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AUSTIN, TEXAS

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About Austin

If you complement Austin to any long-time resident, you have an excellent chance of hearing "you should've seen it in the 60s" or " 70s" - or any of a number of variations on that theme. In fact it's become a sore point with a lot of younger Austinites who have grown tired of hearing it. Nevertheless, it's true. The Austin lifestyle has always been more "laid back" over other Texas cities - and to a certain degree it's still true. The two negative factors in Austin are traffic congestion and population - the roots from which all other minor problems stem.

Austin has traditionally had a fondness for the outdoors. The Colorado River (as Town Lake) bisects the town and remains one of the most under-appreciated bodies of water in the state. Spring-fed Barton Springs is second only to Balmorhea as far as a dream swimming pool. Feel for the young native Austinite who travels to distant cities to discover they don't all have blue/ green water crossing main street or that they can't canoe in the shade of overhanging trees. The river has traditionally served as a line separating "unconventional" South Austin from the business district and the neighborhoods north and west of the capitol and UT campus.

The once-distinct dividing line is fading as many former South-Austinites move north to fill neighborhoods vacated by those moving north of town to Round Top, Georgetown and Leander. Erasing the line further are up-scale businesses that are invading the funkiness of South Austin - offering to pay higher rents that landlords can't refuse. Austin is a pedestrian-friendly city and the police force may still be the best educated in the country. Crime is comparatively low and murder still makes the front page - unlike larger towns that put such statistics under "local happenings."

Yes, Austin may have transvestites running for mayor, and legislators misbehaving out of sight of their constituency, but it also has buses that run on time - and some that will even hang your bicycle on the front in case you're too tired to pedal home. Austin will always be unique. Austinites love it too much to permit drastic changes. Economic considerations, aside, the inner-city of Austin is - and will remain - liveable and loveable. Name another city where a 1980s copy of National Geographic featuring the town as a cover story can be sold (with a straight face) in 2004 for $5. You haven't seen Texas if you haven't seen Austin.

Experience it and maybe you can tell your grandchildren: "You should have seen it in the 00s."


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