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Dawson Neighborhood

Dawson Neighborhood’s Community Website

South Congress Hotel Waivers Trump Some Neighbors’ Worries

We’re reproducing the whole article here for our neighbors who may not be able to read the whole article online (pay site). See our earlier articles with document links and video from the Planning Commission Meeting, and the neighborhood’s Plan Team vote in favor of waivers.

Austin Monitor – Monday, July 11, 2016 by Elizabeth Pagano

After a successful night at the Planning Commission, a new South Congress hotel will have both a pool and a driveway — despite concerns about their placement from neighbors and the church next door.

While the zoning at 2510 South Congress Ave. does allow for a hotel, Krug Development was seeking compatibility waivers from the city that will allow for a driveway and swimming pool to be placed closer to residential property than allowed under code. The driveway will be 5 feet from the neighboring property, instead of the required 15, and the pool will be 28 feet away, not the required 50.


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South Austin Neighborhood Center July 2016

What’s New at the South Austin Neighborhood Center?

Hello all,

Here is the South Austin Neighborhood Center events information and Dove Springs Recreation Central Texas Food Bank events, please share with the community. Please call if you have any questions. Also, please find City of Austin Job Fair information for July 28th. Have a safe and Happy 4th of July!

Thank you,

Judy Alvarado, RN [click to email]
South Austin Neighborhood Center
2508 Durwood Street [click for map]
Austin, Texas 78704

Download the SANC Newsletter (includes job fair flyer, English & Spanish combined).

July 2016
South Austin Neighborhood Center
2508 Durwood Street
Austin, TX 78704,
Monday-Thursday 8:00 am – 6 pm
Friday 8:00 am – 12 noon,
Closed for lunch 12:30 to 1:30 pm

Closed Monday, 4th of July

Central Texas Food Bank Fresh Foods for Families Event: Tuesday, July 19th, fruits and vegetables for the community. Please sign up at 9:00 a.m., please bring your grocery bags. Fresh Foods for Families event is every third Tuesday of the month.

Central Texas Food Bank Healthy Options Program for the Elderly (HOPE): Thursday, July 14th, at 9:00 a.m. Packaged food for individuals 55 years of age and up. To register for HOPE program please call 512-972-6840 for appointment. Please bring your grocery bags.

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Durwood Senior Center July 2016

(click the calendar to enlarge it, or download the .pdf HERE)

The Durwood Senior Center program includes the “SO60+ Social Group”. It is in the South Austin Neighborhood Center behind Gillis Park, 2508 Durwood Street. Click HERE for a Google Map.

Regular Events:

  • Mon-Fri 9:30 Daily Walk ‘n Talk around Gillis Park
  • Mon-Fri 11:45 Free Lunch is served!
  • Mondays 10:30 Activity Planning
  • Wednesdays 10:30: Loteria
  • Fridays 10:30: Bingo

Special Events This Month:

  • Friday, July 1st: 4th of July Party
  • Monday, July 11th: AAA Medication Safety Screening
  • Tuesday, July 19th: So60+ Boutique!
  • Friday, July 29th: Birthday Bingo

Closures This Month:

  • Monday, July 4th: Independence Day


  • Anyone 60 and over can take part in the activities and free lunch. Reservations are not necessary, but the first day you attend, we have you fill out a form to register with us. The Manager will ensure that everyone gets a meal!


  • 512-972-6891

Independence Day, the 4th of July

Happy Birthday, United States of America!!

The fourth of July is the birthday of our nation. Today, we celebrate and enjoy the freedom that comes with the event that made this day so special. (more…)

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Austin Planning Comm Approves Variances for Guesthouse Hotel

Image: APC Votes for Variances

The Austin Planning Commission debated SP-2015-0300, the compatibility setback waivers requested by KRUG/Guesthouse Hotel. They reached this item at 11:30 PM, and finished at 1:00 AM. Guesthouse Hotel had dropped the request to feature alcohol within 300′ of the Church in Austin, so at stake was the driveway and the pool positions.

Planning Commission Staff had recommended approval of the waivers. Click here for their review sheet, site plan diagrams and attached documents from Interested Parties in the neighborhood.

Many representatives from Church in Austin spoke against the waivers on the grounds of noise, safety and defending the heritage trees on both properties. They do not want the hotel driveway adjacent to their property line, nor the pool, due to noise concerns. Their primary fear is that the hotel will be incompatible with the church’s quiet atmosphere by being a disruptive party destination. They framed the issue as being about their property rights.

The Dawson Neighborhood Plan Contact Team representative was a no-show tonight, leaving Church in Austin itself awkwardly disclosing their lack of neighborhood support. On Monday, June 13, the DNPCT membership voted in favor of all three waivers.

The Planning Commission was ultimately sold on the waivers due to the reality that South Congress Avenue is already an entertainment district, and KRUG/Guesthouse Hotel presented reasonable solutions to each point of objection. They voted on the two waivers separately:

  • Driveway passed: 9 to 2
  • Pool passed 8 to 3 7 to 4 per Austin Monitor

Stay tuned, the Church in Austin may appeal, and The Guesthouse Hotel may ask for a waiver for alcohol sales in the future. Also note that the hotel design may change, as the land use design used tonight was not a final draft.

Please enjoy the 1:28 video here:

This article has been revised for clarity.

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Toss Pizzeria & Pub Opens on S.1st

Soft Opening Tonight! 5:00 PM – Midnight

June 28, 2016

The old Deutchman Plumming Supply building, just across the street corner from Torchy’s Tacos, is open again as a new restaurant and office space!

Toss Pizza & Pub, 2901 South 1st Street, is ready to serve you New York-style pizza, salads, soups and more!

General Manager Justin DeLaCruz and Chef John Pennington have opened up this new venue for eating and drinking along Dawson Neighborhood’s Western border.

We spoke to Justin, and he describes this as a live training for the employees, and apologizes in the event that service backs up or if not every menu item is available. Over 600 folks who signed up to their mailing list have not yet been notified yet, as Justin is concerned about providing everyone the best service and is concerned about being overwhelmed on opening day.

Celebrity mixologist Jason Kosmas has designed most of the cocktails Toss serves.

Bring your dog to play in Toss Yard and play washers or corn hole with your friends!

Read the article in Austin Eater here.

July 15: Jan Bucholz has given Toss a nice write-up. Read it and see the photo gallery here.

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Gillis Park Pool to Open June 20, 2016

We have great news for fans of summer swimming!

The City of Austin Parks and Recreation Department has revised its swimming pool schedule and Gillis is back in play!


Image: Gillis Park Pool

Gillis Park Pool opens June 20, 2016.

  • Open every day of the week except Wednesday
  • Pool might also be closed on Sundays
  • Hours are 1:00 PM to 8:00 PM

The pool is open for general recreational swimming, and does not have reserved hours for adults or lap swimming. Gillis Pool’s online schedule has not been updated, but the pool was originally scheduled to close for the season on to August 14. Here are schedules for all Austin pools.

We have been holding our breath, since the City had delayed opening our pool over the last several weeks. Last year, the City considered closing Gillis Park Pool permanently. The City hosted an online survey to gauge the public’s willingness to close down local pools and instead provide several new, large water parks. District 3 Council Member Pio Renteria says that for now, some pools can not be opened due to a shortage of staff in the Austin Parks and Recreation Department.

Image: Lifeguard in Austin, TX

With regard to the staffing shortage:

Hiring Lifeguards

Lifeguards are still being hired! Training continues and more are needed. Pay is $13.03 per hour. Visit to learn about opportunities throughout the city.

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Dawson News Round-Up – Mid-June

Attacks at Dawson Elementary

Image: Ouch!

Harley Nussman’s dog Georgia has been attacked on multiple occasions by a female brown-and-white Boxer-mix at the informal dog park beside Dawson Elementary School. Georgia sustained a pretty nasty puncture wound, and Harley is afraid to use the dog park again. Neighbors are asked to keep a protective eye on their fur-babies when using this exercise area, and to politely let the unidentified owner of the offending dog know of our concerns.

“Secret” Creek Trail Closed

Image: Secret Trail

For 62 years, Charles Swenson has permitted neighbors to cut through his property along Bouldin Creek from El Paso (at the bridge) to Wilson Street. This trail is handy for schoolchildren and nature lovers looking for a brief adventure. Mr. Swenson has truly been a generous person for allowing access through his land for all this time!

Unfortunately, there is an advanced problem with erosion there, which is largely held back by the roots of a single tree situated on the corner. Sadly, someone has begun cutting branches from this tree. Mr. Swenson estimates 60% of it has been hacked away over several occasions. He is concerned about the erosion damage which will result if this tree is lost, so he has barricaded the trail entrance. His property line is on the other side of the water, so he owns this segment of Bouldin Creek.

Mr. Swenson is willing to re-open the trail if the vandalism stops. He would like to have concrete steps or a ramp built, and will allow the City or members of the community to volunteer their time and materials to do this. A group of neighbors are circling ’round to work on the trail project, and it will be discussed August 8th at the next neighborhood meeting. Send your ideas and contact info to, and we’ll pass it along to the rest of the group.

Good-bye 2701 Stacy Lane

Image: 2701 Stacy Ln

The light green 1-story cinder-block bungalo on the corner of Cumberland and Stacy has been completely demolished.  Sadly, the demolition included a mature mesquite tree at least 25″ in diameter and an assortment of trees planted by the Austin Community Tree program and/or Tree Folks. Neighbor David Haun has been unable to find a permit for cutting the larger trees and worries that this was done illegally. The house was built in 1953 and last purchased Feb 23, 2016. We will let the neighborhood know when we hear what is planned for the property.

St. Ed’s Holding STEM Day Camp for HS Students

Image: Go For Launch!

Does your kid love actual rocket science? “SEU is partnering with Higher Orbits to offer a really neat day camp from 11 – 13 July.  The camp is designed for high school students as well as college freshmen and sophomores.  Teams will compete to design an experiment to be conducted in space.  The winning project will have a chance to be built, flown to space, and conducted on the International Space Station!  Retired NASA Astronaut, Mike Foreman, will be in attendance throughout as a mentor to the student teams. You can find out more information at”

Register your kid by Friday, July 1st for $250 here.

Restaurant Inspections

Image: Local Restaurant

No restaurants in Dawson failed inspection in March, April or May! See which ones passed and failed here.

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Neighbors Vote in Favor of Variances for Guesthouse Hotel

On Monday, June 13, attending members of Dawson Neighborhood Plan Contact Team voted in favor of all 3 variances for the Guesthouse Hotel. It is to be built at 2510 S. Congress Ave by KRUG Development.

DNPCT will send a representative to the Austin Planning Commission to deliver their positive recommendation. This public meeting has been postponed to Tuesday, June 28, 6:00 PM (check back here to confirm) at 301 W 2nd St.

The City of Austin will televise this meeting live on the web here:

You can check back here to replay the meeting later:

Read the Editorial from KRUG here.

Read the Editorial from The Church in Austin here.

Read the documents filed with the City of Austin here.

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Editorial: 2510 S. Congress Variance Waivers

Image: Street Rendering

Greetings to the Dawson Neighborhood:

It has been a pleasure to meet and get to know the wonderful residents of the Dawson Neighborhood. We couldn’t be happier to call the Dawson Neighborhood home for The Guesthouse Hotel.

The Guesthouse Hotel’s mission is to provide a unique, individual, home-like experience for our Guests. We have designed a hotel that provides spacious, private accommodations with multiple bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, and bathrooms. We recognize that most lodging experiences have remained unchanged in the past half century. The average size hotel room in 1950 was 325 square feet and remains the same today. In contrast, the average size home has increased 144% from 983 square feet in 1950 to over 2400 square feet today. Americans live much differently today than they did 50 years ago and they shouldn’t have to turn back the clock 50 years while on vacation.

Who We Are


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Ms P’s Electric Cock to Replace Pizza Patron on Oltorf

Popular South Congress fried chicken trailer will close, owner Perry Ray (AKA Ms. P) moves into 533 W. Oltorf Street in Dawson Neighborhood!

Electric Cock Homepage

Ms P’s Electric Cock Facebook page.

Article in Austin Eater.

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