Athena Williams, Executive Director of Oak Park Regional Housing Center, talks about the redevelopment of the Laramie State Bank building during an Austin community tour for the MacArthur Foundation

With the progress and actions seen among several development projects, the Austin community has found itself at a pivotal moment. The support from organizations and resource partners has moved the community forward, but their continued involvement and investment are beyond necessary to ensure the trajectory of the Austin renaissance.


Projects already in the works, such as the revamping of the Chicago Avenue and Central Avenue commercial corridors, have sparked the interest of some charitable foundations for further engagement and investment. For example, Austin Coming Together (ACT) hosted The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in August for an immersive tour of Austin highlighting a variety of development projects including BUILD THE FUTURE, the ASPIRE Center for Workforce Innovation, the Laramie State Bank redevelopment, and Austin POPCourts! Tour guests got the chance to see the many successes of these development projects and hear from representatives of the community-based organizations leading them.

Team members from The MacArthur Foundation take photos as they hear about the plans to reactivate Laramie State Bank and the adjacent land into a mixed-use space


The revitalization of Austin through these projects is not only important for its physical development and sustainability, but it’s also important for its lasting image and spirit. The change brought about by these projects will prove that hope for a thriving Austin is valid. With the power of the Austin renaissance, Austin residents will not bear the burden of accessing basic resources. They will reclaim the narrative of their community and be empowered to live happier healthier lives. With the power of the Austin renaissance, Austin residents will blaze a trail for future generations to flourish.

“Austin has defined its needs and is on the path to address them. But we need funders to continue to stay at the table and be responsive to those needs,” said Darnell Shields, Executive Director of Austin Coming Together (ACT).

A close-up of original terracotta tiles on the outside of Laramie State Bank that are part of its 1920s world-class Art Deco architecture.

ACT is excited about what these projects will bring to the Austin community and its residents. However, to advance along this path toward full transformation, individual and organizational efforts must be deeply connected and committed to Austin’s overall strategy, plans, and goals.

Not only does investing in Austin’s redevelopment mean progress on the community’s ‘Austin Forward. Together.’ quality-of-life plan will be amplified and accelerated, but sustained support assures that outcomes happen as intended: to create a brighter, more equitable future for Austin.