Permanent Relocation of the Downtown Austin Community Court (DACC) to 124 West 8th Street
Honorable Austin Mayor and City Council:
The undersigned respectfully ask you to delay any decision regarding the relocation of the DACC to 124 West 8th Street until such time as the appropriate process can be followed including, but not limited to, conducting necessary due diligence and seeking input from the relevant stakeholders. What is needed is a formal, open, and public process in order to find an appropriate location for the DACC. Unfortunately, the process to date has been extremely flawed in this regard.
During the work session on November 16, 2021, the city council received a briefing on the DACC with a recommendation that it be relocated from 505 Barton Springs Road to 124 West 8th Street. The initial deadline to approve this recommendation appeared to be entirely arbitrary and, although the city council has subsequently delayed the deadline for a vote, it continues to appear that the timeline requiring the DACC's relocation remains completely arbitrary in nature.
In addition, during the work session, there was no discussion whatsoever of how the relocated DACC will serve its clientele given its distance from necessary resources like the Sobering Center. Nor was there discussion of how the proposed DACC relocation site would impact the use of 124 West 8th Street as a future cultural center. Nor was there any presentation of the properties considered and rejected by the city prior to the recommendation being made and why they were not selected. In this regard, there was no discussion of the full list of requirements for the new DACC location. Finally, there was no discussion of the potential impact of the DACC’s relocation on the surrounding neighborhood.
In sum, no decision regarding the relocation of the DACC should be made until there is a full and comprehensive vetting of all potential locations -- particularly now that COVID restrictions have changed the downtown real estate landscape -- and consideration of the consequences, both to DACC clientele and the surrounding neighborhood, of each potential selection.
We appreciate the opportunity to address the Mayor and Council regarding the important issue.
Respectfully the undersigned