JULY 17, 2007
Really, the question is, who wouldn’t want to live in $500,000 condo in a 44-story high rise on the breathtaking shores of Shoal Creek? Imagine leaning over your balcony railing on the 42nd floor and squinting downward at that tiny fissure of green space below and knowing that, just a few miles upstream under a bridge in Pease Park, a homeless man just dropped trow and is squeezing out a three-coiler on the dry creekbed – a pungent pâté of digested pizza rinds and cinnamon sticks from the Mr. Gattis Dumpster. Don’t worry, there’s not enough line in your Pocket Fisherman to get your lure below the 20th floor anyway, much less hit top water, so you don’t have to worry about reeling in a big batch of E. coli. Besides, it’s not like you really want to fish, it’s the idea that you could fish if you wanted to. You like to be close to the water, even if that water is a fetid drainage ditch for Downtown developers. Sign here … and here … and here. After all, you didn’t just spend half a mil on a condo, you bought a lifestyle. You wanted to be able to roll out of bed at 10am, take a quick four minute elevator ride to the ground floor and hire a pedicab to pump you up to Starbuck’s for a Vende Latteccino and a copy of The New York Times. Maybe afterward you could strap on your heavy hands and take your (circle one) Shih Tzu/Pomeranian/Chihuahua/Pekingese for a brisk power walk around Town Lake … but wait … some asshole put a 26-story condo right in the middle of the hike and bike trail. Worse yet, the City Council signed off on the deal. Now, just like the rest of Austin, you’re getting the runaround. Enraged, you shake your fist at the cranes and construction workers and without a trace of irony yell, “Damn you, developers! Damn you!” What kind of livable city is it when you can only enjoy Town Lake from behind the plate glass of an expensive condo? Well sure, it’s livable all right. So is the riverwalk in San Antonio. C’mon, they turned their drainage ditch into a tourism gold mine. With some knee-jerk urban planning and lack of foresight, Austin can turn Town Lake into a similar cement moat – maybe even with flatboats full of fat Midwestern conventioneers. Dare we dream? Maybe. If you want to have a voice in whether Austin will go from River City to Moat Metropolis, show up down at Stubb’s (nestled on the beautiful shores of Waller Creek) for the Concert to Save Town Lake, a fundraiser for Austinites for the Responsible Development of the Town Lake Corridor, an organization with a tough job and even tougher name from which to draw an anagram. Local musicians Bob Schneider, Dale Watson, Stephen Bruton, Jimmy Lafave, and Kinky Friedman will join forces to rock block the potential riverwalk.