cultural environment, and more. “The more Central Texas grows, the more our highways congest, the greater the risk of losing the qualities that attracted people here,” said Betty Voights, Executive Director of the Capital Area Council of Governments (CAPCOG), which is administering the SPP. “We need to be proactive about linking housing near job centers and services, with transportation options that connect the region effectively. The SPP is developing the tools and real-world models that Central Texas cities can use to create those kinds of places.”

A historic Hill Country community, Dripping Springs is feeling the pressures of a fast-growing network of suburban neighborhoods and seeing Austin’s westward expansion along the U.S. 290 Corridor transform the formerly rural landscape. The SPP is bringing together planning experts, city staff, and community stakeholders to explore options for historic downtown Dripping Springs and the surrounding area, including currently undeveloped land that could be developed as a town center for the northwest corner of Hays County.

Dripping Springs is one of five cities in Central Texas — the others are Austin, Elgin, Hutto, and Lockhart — that are home to SPP “demonstration sites” for which plans and tools are being developed. These communities were chosen to take part in the SPP after a competitive application process that included bringing together local stakeholders — including property owners in the demonstration site — and showing how the SPP’s goals built on those of locally adopted plans.

“Dripping Springs is a small town in the middle of a much larger, changing region,” says Mayor Todd Purcell. “Our community knows that growth is going to continue, and we acknowledge and accept that fact. But we also want to shape, manage and balance that growth to benefit our residents, businesses, and enhance the quality of life, while creating new opportunities for people to come together, live, work, and invest in the heart of Dripping Springs.”

Led by CAPCOG, the SPP includes nearly two dozen Central Texas partners — cities and counties, transportation agencies, nonprofits, educational institutions, and private-sector stakeholders — and is supported by federal grant funds. In addition to developing plans for the five demonstration sites, the SPP is also creating an innovative Web-based analytic tool that all Central Texas communities can use to understand the impact of different growth scenarios and choices. Development of this tool, by a team led by the University of Texas, will also incorporate insights and feedback from Dripping Springs and the other demonstration sites.

The September 27th workshop in Dripping Springs is the public kick-off of a planning effort that will extend through 2013, with several more opportunities for public input. Final plans and tools are expected to be presented to the City of Dripping Springs for approval later in 2013. More info about the SPP can be found at http://www.drippingsprings.sustainableplacesproject.com.

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Imagine a place where vibrant communities draw strength from their natural assets to sustain their quality of life. A place where citizens care about protecting the special qualities of a region – their region. A place where people and partners band together to envision a better economic future, tackle shared challenges and care for the natural, scenic, and recreational resources that define the place they call home.
~This is a Conservation Landscape



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